When VacationRenter first reached out to me, everything about the company seemed improbable. Here was a vacation rental search engine that launched in 2018 and yet drove over $1 billion worth of bookings in 2020. It became the fastest growing vacation rental search engine during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most tumultuous times for the travel industry. VacationRenter was growing rapidly in the U.S and even faster overseas. I was intrigued, to say the least.

After nearly eight years at Hotels.com, most of that working on travel metasearch, I was no stranger to the space. I saw firsthand the draw of hotel search engines for travelers. The ability to see hotel options with prices from multiple suppliers, in a side-by-side comparison, was a game changer.

Then along came vacation rentals, offering a more comfortable setting where people can connect authentically. But classifying, comparing, and filtering vacation rentals was a significantly more complex problem due to the listings being self-reported by millions of property owners with different standards and technical capabilities. That translated into a time-consuming and complex search experience for travelers, raising demand for a thoughtful metasearch engine.

VacationRenter was born in Wilbur Labs, a startup studio with a rigorous process for identifying customer pain points and building businesses to solve those problems. The idea for VacationRenter came from the studio experiencing these challenges first-hand when trying to book vacation rentals for offsites.

The VacationRenter team built their business with empathy for travelers, property owners, and listing sites. All passionate travelers themselves, they recognized how rewarding travel can be but also how much stress and anxiety people experience trying to book the perfect rental. In addition, they saw opportunities to help property owners and rental sites reach more travelers.

So far, VacationRenter has aggregated millions of vacation rentals — from cabins and chalets to luxury villas and the world’s largest selection of RVs — into one site where travelers can easily compare rentals and find the perfect place to stay. With demand for vacation rentals only increasing, VacationRenter is positioned to become the go-to site for planning a vacation anywhere in the world.

VacationRenter has resonated with people because it questions the status quo, solves industry problems thoughtfully, and dares to create a better experience. I’m in awe of how quickly this team has built a fantastic platform and grown to truly global scale. The opportunity to join and lead VacationRenter was impossible to resist.

Our team will build on VacationRenter’s momentum by continuing to expand internationally with new languages and localized options for global travelers. We will strive to offer the best vacation rental search experience and best inventory of any platform. We will also leverage technology to make life easy for partners. We know property managers and online travel agencies have choices, and we’re committed to removing the barriers to integration and partnership on a global scale.

Travel can be such a gift. It creates defining memories, favorite family stories, and experiences travelers cherish for a lifetime. I’m thrilled to be part of a team solving complex problems that stand in the way of these experiences.

I can’t wait to start the next leg of VacationRenter’s journey.

Heath Hammett
CEO of VacationRenter

We are continuing to grow our team with passionate individuals excited to build the future of travel with us. You can find more information about our open roles on our careers page.

Read the full announcement here.