- Vacasa, North America’s largest vacation-rental management company, just raised a $108 million Series D round.
- The round was led by Silver Lake, who led a $319 million round of funding in the company last year, and included previous investors, like Riverwood Capital and Level Equity.
- This is the third major investment Silver Lake has made in travel-related bets since the coronavirus crisis hit the industry, following Expedia and Airbnb.
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Vacasa, North America’s largest vacation-rental management company, said on Tuesday that it has raised a $108 million Series D round.
Founded in 2009, Vacasa manages 26,000 vacation properties worldwide for owners and provides tech support like dynamic pricing as well as operational support from its cleaning and hospitality staff.
The company conducted layoffs, reduced hours, and slashed executive pay in March, according to media reports, as the coronavirus crisis slowed travel to a halt. At the time of the layoffs, the company had 6,000 employees.
A Vacasa spokesperson declined to provide an updated employee count.
The funding comes less than a year after the company raised $319 million in funding in a round led by Silver Lake Partners— the private-equity firm that backed Dell’s takeover of EMC, the biggest tech deal in history. That round of fundraising valued Vacasa north of $1 billion dollars. The company has now raised $634.5 million in funding.
Silver Lake also leads this round, which includes participation from other previous investors, like Riverwood Capital and Level Equity.
A Vacasa spokesperson declined to provide the company’s updated valuation or provide additional details on the investment — including whether it was equity or debt financing.
The investment comes shortly after Silver Lake made two other investments into travel-related companies. Silver Lake was part of a deal that pumped $1.2 billion into Expedia, and was also part of a group that provided $1 billion to Airbnb at the height of the pandemic.
Airbnb is reportedly paying a steep interest rate of more than 10% on that debt financing. The travel giant, which had been seen as likely to make a 2020 public-markets debut before the pandemic hit, laid off 1,900 workers in May.
The investments are part of a larger reimagining of the private-equity firm, widening its scope from traditional tech investments to travel, leisure, and other industries, Business Insider recently reported. Its investments on Expedia and Airbnb, plus the latest investment in Vacasa, are signs that the firm is betting big on travel coming back strong.
Coronavirus shutdowns have hit the travel industry hard. A month after the funding was announced, Airbnb cut 25% of its jobs. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that 100 million travel jobs worldwide could be lost due to the pandemic, and everyone from hotels, to airlines, to cruises, are struggling.
Along with the news of the funding, Vacasa shared some data that indicates that travel is speeding up as lockdowns lift.
The company saw bookings in May increase six times from what they were in April. They also saw the booking window, or time between booking and the actual stay, decrease from 142 days in April, to 39 days in May, in-line with the company’s 2019 averages.
Vacasa’s business model, which focuses on destinations within driving distance of large urban centers, may also be served well by the way coronavirus crisis has affected travel, as potential travelers are turning from crowded cities and international travel to local travel in rural and vacation areas.
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