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Most popular 2021 articles: Airbnb commercials, upgrades, and cancellation policies + Vacasa + Sonder


What was popular in 2021 on Rental Scale-Up? Airbnb commercials, investor decks by hospitality businesses raising money (Sonder and Vacasa)

Airbnb commercials (Made possible by hosts)

Airbnb commercials (Made possible by hosts)

Airbnb’s commercials depicting how guests could experience wonderful homes were immensely popular. The #madepossiblebyhosts hashtag trended very high. Airbnb’s ads were visible across social media and even on TV in select countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, and France.

2021 Airbnb commercials promote unique experiences “Made Possible by Hosts”

We followed up on this successful article with related news such as:

Airbnb 2021 Summer Release (103 upgrades)

Airbnb 2021 Summer Release (103 upgrades)

On May 24, Airbnb announced its most comprehensive update to its service in 12 years. The company unveiled a simpler and more inspiring guest experience and upgrades that make it even easier for anyone to be a Host. The Flexible matching options and the simplified onboarding process for hosts took center stage.

Airbnb’s May 24, 2021 Special announcement: Takeaways + 103 new features

As a follow-up, our article and video about Airbnb’s Winter 2021 release (which came AFTER the summer one) were also very popular:

Vacasa SPAC (investor deck)

vacasa investor deck

Vacasa, the biggest vacation rental property management company in the US, went public in December 2021. Its market value is about $3.5bn. Yet, what struck the most our readers was Vacasa’s investor deck. It shared interesting data about the company’s strategy, such as acquiring dozens of property managers in key vacation markets to dominate the supply. The deck also showed that the company estimated that each of its property management contracts was worth $150,000.

Vacasa SPAC presentation Slides: Deep-dive on their acquisition strategy (160+ property management companies and counting)

Sonder’s investor deck (SPAC)

sonder investor deck

Sonder is another company whose financial trajectory captured the attention of our readers. Once again, it is the company’s investor deck that got a lot of people talking. The slides depicted very well the company’s strategy to offer hotel-like services in apartment buildings, when not building actual hotels (sans front desks and with full automation).

Sonder should go public mid-January, under the SOND ticker.

Top 10 slides from Sonder’s 2021 investor presentation, as company prepares to go public at a $2.2 billion value

Airbnb’s 11 cancellation policies (with the new FIRM policy)

Some hosts may not have realized that Airbnb was now offering 11 cancellation policies. In January 2021, we revealed that the company was piloting a new policy, called “Modified Strict” at the time. In June, we confirmed that this policy had been rolled out to hosts under a new name: Firm.

New features and policies are always of great interest to our readers. Cancellation policies are a key topic, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has put them front and center in the mind of both hosts and guests. Airbnb introduced FIRM to get more hosts to downgrade from STRICT and show more flexibility. The gap between STRICT and MODERATE was too large. FIRM tries to bridge this gap.

Airbnb’s new cancellation policies (FIRM)


Rental Scale-Up

Thibault is the founder of Rental Scale-Up. He owns vacation rentals in St. Barths and Bali. He also leads innovative projects for companies within the vacation rental industry. Feel free to reach out to Thibaut Masson on Linkedin.


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