Evolve vs Vacasa: Which Airbnb Manager is Best?

Jun 11, 2024, written by Dennis Shirshikov

Evolve and Vacasa are the two largest and most popular Airbnb management companies in the US. But which one is better? Are they worth it for hosts at all?

In short, neither Evolve nor Vacasa is worth it for short term rental property owners. Evolve provides only half-service property management, albeit at an industry-low fee, making it impossible for owners to earn passive income. Vacasa, on the other hand, offers full-service management, but lacks important services like design and furnishing, and the cost is high.

Summer, the top ranked vacation rental management company, does things differently. The company only selects properties that it can operate with a high level of quality. As a result, Summer has a smaller portfolio of highly valuable homes that consistently exceed both host and guest expectations and outperform at least 95% of competitors.

Evolve vs Vacasa: Quick Overview

Evolve is the biggest half-service short term rental property manager in the US. It was founded by Brian Egan and Adam Sherry in 2011 and is headquartered in Denver, CO. Evolve’s mission is to relieve hosts from the stress of managing vacation rentals and improve guest standards and support.

Currently, Evolve works with more than 30,000 hosts in various destinations across the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean, focused on beach, lake, mountain, and ski vacation rentals.

Vacasa is the largest full-service Airbnb property management company in North America. It was founded by Eric Breon and Cliff Johnson in 2009 and is headquartered in Portland, OR. Vacasa aims to provide the best hospitality experience for both hosts and guests everywhere.

Today, Vacasa manages over 44,000 vacation rentals in 35 US states, Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica. The company works with short term rentals of all types and sizes.

Additionally, via its GuestWorks product, Vacasa offers half-service property management for vacation rentals focused on listing, marketing, and communication automation. The company also recently began servicing long-term rentals, but full-service vacation rental management remains its main focus.

The table below offers a quick side-by-side comparison of the main features and characteristics of Evolve and Vacasa:

Evolve vs Vacasa by Category

Evolve vs Vacasa: Market Coverage

Both Evolve and Vacasa serve most of the top short term rental markets in the US, including key tourist destinations and busy cities. However, they do not have nationwide coverage.

Specifically, Evolve is available in 750 markets distributed across the US plus some resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. The company leans towards popular vacation destinations such as beaches, lakes, mountains, and ski resorts. Evolve’s most important locations are Florida, California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, South Carolina, Alabama, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.

Similarly, Vacasa operates in more than 400 markets across 35 US states and select locations in Canada, Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica. Major Vacasa markets include Oregon, Texas, California, Tennessee, Montana, Alabama, Florida, Delaware, and Massachusetts.

Before choosing either short term rental property manager, hosts should confirm that services are available in their market.

Evolve vs Vacasa: Eligible Types of Properties

Generally, Evolve and Vacasa both work with many different types of residential properties, but Evolve is more selective and has more specific requirements.

Namely, Evolve manages properties from the following categories:

To be eligible for Evolve services, short term rentals must provide:

Unqualified properties include:

Eligible properties must meet the four Evolve standards: 1) Safe, 2) Clean, 3) As advertised, and 4) Guest ready.

Before onboarding a property, Evolve carefully vets both host and property to determine eligibility. Not all properties that meet the above-listed requirements are guaranteed approval.

Unlike Evolve, Vacasa does not impose specific qualification requirements for their vacation rental management. It operates various property types including, but not limited to:

Popular property types managed by Vacasa are beach houses, lake houses, waterfront homes, and oceanfront properties.

While Vacasa does not have specific requirements for kitchens, bathrooms, or other amenities, it does decide if a property is a fit before signing an agreement, so qualification is not guaranteed.

Evolve vs Vacasa: Vacation Rental Management Services

There are major differences between the services provided by the two short term rental management companies. Namely, Evolve is a half-service provider, while Vacasa is mostly a full-service manager.

Standard Evolve and Vacasa Services

Evolve offers a standard package of services to all hosts, in all locations. They aim to help automate and streamline short term rental management while owners remain personally involved in the process. Evolve is potentially a fit for hosts who invest locally, have availability and relevant skills, and do not mind working directly with guests and service providers (cleaners, handymen, etc.).

Evolve short term rental management covers:

Vacasa offers more services than Evolve as part of its standard package to take all responsibilities off of hosts so that they can earn passive income from their vacation rental investment. Vacasa could be a good choice for those who invest remotely, own multiple properties, lack hospitality experience, and do not want to be engaged in their Airbnb business.

