You can PackLate
if you want to. Steve Barsh, CEO of the Conshohocken based vacation rental company, reports explosive growth in recent months following a deal with Travel Holdings Inc
., and its better known subsidiary Tourico Holidays, a worldwide distributor of vacation property rentals via massive travel sites. "If you go on the American Airlines
website and book a vacation home, it’s a PackLate property," explains Barsh, as one example. While PackLate's involvement on these larger sites is unbranded, according to Barsh, PackLate still reaps the benefits, receiving a commission for each rental.
After raising $1 million in seed funding from colleagues in the VC world, PackLate is poised to double staff this year. With six employees now, Barsh is actively seeking developers to expand the business. He is also looking for office space in Center City, and has a very specific picture in his head: a century old, well-varnished hardwood floors, lots of light and exposed brick. PackLate, reports Barsh, is also about to enter a series A round of fundraising.
The company started for fairly personal reasons. Barsh, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who was a partner in DreamIt Ventures
, owns vacation rental properties in Park City, Utah. While trying to rent the properties through popular sites like VRBO
, he and his wife realized that there was a lot lacking, like real time functionality. Typically, a renter locates an owner's listing, inquires via email or phone, sends a check and waits for confirmation. The whole process from discovery to confirmation can take days.
By contrast, PackLate provides instant payment and instant confirmation. The other big difference bedsides timeliness, says Barsh, is that PackLate works solely with property managers, not individual owners, and that’s how it is able to offer real time booking capability. It’s a different psychographic from AirBnB
customers, says Barsh. PackLate started as a B to C company, and Barsh describes the recent partnership with Travel Holdings as a 90 degree pivot, repositioning as a B to B company and solving a distribution problem. It is still possible, additionally, for individuals to book properties on the site directly.
The great majority of PackLate bookings are inbound US travelers, with Florida at the top of the itinerary. He notes that Orlando is the number 2 travel destination in the world, bested only by Paris. Vacation homes are hot right now, says Barsh. People the world over crave an authentic travel experience, as opposed to a hotel stay.
If you are interested in joining the PackLate team, the top job requirement is a positive attitude, says Barsh, who offers unlimited vacation time and lots of travel for interested developers.
Source: Steve Barsh, PackLate
Writer: Sue Spolan