There’s no denying that the short- and long-term rental industries took a hit in 2020 after the start of the pandemic. But in the years since, the numbers have shifted, as emerging trends like remote work have created an environment of increased mobility and location flexibility. This has reinvigorated the vacation rental industry, which is now forecasted to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% from 2022 to 2030, according to a report from Grand View Research.

Grand Welcome, a leading vacation rental management company that launched its franchising effort right as the pandemic was starting, has welcomed the shift and has been riding the wave of growth – particularly over the past several months.

“It’s been extremely busy,” said Kevin Drudge, vice president of franchise development. “We’ve awarded 19 franchisees this year so far – 15 of those in just April through June alone. And it’s all over the country – southern Utah, Atlanta, Palm Springs, St. Augustine, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale. We currently have 28 franchises awarded in 32 total locations across 16 states, and we’re not slowing down.”

The growth, especially as of late, has been something to behold. Compared to the four franchises awarded in 2020 and the 11 awarded in 2021, Grand Welcome has already exceeded both years combined before midyear. Judging by its current run rate, Drudge estimated the business will have 50 to 60 units altogether by the end of the year.

The business’s success has also been, in part, thanks to effective partnerships with booking sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, which help drive business for Grand Welcome franchisees and properties in their respective territories. In addition to maintaining a 4.7-star rating on Airbnb, Grand Welcome is a premier host on Vrbo, where the business currently has over 600 properties listed. “These are very strong partners for us,” said Drudge, who credits these booking sites with the majority of guest bookings that come through for Grand Welcome and its franchisees.

Looking at how the business has evolved over the years, the demographic breakdown of Grand Welcome’s franchisees is almost as impressive as the growth rate itself and serves as a testament to the accessibility of the business model. Of its current franchise locations, eight are BIPOC-owned, nine are woman-owned, and 11 – about 41% – are veteran-owned.

“It’s really cool to see that diversity,” said Drudge, who noted that this was just something that happened naturally. “We are looking to find ways to be more proactive about inclusion. For example, veterans are a large majority of our system, so it’s worth reaching out and trying to bring more of them on directly.”

As Grand Welcome continues to gear up for even more rapid growth in the coming months, Drudge is confident the business is well-poised for expansion and more than capable of supporting the growing network of franchisees. “We have 75 employees that run our business across five corporate locations, as well as support franchising,” he said, referring to the team that handles a lot of the work behind the scenes, such as marketing, guest bookings, customer service and more, to support franchisees. “There’s a very strong support system and home base for our franchisees to lean on as we continue to grow. And [we’ll continue] to staff and bring on new people. That’s all part of what we do to benefit franchisees and their businesses.”

Tamara Rahoumi

See the Original Article in Franchise Dictionary Magazine here.