Vrbo: Quality Vacation Rentals Created With The Power of Family
No matter your budget nor your favourite type of residence, name any destination in the world you want to stay in - and Vrbo will take you there and settle you right in!
Although an industry four hundred years in the making, the concept of vacation homes has never been quite as attractive as it is with Vrbo. Thanks to David Clouse and his wife Lynn, vacation rentals are now at the tip of your fingers!
A platform designed to offer alternative accommodation on a global scale, David and Lynn's Vrbo brings the best of to-rent real estate in one place - from apartments, condos, and houseboats, to lodges, fancy cabins, and yes - even castles!
Want to learn more about the founder's mission with Vrbo and about their journey to the A-league of modern vacation rentals?
Read it here:
A Couple's Work
Far before Vrbo came along, David and Lynn started their journey as college sweethearts.
The couple first met at Point Loma College in San Diego and fell in love quickly.
David and Lynn both graduated in 1979 and tied the knot a year later. Initially, the couple resided in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the coming years, they'd become parents to two sons named Matthew and Michael.
Nevertheless, before turning into business partners, the couple had two unexpected events to overcome.
The first one happened while Lynn was visiting her parents during spring break, where she got injured in an automobile accident. The second came eight years later, in 1987, when the tech company David worked for at the time, lost a major contract, leaving David jobless and out to dry.
Amazingly enough, those two events kicked off a chain of events that would ultimately lead to the creation of Vrbo. Using their insurance settlement money from Lynn's accident, the couple furnished a new house in Richmond and moved in soon after. David's subsequent employment search scored him a job with United Airlines in Colorado, so the family sold their rental home and moved to Aurora, where they reinvested all funds in a Breckenridge ski condo.
Even then, Lynn and David knew that they had to find a way to keep the condo rented. Therefore, they started advertising the place on the back of a major 90s ski magazine.
In fact, this was to be their first experience in dealing with vacation rentals and getting a taste for the business. Later, David made the first attempt at building a website as a way to reach potential renters.
As a result, their Breckenridge ski condo became the number-one listing to rent and the couple saw a valid career potential in this line of business!
Early Stages & Evolution
When David and Lynn actually realized the functionality of the 'vacation rental by owner' concept, they took great interest in learning more about real estate and the ways of leasing.
For almost a year, David continued building web pages for various property owners and learned along the way. Then, he would come home from a full day of programming and disappear into the basement, where he'd use his acquired skills to further develop his newbie website.
Once David began adding photos to the listings, the members of his website could finally be charged a user fee. In the meantime, David had to teach Lynn how to answer client emails, update and publish ads, post photos, and help him develop a suited payment system, too.
Vrbo was officially founded in 1995 - initially as a way to rent their Breckenridge ski condo. However, the website soon took the interest of the wider public, mostly as it offered homeowners the opportunity to rent their properties short-term - a relatively new service at the time.
For a few years, it was just David and Lynn running the site out of their basement.
But, as Vrbo continued to grow, the two struggled to keep up with the site and needed extra assistance.
Their solution? Reach out to friends and acquaintances, and offer them positions in their company - and it worked.
When David finally figured out how to make his database available online, he gathered several staffers to help put his website in full motion. Working remotely, Vrbo's team now had a playfield of opportunities to focus on, and on their own time - a win-win situation for everyone.
Probably the 'scariest' decision David and Lynn had to make in Vrbo's early days was deciding to quit their existing jobs and take a chance on smart online businesses.
To David and Lynn, making it big was quite essential family-wise, as both wanted to be the supporters and nurturers of their wider family circle.
Although Lynn wouldn't mind leaving her job as a nurse at the time, David hung on his full-time job with benefits, probably for longer than he needed to. As soon as their Vrbo income showed promise of high earnings, the couple knew the time had come for a full-steam-ahead dedication to Vrbo only.
Over the years, David and Lynn's Vrbo has not only become the first 'vacation rental by owner' platform but one of the best self-managed providers of online spaces for homeowners, too.
Through Vrbo, clients could easily advertise their vacation properties and make it easy for travellers to search over 140,000 rentals in over a hundred countries worldwide.
From 1995 to 2005, Vrbo became the most visited website in the rental industry. Furthermore, it managed to advertise nearly 65,000 vacation properties all over the world, and it is simultaneously used by over 25 million travellers a year.
For what it's worth, the couple has been approached by numerous organizations interested in purchasing or merging with Vrbo, but deep down, they both knew the company has grown as far as its abilities could stretch.
Feeling somewhat responsible to select a visionary to take Vrbo to the next level of success, the couple made a deal with HomeAway.
In 2006, Vrbo was officially acquired by HomeAway - a company that runs several of the most respected vacation rental listing sites online.
Combining their efforts, David, Lynn and Homeaway scaled Vrbo's success in the decade to come. As the number of available vacation properties grew on, there was a distinct need to attract a larger audience of renters as well as investors.
Relying on their negotiation skills, the team finally cut a promising deal and, in 2015, surrendered the reins of HomeAway to Expedia Group.
A few years later, in 2019, Vrbo underwent a rebranding and became known as Vrbo.
Its rebranding came with a new logo, and an optimized plan for capitalization.
As of April 2019, the site listed more than two million properties across the world, and in 2020, HomeAway and Vrbo websites merged into one official platform - the Vrbo website.
Throughout the years, Vrbo has maintained its top spot in vacation rentals.
While additional companies have come and gone, Vrbo was able to compete with up-and-comers accordingly, mostly by offering competitive fees for both owners and guests.
Headquartered in Austin, with more than 2000 employees, Vrbo has acquired various companies, such as Weekend.com INC, BedandBreakfast.com INC, Trover INC, HomeAway Canada, to name a few.
As part of the lodging, resort, and high-end hospitality industry for almost twenty-six years - Vrbo managed to gain a dashing revenue of $791 million.
On a mission to deliver the ultimate selection of high-end spaces for relaxation, lounging and spending pastime, the brand took an astonishing step forward all the while promising renters worldwide that no matter their preference - Vrbo has a place for everyone!