How did you get into this business?
I grew up in a family that really loved renting vacation rentals, so I fell in love with the concept at an early age. My family is Italian, so the kitchen and great meals were always a big part of our gatherings. As I grew older, I wanted to share these great experiences with my friends, so I became the guy in our group who would find a great vacation rental for our beach or ski vacations. I know from first-hand experience how difficult it is to find and book a vacation rental that is perfect for your trip when you are far away.
In 2007, I was able to start a business that aligned with my passion of getting away with friends and family in great vacation rentals. My goal was to make vacation rentals easier to find and easier to book! We started VacationRoost with that goal. We wanted to create a marketplace that not only aggregated inventory so you could find great homes to rent, but we wanted to make it easy to book them. We did this by introducing online booking for vacation rentals back in 2008, and with our industry-leading Destination Experts who act as Personal Shoppers for guests and help them find exactly the right vacation home for their trip. This last year, we expanded our scope with the acquisition of LeisureLink, and we are now helping our vacation rental supplier partners reach new customers by providing their inventory to all of the major online travel agencies like Expedia, Orbitz, Booking.com and Travelocity as well as directly to the Global Distribution Systems like Worldspan and Sabre.
What’s the best vacation rental you’ve ever stayed in? What’s the worst?
Ty Molineux, an incredible Vacation Rental Estate in Antigua.
I can’t remember the worst—it seems like we have a great time no matter where we stay.
How is the rise of mobile devices changing the vacation rental business?
It is making vacation rentals more accessible. With mobile devices and more online resources for people to find vacation homes, it is easier than ever to find your perfect vacation rental. We just launched our first responsive design site: HawaiianBeachRentals.com to take advantage of this growing opportunity!
Word of advice to VR owners?
If you are renting your home, like it or not, you are in the hospitality business! The great news is that hospitality and lodging is one of the most successful e-commerce categories of all time, and there are tons of great tools and techniques out there to help vacation rental owners generate bookings and run a successful business with your properties. Check out VacationRentalAgent.com for example.
Insider tip for travelers in your area?
I live in Paradise, I mean Park City. People come for the “Greatest Snow on Earth” but stay for the summers. I’m proof of that—I love the summers now more than the winters. Lodging is cheap and available, the activities like mountain biking, rafting, hiking, golf, etc… are awesome, and the weather is perfect—no humidity and no bugs!
About the Author
Julian Castelli is the CEO and founder of VacationRoost. As a veteran media executive with more than 18 years of senior-level operating experience and a world-class institutional background, Julian is also the CEO of Castles Media Company. Before founding VacationRoost, Julian served as Chief Financial Officer of Primedia, a $300 million Internet media company that owns and operates leading brands: Apartment Guide / Apartmentguide.com, New Home Guide / Newhomeguide.com, Auto Guide / Autoguide.com, and Rentals.com. You can follow VacationRoost on Facebook and Twitter.