Zumper, known for apartment listings and the occasional data dump of their national cost trends, is expanding in two directions: one to challenge the accommodations listings of a combination travel site and alternative vacation rental; the second to join the still thin list of vendors with short-to-medium term housing rentals for those who have a work-from-home position or who take temporary contracts at different locations, like traveling nurses, and want the freedom to move from one place to another.
The pleasure rental, called Vacations by Zumper, offers a “new vacations destination platform that addresses the gap in technological advancements and industry innovation in this category.” The listings appear to be a compendium of ones available through already existing separate companies, including Evolve and Rentals United.
“Evolve, the largest short-term rental distribution partner on Zumper, has now made more than 28,000 vacation homes across more than 750 markets available for booking,” a company press release said. “Rentals United, a leading vacation rentals channel manager that helps property managers make data-driven decisions to increase conversions and takes care of all their distribution needs, will sync and update listings ensuring customers have up-to-date and accurate information. Additional partners also allowed for the inclusion of vacation mainstays — hotels. Through these strategic alliances, Zumper’s vacation hub, Vacations by Zumper, has also added around 50,000 new hotel listings.” The company’s site also mentions “vacation homes from VRBO, Booking.com, and more.”
The business argument seems to be an ability to potentially bring people to the platforms. This is positioned as an expanded version of what a Expedia, Hotels.com, or other travel platform might offer. However, Airbnb also has hotels that list and Expedia, for instance, also shows vacation apartments, leaving the question of what the actual difference, if any, might be.
The other program, FlexPass, is an annual subscription service with “access to thousands of premium, fully furnished short-term rentals on Zumper’s marketplace, with significant cost savings due to the absence of security deposits, contracts and booking or hidden fees (including cleaning, transaction, application and broker),” the company says. “Additionally, users can benefit from concierge support for planning and booking.” The concierge service will send a “list of property recommendations from within our network” and will book a property on this list.
FlexPass membership starts at $300 per year in addition to rent, which could also be a relatively inexpensive way to snag an apartment without paying a month’s rent as a broker fee. Stays are for at least 30 days. An introductory offer waives the membership fee.
This also is not a unique idea. Companies like Landing offer short-term apartment access on a membership basis.