MyVR: Helping Rental Owners To Take Their Properties To Travelers
Vacation rental is clearly a business that anyone who owns a space can plunge into. It all started with airbnb and torrents of websites have evolved since then. Assume you have a place to rent out to, with the evolution of so many vacation rental sites and with the new age weapon called social media, how do you market your vacation rental across sites and manage your entire end-to-end workflows? Read on to know what the MyVR team has to say about this problem and how their startup is different from others.
What’s “MyVR” into? Why was this product needed and what problem are you trying to solve?
MyVR is online marketing software that allows vacation rental owners and operators to manage all of their vacation rental marketing in one place. MyVR is the complete marketing solution for your vacation rental home.
With MyVR, upload your home info once, then easily advertise across the top marketing channels. Consolidate your marketing efforts under one roof – from major listing sites, to local and social marketing channels, to your own website and Facebook Page. Plus, get access to discounted listings on HomeAway, FlipKey, VRBO, VacationRentals.com, and TripAdvisor.
Since MyVR was created by a team of vacation rental owners (founders), we are completely focused on solving the pain points of the vacation rental owner and operator.
When did you launch the product?
MyVR was first launched as a beta product in early 2012 after we completed the winter class of the ‘Y Combinator’ startup incubator program.
Tell us about the founding team and the notable Y Combinator incubation?
We are a team of seasoned entrepreneurs who also happen to be vacation rental owners and operators. Our vision for MyVR.com came out of our personal frustrations with marketing and managing our own rentals. We started this whole thing as a side project, building solutions for ourselves. However, after talking to some other frustrated vacation rental owners, we quickly realized that we’re not alone, so we decided to roll out our solutions to help others, as well!
Any info you can share with us on your funding?
We raised a $1.4 million seed round from SV Angel (a re-up from YC) and participation from a number of angels, including Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon; YC partner and father of Gmail, Paul Buchheit; Hotwire President Clem Bason; Tenaya Capital’s Ben Boyer; TrialPay co-founder and CEO Alex Rampell (who Jonathan Murray, CEO sold his last business to), and others.
Can MyVR be called as a booking engine?
MyVR is not a booking engine. Let’s be clear what MyVR is not. MyVR is not another listing site. We are not a search portal for renters, like HomeAway, FlipKey, or VRBO. These are great services and should be part of a vacation rental marketing effort — that’s why we have relationships with them. We are focused on helping owners bring their home to the traveler, wherever they may be, with less work.
Do you have plans to scale this product for small hoteliers to enable them to go online?
We don’t currently have plans to focus on small hoteliers, but we have had many inquiries from realtors looking to showcase their homes for sale. At this point though, we are laser-focused on solving the pain points for individual vacation rental owners.
Technically, the product can be scaled to suit a small hotelier, right?
Yes, it could potentially be scaled to suit a small hotelier, but that really isn’t our focus. They would have very different needs than a vacation rental owner, many of whom have separate full-time jobs outside of the marketing and management of their home.
There are online services like Vacation Storebuilder, which offers eCommerce solutions for vacation rentals, or the straightforward, rental-focused website builder WebChalet, to name two.
But these sites are focused on the web presence half of the pie, not marketing. On the marketing side, a startup called Evolve, offers a white-glove approach to marketing and managing vacation homes. Evolve is great for those who just want to hand over their keys and let someone else take care of the rest. MyVR, on the other hand, is more for those who want to be in control of managing and marketing their properties but without the hassle. The other factor is that, if Evolve rents your home successfully, it takes 10 percent of the booking, which is going to be more expensive than $12/month.
The relationships we’ve built with HomeAway and FlipKey are instrumental in this effort. To our knowledge, no other technology company has integrated with these listing sites. With MyVR you can purchase and manage your listings directly from your account – with all of your rates, calendars, photos, and info in sync and up-to-date.
What’s the plan of MyVR for next 18 to 24 months?
Our vision is to help vacation rental owners manage all of their marketing efforts under one roof – from their website, to listing sites, to local directories, to social media. Over the next 18 to 24 months we’ll continue to improve our product and scale our customer growth.
Author: Karthick Prabu