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Vacasa Hawaii Vacation Rentals Plight: Low Satisfaction, High Fees

(News Item #0461, Published: 03/10/24) Beat of Hawaii

We felt stung when we checked vacation rentals in Hawaii and found that even on five or more day rentals, fees and taxes in most cases were about equal to or more than the actual rental cost. Depending on the cost of the nightly rental, that can be a big sticker shock. Now, Vacasa Hawaii vacation rentals have returned to the news again, due in part to company changes and the loud response we received in comments from readers. This is buyer beware, and our advice is to check with other vacation rental companies before deciding who to book through.

Vacasa grew to become Hawaii’s largest short-term rental company. That has subsided somewhat. According to the numbers shown on their website, they have lost nearly 25% of the rentals they manage, maintain, and market in Hawaii since last year. Vacasa has been troubled since 2022, when they first warned about many issues that sent shareholders, homeowners and renters running. Their stock sits near a 52-week low at $7.56.

What readers said about Vacasa Hawaii vacation rentals.

"Extremely poor customer service and paying top dollar for a tired, deferred maintenance room. No wonder the company is doing poorly. Hospitality success is dependent upon Happy customers. There will always be some negative reviews no matter what, but 2 out of 5 is a recipe for failure."

"If the way they handled our booking is any indication, they should lose market share. They are not honest, failed to disclose information about our reservation in Maui, completely ruining our expensive vacation. Property was under significant renovation, odors from sealants made us stay inside, but the noise from hammers and saws from the apartment next door was unbearable."

"Have you checked hotel rates lately? Most short-term rentals are still half the price for double the space, at least on Maui. South Maui hotel rates are over $1100 per night! Who cares about fees - it’s the value of what you get for the total price that matters."

Most recent developments at Vacasa Hawaii vacation rentals.

In the past week, Vacasa announced plans to lay off 320 more staff as it grapples with significant ongoing challenges in both the Hawaii vacation rental industry and globally. The company’s letter to its shareholders along with its quarterly financial results revealed that its 2024 outlook is fraught with difficulties, including a softening demand for domestic vacation rentals and anticipation of weak bookings at least through the first half of the year. This also coincides with a slowdown in Hawaii travel.

Over 1,800 employees terminated since 2023.

Vacasa has grown fast here in Hawaii since it started in 2009. But now, challenges at the company, including cost overruns and customer dissatisfaction, plague the once darling of Hawaii vacation rentals. In total, more than 1,800 staff have been terminated since last year.

Vacasa’s future remains cloudy in a rapidly devolving Hawaii vacation rental landscape.

Checking Yelp reviews of Vacasa Hawaii, the company’s ratings sank from 2.5 out of 5 last year to just 1.4 out of 5 this year, signaling another clear warning. Google reviews on Vacasa Hawaii came in last year at 2.1, and they are 1.8 as of today.

Vacasa charges owners up to 35% of gross rentals for their services.

Their system worked well initially because property owners not on-island were offered a hands-free way to operate. That type of ownership has swiftly fallen out of favor as Hawaii grapples with its severe housing shortage and significant off-island vacation rental ownership.

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