Vacasa vacation rental property management includes:

In addition to full-service management, Vacasa also provides half-service management via the Vacasa GuestWorks program, which resembles Evolve’s focus on the automation of repetitive tasks.

Vacasa GuestWorks services include:

Additional Evolve and Vacasa Services

Besides the standard vacation rental management services, both Evolve and Vacasa offer some extra services to hosts who need them.

Evolve offers:

Evolve does not charge a fee for this service.

Vacasa offers:

Each of these extra services is subject to a specific fee.

Missing Evolve and Vacasa Services

Evolve does not provide:

Vacasa does not provide:

Professional vacation rental interior design and furnishing are crucial for the success of a short term rental property. The best Airbnb properties benefit from classic, timeless designs that never go out of style and comfortable yet durable furniture. How a vacation rental is furnished plays an important role in attracting reservations and generating positive guest reviews.

Whether they hire Evolve or Vacasa, owners need to make sure that their property is furnished and ready to welcome guests beforehand.

Evolve vs Vacasa: Getting Started

To get started with Evolve, interested hosts fill out property details in an online form on the company website. Evolve uses this information to decide whether the property might be a good fit for their services.

If the property is a fit, the company vets the host and the rental to confirm identity, home ownership, and financial and criminal history. Co-owners, service providers, and guest contacts also undergo screening.

Once everything has been checked, Evolve and the owner sign a vacation rental agreement, after which the company sends a third-party professional photographer to the property. Once photos are complete, they start working on the property listing.

With Vacasa, investors can use the free online Airbnb calculator on the company website to estimate their property’s expected revenue, and then contact Vacasa via phone or online form.

Vacasa then connects with the host to discuss the property and confirm it’s a good fit, to identify the necessary services, and to provide a customized quote.

Next, a property management contract gets signed, and Vacasa gets access to the property for an initial inspection, permit and license check, cleaning, and to obtain necessary listing information.

Evolve vs Vacasa: Property Management Fees and Costs

Fees are a major difference between Vacasa and Evolve. Evolve not only charges less (due to partial services) but also has a more transparent pricing model.

Evolve charges the same Airbnb property management fee of 10% of monthly income in all locations and for all property types. This is an industry-low fee, but it comes with only half-service property management. Owners still need to do housekeeping themselves or hire a professional team, which might add costs up to an additional 10-15% of revenue.

Meanwhile, Vacasa fees vary by market and property and the company website does not provide any further details. Host reviews of Vacasa on third-party websites quote rates in excess of 35% of revenue, which is rather expensive in the vacation rental management industry, even for full-service provision.

Moreover, when hiring Vacasa, hosts should be ready to pay additional fees for the extra services necessary for a hands-off approach to short term rental ownership. The Vacasa website does not have information about the pricing of the linen program and hot tub maintenance. Access to the Accommodation Damage Program costs between $7/night for 0-2 bedroom properties and $8.54/night for 3+ bedroom properties, paid only for booked nights.

In other words, owners cannot get even a rough estimate of the Vacasa cost before getting in touch with the team and receiving a custom quote.

Evolve vs Vacasa: Terms and Conditions

Neither of the two short term rental property managers requires a long-term commitment, but both ask hosts to sign a written agreement in line with industry standards.

Evolve customers can cancel the property management agreement with a 15-day notice without incurring a cancellation fee. However, all cancellations in the first 90 days are subject to a $250 cancellation fee.

When working with Vacasa, owners must give a 90-day notice before cancellation to avoid paying a fee and they must honor all reservations that have already been made for this 90-day window. However, it’s worth noting that some hosts complain in online reviews about the difficulty of canceling Vacasa services.

Evolve vs Vacasa: Reviews by Hosts and Guests

These two leading Airbnb property managers also have differing customer reviews.

Evolve property management reviews are available on:

Some hosts and guests who have worked with Evolve praise its high-quality homes, easy processes, well-maintained and stocked rentals, excellent matches between listings and actual properties, supportive team, and efficient communication.

Others complain about incorrect rental income estimates, low revenue, poorly determined daily rates, lack of flexibility, filthy properties, mismatches between listing photos and rentals, and incompetent staff members.

Vacasa property management reviews are available on:

Owners and guests satisfied with Vacasa services highlight its great homes and locations, excellent appliances and amenities, well-cleaned properties, good experiences, smooth processes and procedures, helpful information, and strong communication.

Dissatisfied customers talk about dirty rentals, broken furniture, poorly maintained homes, neglected safety issues, poor customer service, lower-than-expected revenue, unexpected fees, fewer-than-promised services, and bad communication.

