Vacayrx, the alternative listing platform connecting vacation rental owners, property managers, and guests, without charging variable booking fees, recently announced the close of an Angel-led Funding Round. The company said that the Round will allow for continued growth and the pursuit of a number of development initiatives including mobile travel apps for the Apple and Android store.
Jesses Martinek, Founder, and CEO of Vacayrx said, that the funding enables the company to explore a number of new-growth initiatives which they believe should drastically increase Vacayrx's user base and further demonstrate its key points of differentiation within the vacation rental space.
Vacayrx currently features about 3,000 live property listings in 30+ US states and Canada and says that its growth is “on-par” with Airbnb’s growth over the same, initial, 15-month period.
“While we have seen both rapid fragmentation and consolidation within the space, there remains few differentiated services to the consumer. The large players have literally vacuumed up the competition, and there is plenty of room for an alternative to establish a presence,” stated Martinek.
To this point, a number of large acquisitions have occurred over the past several years, with the most notable including onefinestay, Luxury Retreats, and most recently; Accomable which shows that the large players are anxious to eliminate up-and-comers from the marketplace.
“In every efficient market, the consumer needs to have options in order to ensure fairness. The conglomerates in the vacation rental space have done a really good job of preventing that from happening, and it shows. We have four major companies who are changing policy to increase fees, decrease functionality, and intrude on the very basic functions that are required in order to have a fair market,” says Martinek.
“As recently as last week one of the industry leaders announced a sweeping policy change which will increase the cost of listings to professional property managers and will begin adding additional charges to confirmed bookings that they claim were sourced from their platform…if that’s not Big Brother, I don’t know what is,” said another industry insider.
That specific announcement has received a lot of coverage, and concern, from angry property managers who are claiming unilaterally that such additional fees are both unfair and intrusive. While it remains to be seen how exactly these bookings will be tracked back to their original source, it is an announcement that has many users weary.
Vacayrx intends on pursuing a crowdfunding campaign early this year. The company says that details will be announced in the coming months.
Edited by G. Davila