These things we know are true: Travelers change their booking patterns in response to changes in prices and weather. Travel companies change their finance chiefs when profit is elusive.
Vacasa, a manager of vacation rentals, has complained in recent earnings calls about problems with supply, as some owners have left its platform. Now it’s complaining about demand.
Spiking prices and weird weather have made rental booking patterns less predictable, executives said during Vacasa’s first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday. They have “expectations for continued year-over-year declines in bookings” in many markets and timespans this year.
“The booking build [or the pace in reservations in the weeks before a particular date] has been less predictable than it’s been in prior years,” said CEO Rob Greyber. “We think it’s occurring across the industry.”
The more erratic demand patterns have hurt the company’s ability to set rates and staffing levels appropriately.
“There’s been some volatility,” Greyber said. “We think this is a combination of a couple of things: higher supply, changing consumer demands, and the macro backdrop, but it’s hard to say.”
The performance troubles have coincided with Vacasa announcing a change in finance chiefs. Bruce Schuman will join Vacasa as its chief financial officer on June 1, replacing Jamie Cohen.
The move came as the latest in a few shifts at the company. In January, its chief commercial officer Craig Smith left after four months, with TurnKey co-founder T.J. Clark replacing him in the role, as Skift reported. Last October the company dropped its chief product officer.
Turnaround Season for Vacasa
Executives said once again that 2023 would be a rebuilding season for the property management company. But early signs of improvement were positive.
The company generated $256 million in revenue in the quarter, a rise of 2 percent year over year. The performance was better than the company had forecast.
For the full year, the company reiterated its revenue growth guidance of a low double-digit to high single-digit percentage decline year-over-year.
In the quarter, it produced adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of negative $12 million — which, while a loss, came in above the company’s guidance.
Vacasa notched a net loss of $43 million in the first quarter, an improvement on the $55 million net loss in the same period a year earlier. The figure included items such as stock-based compensation and restructuring costs excluded from its adjusted number.
In positive news, the company has been making strides in handling the “churn” of homeowners listing on the site.
“Encouragingly, March represented our highest per rep productivity over the past year, and I believe there is more progress to be made,” Greyber said. “The churn rate hasn’t increased since we last spoke in March [at an earnings call]. As we look at the data points from third-party firms that cover our industry, it’s very clear that others are also experiencing declines in bookings and that we are in a very different demand environment than we were a year ago.”
Vacasa CEO Rob Greyber will speak on-stage in New York City at Skift’s Short-Term Rental Summit on June 7.