Many people ask me what I am doing running a Vacation Rental Company (especially now that the economy has tanked!). The simple answer is because I love vacation rentals. My fondest childhood memories are of family vacations in exciting new places – renting a small beach cottage in Montauk, Long Island or a ski cabin near Canada’s Mont Tremblant. Later in life, I continued this tradition with my friends – becoming the “designated finder” for vacations – organizing group trips to ski resorts like Killington, Whistler, Mammoth and Park City, or beach trips to the Jersey Shore, Cape Hatteras, Aruba and St Thomas. Now that I have a family of my own, I am once again seeking out the perfect vacation homes in far away places.
What I learned in all of these years of searching is that finding the perfect vacation rental is like finding a treasure. The right vacation home creates experiences and memories that can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, the experience of finding them was often as complicated as following an old fashion treasure map! A typical treasure hunt would go something like this:
- Find a friend or relative that has bragged about finding a great vacation home at the destination you are considering.
- Determine how much to rely on their recommendation (Does the home meet your specific needs vs. theirs, is it in the specific part of the resort or beach you want to stay at?).
- See if they can remember where they found it or put you in touch with the source.
- Start dialing for more information – maybe the source would tell you what you needed to know, perhaps they’d offer to send you a catalog!
- The internet made things easier – just go online and look…. Uh oh… which of these 20 sources did they say they used? Was it this individual listing, this real estate agency, that property manger?
- Start bookmarking 5-10 different websites and taking notes.
- Hmmm – can’t book online, or don’t have enough information to be confident enough to do so – back to the phone……. Get the picture??
There has to be a better way! We launched VacationRoost to create that better way. Our goal is to make finding and booking a vacation rental for your next vacation as easy as booking an airline ticket online. We are passionate about vacation rentals and want to help more people enjoy them. In fact, we are confident that once this great product and experience is made more accessible to the traveler, their popularity will grow! Last year, PhocusWright -the leading travel industry research firm published a study on the Vacation Rental industry. This study showed that vacation rentals had very low awareness – they are hard to find (Treasure Map not included), but that those who did find them – loved them (over 90% positive responses for the experience). We are launching this blog to share the experience of building VacationRoost, and share our opinions and thoughts about this type of travel and vacation experience that we love. We’ll have multiple folks from VacationRoost contribute, and will probably each have our own set of topics to discuss. We expect to learn a lot on this journey and will look to share much of it in this forum. We also look forward to feedback and interaction with others in the industry, and most importantly – other fellow travelers who enjoy vacation rentals!
Julian Castelli, CEO