VacayMyWay is a short-term
rental marketplace built on technology that aims to provide a simplified, transparent
and cost-effective experience hosts and travelers.
VacayMyWay’s booking site
launched in early November with whole-home properties throughout North America
and plans to enter the European market in 2022.
What is your 30-second pitch
VacayMyWay is a refreshingly new short-term
rental booking channel founded on four core principles: profitability, trust, transparency
and communication. Our marketplace provides seamless solutions to both hosts
and guests by removing unnecessary barriers to sale, providing the absolute
best properties based on a guest’s needs and returning profit to the hosts. On
average, our wholesale pricing model helps hosts retain up to 20% more booking
revenue while charging no guest service fees.
VacayMyWay is poised to capitalize on
our early traction by launching into Europe during Q1 2022 and aggressively
expanding our inventory of properties. Early adopters have marveled at how
VacayMyWay is returning the joy to vacation rentals.
Describe both the business
and technology aspects of your startup.
VacayMyWay’s mission is to
provide a dynamic, transparent and cost-effective booking platform for vacation
rentals. We firmly believe that vacation rentals should be an enjoyable
experience, not the headache that they have become. Our platform is grounded in
the idea that booking websites should “get out of the way” and allow hosts and
travelers to freely communicate.
VacayMyWay’s technology was
designed to empower hosts in the operation of their business. We approached
this from a fresh perspective by identifying the key pain points in the
industry and developing our technology to solve these industry weaknesses. A
majority of our technology was built in-house by an expert team of developers
which ensures that the platform is built to scale aggressively from the ground
Give us your SWOT
(Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- Our team is comprised of industry experts with real
world experience and over 75 years in the industry.
- We have conducted extensive market analysis to
understand our customers’ pain points.
- VacayMyWay is nimble and can pivot
and react instinctively to emerging market trends.
- Consumers have generally experienced poor customer
service in the industry and have developed a lack of trust in short-term rental
booking marketplaces. Our challenge is to secure customer confidence and trust in the
VacayMyWay platform despite the industry shortcomings.
- Limited brand awareness. We have seen significant
organic growth and continue to add integration partners and property inventory.
- Hosts and guests are tired of perpetually increasing
fees and poor customer service provided by the legacy OTA’s.
- VacayMyWay leverages its technology to reduce
operational costs and passes the savings on to hosts (increased profitability)
and guests (no fees).
- Fully transparent fee structure means NO surprises
- Resources are in place to rapidly expand our
footprint internationally to take advantage of the travel resurgence.
- Market is highly saturated, and our direct
competitors have the benefit of being household names.
- Competition for host inventory is extremely
aggressive and the cost of acquisition is high.
- Host complacency resulting from pre-pandemic travel
bounce back masks prior sins of the industry.
What are the travel pain
points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry
- Superfluous fees - VacayMyWay charges no
guest service fees.
- Price sticker shock during checkout - VacayMyWay
offers upfront transparent pricing. Everyone knows how much we charge and to
- Search results based on the booking
channel’s best financial interest - VacayMyWay provides a robust search
function optimized to find the best property for a guest based on their search
criteria, not based on paid ads or platform biased algorithms.
- Limitations on communication between
hosts and guests - VacayMyWay connects hosts and guests through unfiltered
communications via our platform.
- Poor customer experience - VacayMyWay
provides personalized, easily accessible and competent customer care.
- Hosts’ lack of financial control - VacayMyWay
provides hosts with robust tools to autonomously control their funds and the
policies for their property.
- Administrative burden of handling
security deposits - VacayMyWay provides guest ID verification and $2 million of
damage protection for every booking at no additional cost.
So you've got the product,
now how will you get lots of customers?
- We have engaged the premier PR firm in the travel
industry to promote brand recognition.
- Targeted marketing campaign through digital
marketing, affiliate marketing and social media engagement.
- Promotion of brand advocates from our existing
customer base who are devoted ambassadors of the VacayMyWay platform.
Tell us what process you've
gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the
The VacayMyWay concept and
our team is built upon a foundation of extensive industry experience. The
industry pain points were initially identified by our CEO’s personal
frustrations with the hosting experience. We conducted extensive interviews of
both hosts and guests to identify their pain points and formulate concrete
solutions. The overwhelmingly positive feedback we
have received post-launch reinforces our product-market fit.
The short-term rental market
is vast and growing rapidly year-over-year. VacayMyWay provides value
propositions to the entire market and we have positioned ourselves to
capitalize on the post-pandemic resurgence in travel both domestically and
How and when will you make
At VacayMyWay, we use a
wholesale pricing model and make money when a host makes money. It’s that
simple. We are currently post-revenue and gaining market share.
What are the backgrounds and
previous achievements of the founding team?
- Jim Stewart (CEO) Jim is a 22-year veteran of
the airline travel industry. He specialized in operational analysis where he
led a team focused on optimizing the efficiency of aircraft and flight
crew. That work resulted in a still-standing record level of productivity
for any major U.S. airline along with record profitability.
- Billy Smith (CPO) is an U.S. Army veteran with extensive experience in
software engineering and product management. With seven product launches
utilizing lean international teams under his belt, he is the perfect individual
to lead our roadmap and product direction.
- Ted Hight (COO & CLO) is an accomplished attorney and executive who
is adept at navigating companies through periods of accelerated growth.
Previously, he was an equity partner at a law firm in Atlanta where he focused
on technology startups in the SaaS, transportation, and hospitality industries.
- Heidie Henriksen (VP - Business Development) is a results-driven
short-term rental industry expert with over 20 years of experience promoting
and operating vacation rentals. After launching a SAAS technology and marketing
program for vacation rental hosts, she co-founded ASTRHO to support individual
hosts with much needed industry resources.
- Fay Dunahoo (Director of Customer Experience) is the mastermind behind
VacayMyWay’s world class customer experience team. She boasts almost 20 years
of professional property management experience and eight years specifically in
the short-term rental industry.
How have you addressed
diversity and inclusion within your business?
We believe that the strength
of VacayMyWay derives from our diverse international team. We focus not just on
the talent and job performance of our team members, but the unique backgrounds
and life experiences that help mold our company’s culture.
What's been the most
difficult part of founding the business so far?
The challenges caused by
being a geographically diverse team during a global pandemic are definitely the
most difficult. While there is no
adequate replacement for in-person collaboration and team building, it is
inspiring to see how we have evolved into a tight-knit team.
Generally, travel startups
face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of the lucky ones?
VacayMyWay has already gained traction offering
trustworthy and transparent solutions to both hosts and travelers. Our company’s structure is lean, and we are nimble
enough to capitalize on necessary pivots. Our hand-picked team of industry experts has the
drive, perseverance, and talent to make VacayMyWay the next success.
A year from now, what state
do you think your startup will be in?
In one year, VacayMyWay will
be in an aggressive growth stage and continuing our expansion both domestically
and into international markets. While our next round of investment will dictate
the scale and breadth of expansion, we forecast exponential growth.
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition,
growing and staying private, etc.)
VacayMyWay’s end-game is to revolutionize the short-term
rental industry. We will achieve this by growing our traction and continually
focusing on the value proposition to hosts and guests.
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