Managing a short-term rental takes time and energy, so many homeowners choose to work with a property management company like Vacasa.
It’s important to understand the small print in a Vacasa owner agreement and work out what this means in practice.
For this article, we’ve checked through the details of a Vacasa owner agreement to bring you a comprehensive guide to the services that Vacasa provides its customers and what they ask from property owners in return.
Curious about how other property managers scaled without giving 30% of their revenue to a company like Vacasa?
Vacasa owner agreements: The main points
The Vacasa owner agreement provides property owners with information on their services and the fees they’ll charge, along with details about maintenance, repairs, and insurance.
Let's take a look at the main points included in the agreement and what this means for homeowners.
What percentage does Vacasa take?
Property owners must contact Vacasa directly to negotiate the percentage that Vacasa will take.
But, typically, the management fee charged by Vacasa ranges from 25% to 35% per nightly booking.
In return, Vacasa agrees to provide the following services:
Reservations and payment terms. Vacasa processes all bookings and collects credit card payments. They also collect applicable taxes from renters and make sales and lodging tax payments on the property owner's behalf.
Marketing. Vacasa creates marketing materials including photos, text, and virtual tours. They also market your vacation rental property on other channels like Airbnb or Vrbo.
Guest relations. This includes all communication with guests from initial booking to check-out, answering guest questions about issues that arise during or after a stay, and managing guest reviews.
Cleaning. Vacasa takes a cleaning fee from renters and they’re responsible for cleaning the property between stays and keeping it stocked with supplies like soap, detergent, and garbage bags.
Maintenance and repairs. This includes emergency repairs up to an agreed amount, for example, $100. Vacasa withholds a reserve balance of around $500 to cover maintenance costs.
Property owners can also take advantage of the hi-tech features of Vacasa Smart Home.
The Vacasa owner agreement states:
“Vacasa will determine rental rates based on property and market characteristics and demand”
This means that once you sign up to Vacasa, you pass full control over rates to Vacasa.
Vacasa uses a rate optimization system, which has been designed to maximize vacation rental occupancy. By using this system, property listings respond to local and seasonal market trends and are priced competitively against similar properties.
Guest fees and services
In addition to a cleaning fee, the Vacasa owner agreement includes a clause on guest fees and services.
It states “Vacasa may charge guests and retain additional fixed or variable fees.” The management fees listed in the agreement are:
Hot tub fee
Late check-out fee
Fees for specific services such as concierge
Limited damage waiver
Here’s an example of how these fees work in practice:
In this case:
The guest pays…
$1,241 for rent plus $821.20 in management fees and $262.93 in taxes.
The property owner receives…
This is 70% of the rent, but doesn’t include any of the management fees.
This is 30% of $1,241 plus $821.20 in fees
So, in this example, Vacasa receives 58% of the total amount paid by the guest excluding taxes.
Vacasa homeowner experiences
We found a range of reactions from vacation property owners who have shared their experiences on Vacasa reviews sites.
Occupancy levels and dynamic pricing
Many property owners say that working with Vacasa has been great for their occupancy levels, and even brought a 99% occupancy rate to one homeowner.
However, we found several negative reviews from property owners who complained that Vacasa’s control over pricing meant nightly rental rates dropped to a very low level. So while their properties were mostly rented out, they were making lower returns than hoped.
Some property owners make the point that Vacasa’s dynamic pricing means their listing is rented out below the market rental rate. The added management fees mean the property is competitively priced by the time a guest pays the extras, but the owner doesn’t share this profit.
We found several public reviews of property owners describing exceptional Vacasa staff who’ve helped them deal with issues quickly and effectively.
But other reviews point out issues with their local team. For example, one homeowner writing on Yelp in December 2021, complained that belongings, furniture, and appliances were stolen from her vacation home without the Vacasa reps noticing, and that she struggled to get the items replaced by Vacasa.
Automation as an alternative to hands-off property management
Using a hands-off vacation rental management company like Vacasa can be a good option for someone who wants less involvement in managing the property. But there are alternatives that can take away the hassle of day-to-day property management—with a lower commission rate, leaving you with complete control over pricing and earnings.
A Vacasa alternative like Operto allows short-term rental owners to have the best of both worlds in the form of an all-in-one dashboard that brings together your entire stack while keeping you in control over your in-room smart devices like noise and temperature monitoring.
With Operto, you retain control and visibility over your short-term rental business, but it also automates many of the processes that a hands-off company like Vacasa offers, meaning you have more time to focus on developing and scaling your business.
Through an expansive number of PMS partners, Operto integrates with the main booking platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo and includes smart features like:
Easy communication with renters and members of your team
Temperature and energy control for guest comfort and energy savings
Noise and occupancy monitoring
A mobile-optimized web app for guests
An all-in-one dashboard for your entire tech-stack and portfolio
One Operto client explained how Operto’s automation solutions helped him increase his company’s number of short-term rental units, and at the same time reduce his management team from ten to four full-time members of staff.
He added that Operto's contactless door locks with unique access codes have had the dual benefit of improving home and guest security while allowing his team to check in guests remotely instead of traveling to properties to greet them in person.
Vacasa agreement for owners: Full-service management but with less control over income
Using Vacasa as your hands-off vacation rental management company can help alleviate some of the day-to-day pressures of running your short-term rental business, as they take complete control of marketing your listing, communicating with guests, and managing housekeeping.
But the owner agreement you sign can lose you visibility over key areas of your business. At the same time, Vacasa’s dynamic pricing means you can’t control your pricing and rental income.Operto offers a smart alternative to Vacasa that keeps you in control of your nightly rates while automating processes throughout your short-term rental business. Our solutions let you scale your business while reducing your workload—and your stress.
Keep control of your rental property’s pricing and income. Discover how Operto can help you automate processes and save you time.
Frequently asked questions about Vacasa
What is Vacasa?
Vacasa is a full-service vacation rental management company that operates in North America, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Belize.
Who owns Vacasa?
Vacasa isn’t owned privately but is publicly listed on the Nasdaq. The biggest shareholder is Silver Lake Management, L.L.C., with ownership of 29%.
What is the Vacasa cancellation policy?
The Vacasa cancellation policy states that the property owner can cancel their Vacasa vacation rental management agreement at any time, with 90 days’ notice, but they’ll need to honor any reservations that are already booked at their vacation rental for that 90-day window.
What if I want to cancel my Vacasa contract early?
Homeowners can’t cancel their Vacasa vacation rental management contract with fewer than 90 days’ notice without facing a fine for breach of contract.
How do I get a refund for my Vacasa contract?
There is no refund if you cancel your Vacasa contract, but if you’re unhappy with the service you receive for your vacation home, you can follow Vacasa’s customer claims procedure from the vacasa.com website.