Revealed – who are the world’s top 50 short-term let property managers?

11 November 2020 | Investment

A Barcelona-based software company recently announced its list of the ‘World’s Top 50 Short Term Property Managers’. 

Rentals United, which describes itself as a market-leading enterprise channel management solution in the short-term rental industry, said putting together the list had been ‘a tremendous labour of love’, with a list this expansive never produced before for the short-term rental industry.

Short-lets have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and the restrictions this has placed on leisure and business travel (both internationally and domestically), but it was one of the fastest-growing parts of the property investment market before Covid. And many believe it will bounce back once the travel industry begins to recover.

Rentals United is firmly of the opinion that the travel industry will eventually return to where it was before, as research suggests that globally people are eager to travel again once it is safe to do so. 

The firm talked to industry leaders to understand how the market has been evolving quickly, with much consolidation as it continues to mature. It found that 30% of the companies in its list were founded in the last 5 years, while over half the companies are self-funded. More than 60% have grown organically, while four out of the top 10 are equity backed.

The ‘World’s Top 50 Property Managers’ is a ranking by rental numbers of the largest short-term rental property managers in the world, compiled and published in October by Rentals United.

Dominating the list are European companies, with Awaze, OYO Vacation Homes, Interhome, Sykes Holiday Cottages, Direct Booker, Feriepartner, Sol og Strand and Holidaycottages.co.uk heading the top 10, along with two companies from North America: Vacasa and Evolve. All of the top 10 primarily represent leisure rentals (villas, chalets, cottages, etc). 

UK-based Awaze, with a whopping 110,000 properties, is the largest property management company in the world. Formerly Wyndham’s holiday rental business, and spanning 36 countries, the 30-year-old company has grown over the years through the various brands it owns, including James Villa Holidays, Novasol, Hoseasons and Cottages.com.

Meanwhile, the second and third spots go to two Zurich-based property management companies, OYO Vacation Homes and Interhome, respectively. Interhome – founded in 1965 in Switzerland and with 15 regional subsidiaries – manages 50,000 holiday rentals in 31 countries. OYO Vacation Homes manages 54,000 properties in Europe.

Shirish Damani, chief revenue officer at OYO Vacation Homes, said: “We are delighted to have been included in the global Rentals United top 50. Even in a year in which the pandemic has impacted lives dramatically, we have seen our holiday homes become more popular than ever, for holiday breaks but also as a home office or your own private ‘bubble’ away from home. This confirmed that our full-service strategy and constant pursuit to use technology to offer differentiated experiences is the right one for the future.”

The only North American company in the top 5 is Portland-based Vacasa, with 25,000 short-term rentals, earning it the title of largest property manager in North America.  

Rounding up the top 5 is the UK-based Sykes Holiday Cottages, with 20,100 properties across the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, including 20,000 exclusive holiday homes. The company won the British Travel Award for Best Large Holiday Cottage Booking Company eight years in a row.

Graham Donogue, chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, commented: “We have been serving the market and watching it grow for nearly 30 years – although this year has definitely been different to any other. Working closely with our owners has helped us all to adjust to the new normal of 2020, managing rebookings and refunds, and guiding owners through what turned out to be one of the busiest summers yet for staycations. Being named on the Rentals United list is testament to the hard work of our entire team this year.”

The list highlights that 60% of the largest property managers are located in Europe, with only one property manager in South Africa (Propr) and the rest in North America. The total number of rentals these 50 property managers represent is just over 380,000, which is only a fraction of the number of rentals in the world. 

Around 30% of the firms were founded in the last five years, with the oldest company on the list dating back to 1959, a company called Elliott Realty and based in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA.

The youngest company on the list, by contrast, is Altido, which was founded in 2019 through a merger between four pan-European property management companies. 

With regards to growth and funding, more than half the companies are self-funded and over 60% have grown organically, while the rest are a mix of organic growth and acquisitions. Four out of the first 10 in the list are backed by equity, with three part of a group: Interhome (Migros), onefinestay (Accor), Pillow (Expedia). 

Members of the list receive a ‘Top 50’ badge for their website and are said to ‘gain tremendous visibility’ amongst property owners worldwide.

You can view The World’s Top 50 Short Term Property Managers here.

This post has originally been featured in Property Investor Today.