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Vacasa doubled its bookings last year, sees path to profit

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Driven by “extremely strong consumer demand,” the Portland-based vacation rental company Vacasa said it set records for occupancy and revenue.

The company reported generating $1.9 billion in gross booking revenue from the roughly 37,000 vacation homes available for rent on the Vacasa platform.

That drove revenue to new heights for the company, though not high enough to offset expenses, and the company reported a net loss of $118 million in the fourth quarter and $153 million for the year.

Still, the company says its investments and growing portfolio, along with travelers’ apparent growing comfort living among COVID-19, set it up to become profitable next year.

“We made incredible progress in 2021, scaling our business and extending our position as North America’s leading vacation rental management platform,” Matt Roberts, Vacasa’s CEO said. “There is strong momentum across all aspects of our business, and we remain focused on leveraging technology to streamline our operations and provide an exceptional experience to homeowners and guests.”

The earnings were the first look at the company’s financials since it went public in December.

The company said it focused on adding more sales staff as it continues to focus on growth moving forward, which caused its spending on operations, technology, sales and marketing all to grow.

The company reported $192 million in total revenue in the fourth quarter, nearly doubling year-over-year. Revenue grew 80 percent in 2021 compared to 2020.

Total nights sold of 1.1 million was up 55 percent, indicating the cost of each reservation — Vacasa calls them “itineraries” — was up in the fourth quarter as well.

Vacasa said it expects nightly revenue to dip slightly from high levels in 2021 but remain ahead of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 

The company said it began using an artificial intelligence-led program to determine the price of itineraries with an eye on encouraging more nights sold.

Like Airbnb and Expedia, Vacasa said it believes its numbers show people have grown accustomed to living and traveling despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

“When the Omicron variant news first began to circulate near the end of November and case counts and headlines increased throughout December, we did not see a material volume of cancellations or a change in future bookings volume,” the company reported, “leading us to believe COVID-19 is becoming less of a concern among travelers.”

Looking ahead, the company believes it will generate between $1.12 billion and $1.17 billion in revenue this year while remaining in the red until 2023.

“Given the strong execution by our teams and the success of our growth investments, we expect to reach Adjusted EBITDA profitability for the full year 2023,” the company said.

Like many currently unprofitable, high-growth proptech companies, Vacasa’s stock has been battered on the Nasdaq since the start of the year during what’s known as a period of “risk-off” trading.

But investors must have liked the rosy outlook for the company, and stocks were up about 14 percent on Thursday.

Email Taylor Anderson

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