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Vacation rentals continue to be the preferred accommodation source: Vacasa CEO

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Matt Roberts, Vacasa CEO, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the company going public via SPAC merger and outlook travel trends.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: The rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant is certainly reshaping the recovery we're seeing in a beaten down travel industry. But that's not stopping Vacasa from moving ahead with plans to go public. The vacation rental management company is planning to come to market in a $4.5 billion SPAC merger with TPG Pace Solutions. And joining me now is the CEO of Vacasa, Matt Roberts.

Matt, always good to see you. I know that in recent interviews, you and I have talked about if and when Vacasa was going to go public. Here we are-- talk to us about why now and why via a SPAC with TPG.

MATT ROBERTS: Sure. Well, thanks again for having me on. Yeah, so why now is we're ready. The business is doing fantastic, growing at a really healthy pace. We're at a significant scale. And we can use the capital to continue to benefit the business-- invest in our technology team and our technology resources, as well as continue to add more properties to our platform.

Why this approach? We certainly could have gone a more traditional approach, but it's really about the partner. Partnering with TPG Pace, they have deep domain expertise in the travel industry. Karl Petersen will be joining our board-- he was the co-founder of Hotwire. So it was really the team that we get more than capital, we get a great partner as well.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: When do you expect the SPAC merger to be completed, Matt?

MATT ROBERTS: Yeah, we just filed our S4 last week-- so however long it takes the SEC to go through that, but probably this fall.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, and then so we'll be looking out for that, for sure. That'll be at the New York Stock Exchange. What will the ticker symbol be?

MATT ROBERTS: We haven't decided on the exchange yet, but it will be VCSA.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: OK, and we don't know for sure what exchange yet. It is that what I just heard?

MATT ROBERTS: That's right. We don't know for sure yet.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: OK. You know, recently, Airbnb came out with earnings and in there warned about the spread of the Delta variant and how that is changing consumer behavior is they're starting to see an uptick in cancelations or people wanting to push vacation plans down the road a little bit. What are you seeing there at Vacasa?

MATT ROBERTS: Well, thankfully, we are not seeing a tick-up in cancelation activity related to the Delta variant. And we're continuing to have incredibly strong bookings. I think vacation rentals, and certainly in our rural markets, continue to be the preferred accommodation source. So maybe that's part of the differences that you're seeing versus others. But business continues to perform exceptionally well, and we are not seeing a spike in or jump up in cancelations at all.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: I think when people see your company and what you do they may think that other companies like VRBO and Airbnb are competitors, but you say they're actually partners. Explain that for us.

MATT ROBERTS: Yeah, absolutely. So our job and our focus is on the supply side. If you think about the way that the industry grows is you need to have available nights to sell across the entire ecosystem. And that's our focus. Our focus is on creating a platform that brings high quality supply of nights to guests. And we do it-- certainly we do it through our own website, but we also do it through our distribution partners as well.

And I call them, partners, because we work collaboratively very well together in addressing the most critical part of this, which is supply. There's not enough supply. There's a lot of demand, but there's not enough supply. And that's where we come in.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: So talk to me again about the impact, if any, your business is having or experiencing because of the rise in the Delta variant.

MATT ROBERTS: Yeah, as I just mentioned, that we're not seeing an increase in cancelations, which is where we would have expected to see it. I think, again, because we're professionally managed, and we have really high quality properties, and have adopted a high level of care and standards to the guests so they feel very good about the stay, thankfully, we're continuing to have really strong bookings without a spike in any kind of cancelation activity.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Have you seen any sort of a behavioral shift in terms of where people are looking to stay or the duration of their stays?

MATT ROBERTS: I'd call it a continuation of the theme that we saw all the way through the pandemic, which is people are still opting for places that they can get outside and experience-- and experience different activities. So you know, that's really the focus is it continues to be people moving to more the rural settings, or beach, or mountain activities.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, well, we are looking forward to you becoming a publicly-traded company at some point in the fall. I know we'll have you back then. Vacasa CEO Matt Roberts, best of luck to you.

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