VacationRenter CEO Heath Hammett on personalizing rental searches

USA: STRz speaks with Heath Hammett, CEO of vacation rental search engine VacationRenter, to explain how the company’s business model and offering are unique in the market, latest Spring Break trends in the United States and how the RV rental industry is becoming more and more professionalized alongside other traditional lodging segments.

  • Please introduce yourself, VacationRenter, and the services you provide in the short-term/vacation rental industry.

My name is Heath Hammett and I am the CEO of VacationRenter. VacationRenter is a vacation rental search engine. We bring together accommodation options from a variety of top partners to help potential travelers find the perfect rental.

  • You were named CEO of VacationRenter in October. What attracted you to the business and what are your immediate and long-term priorities?

In fact, several things drew me to the opportunity to run VacationRenter. At the top of the list should be the amazing team at VacationRenter. The fact that they launched in 2018 and reached $1 billion in GBV [gross booking value] in 2020 speaks volumes about their talent and commitment.

I am also drawn to the travel industry. I enjoyed several years at Hotels.com, part of the Expedia family of brands, earlier in my career, where I was able to learn a lot about the lodging industry as well as metasearch. Having worked in a variety of industries over the years, I can say there is something special about travel.

I was also inspired on a personal level by the mission of the founders of VacationRenter. As a traveler, I know firsthand the anxiety and pain of planning a trip. It’s a little selfish, but I’m thrilled to be able to help solve this problem for my family and fellow travelers.

  • How is VacationRenter’s business model and offering unique in the vacation rental market? Are there any complexities/problems that you are trying to alleviate?

We love vacation rentals, but not always how long and complex the process can be to find the right one. So we redesigned a solution to this problem with a focus on personalized search. By consolidating rental options from the top travel sites in one place to showcase only the best results, we’ve eliminated the need to search across different sites and scroll through pages of irrelevant results. We built our website from the ground up to show travelers the best options for their needs and give them the tools to quickly find the perfect home away from home.

While we specialize in common types of vacation rentals [homes, condos, cabins, villas etc]we offer an incredibly wide range of accommodation options to our customers.

We have the largest selection of RVs available for rental, as well as an extensive inventory of hotels, hostels, apartments and more. We understand that different types of trips are often a better match for one type of accommodation than another. We want to offer everything our customers could want to meet all their travel needs. Planning a trip is not just about choosing the best accommodation option. For this reason, we also offer resources such as travel guides that include booking trends and nearby attractions to help travelers around the world plan the best trip for the best value. We are actively working to further expand these offerings in 2022.

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