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Vacation rental startups are snapping up apartment leases in places like Austin, Texas, above. Photo: Bloomberg

Biggest Vacation Home Operator Moving Into City Market

Photo: Vacation rental startups are snapping up apartment leases in places like Austin, Texas, above. Photo: Bloomberg

Vacasa became the largest vacation rental management company in North America this year, operating homes in beach and mountain towns. Now, backed by more than $200 million from tech investors on the road to a potential public offering, Vacasa wants to move into the big city.

Vacasa see an opportunity in managing tourist lodgings in city apartment buildings that might attract both business travelers and families. The company’s move to lease apartments in urban markets, which hasn’t previously been reported, follows in the footsteps of smaller startups like Sonder, Stay Alfred and at least six other firms that have raised significant funding to create a real-estate-meets-tech brand in the hospitality sector (see chart below). Each is looking to compete with hotels by taking advantage of the softening market for high-end apartments, bidding for space they can rent out to tourists in buildings that might struggle to attract long-term residents.

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