Overall, Evolve has higher online rankings than Vacasa, but there are still red flags that interested hosts should consider.

Evolve and Vacasa: Best Alternatives

While both Evolve and Vacasa can somewhat help vacation rental owners who need property management, the quantity and quality of their services are not enough for hosts to rest assured that their property is performing up to its potential without their direct intervention.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top competitors of Evolve and Vacasa who might be better positioned to take care of short term rentals and maximize their performance.

The table below summarizes the key features of the main Evolve and Vacasa alternatives:

Evolve vs Vacasa Competitor Overview


Summer is the top Evolve and Vacasa alternative in the US. As the best Airbnb property management company, Summer is significantly more selective about the rentals that it works with. The company only operates homes that generate a minimum of $50,000 in revenue per year and onboard properties only where it can guarantee high-quality management and top performance. That’s why Summer-managed rentals earn more revenue than at least 95% of comparable properties in the same market.

Summer vacation rental management services span from best-in-class interior design and furnishing (for properties that need it), all the way to guest management, cleaning, and maintenance. Guest and host communication is available 24/7, with no wait time. As a result of its efforts, Summer has an Airbnb rating of 4.98 stars and a Superhost status, which further helps boost the performance of listings.

Summer works nationwide in markets where it can provide excellence. The company sets up a local team in each market where there is interest from owners and where it can guarantee top services.

Summer treats owners not like customers but like Members. Summer Membership gives hosts not only the right to stay at their own property as often as they want but also to reserve other Summer properties across the nation.

The monthly fee for comprehensive services starts at 20% of revenue, including bookings and excluding cleaning fees, distinguishing Summer from other vacation rental managers. Design and furnishing services start at $10,000 and are flexible, depending on the property and the needs of the owner.


AvantStay review positions it as another main competitor of Evolve and Vacasa. However, AvantStay specializes in group stays, so it generally works with properties that have 4+ bedrooms. It is also significantly smaller than both Evolve and Vacasa, managing around 1,800 rentals.

AvantStay is a full-service property manager. The company also offers interior design and furnishing services to help investors who are just getting started as well as those who want to boost performance.

AvantStay Airbnb management services are available in 100 US markets including key vacation destinations in multiple states, but coverage is far from nationwide.

AvantStay offers two different pricing models: 1) Master Lease, where owners get a fixed income each month, while AvantStay pockets the remaining revenue and 2) Vacation Rental Management, where the company is paid a percentage of monthly revenue. The company website does not specify the rates for either, but hosts report fees exceeding 20%. Interior design, furnishing, and photography are charged separately.


Awning is a full-service short term rental management company that competes mostly with Vacasa, but somewhat with Evolve. Awning review shows that they are one of the newest firms in the industry and work with relatively few properties.

Awning covers all the basic services expected from an Airbnb management company. The company offers short term rental insurance via Obie as well as flexible interior design and furnishing services, including both full-scale renovations and partial decorations.

Awning works in all US states through local teams.

The monthly fees start at 10% of revenue, but this is unlikely to cover all services necessary to earn passive income. Design and furnishing starts at $3,000 per property for partial services.

The Bottom Line

As a half-service property manager, Evolve could help hosts looking to automate vacation rental management. As a full-service Airbnb manager, Vacasa could serve more hands-off owners. However, multiple negative reviews, customer complaints, and unclear pricing make Vacasa’s reputation and practices rather suspicious.

Instead, vacation rental property owners who demand high-quality, full-service property management should check out Summer. The company provides everything that an Airbnb business needs to succeed and outperform at least 95% of competitors. Meanwhile, management fees are affordable, starting at only 20% of income (excluding cleaning), with no hidden costs.

Evolve and Vacasa: FAQs

What Is Evolve Vacation Rental?

Evolve is a vacation rental management company that helps owners automate and streamline the process without giving up personal involvement. Evolve focuses on listing, pricing, distribution, marketing, guest management, and insurance. Hosts remain responsible for housekeeping and property maintenance, whether through one of Evolve’s recommended local businesses or their own contractors.

What Is Vacasa?

Vacasa is a short term rental property management company that offers comprehensive services excluding interior design and furnishing. Some services are covered by the standard property management package, while others are offered as add-ons for an additional cost.

How Much Does Evolve Charge Hosts?

Evolve charges the same property management fee of 10% of monthly revenue in all locations and for all rentals. There are no additional costs, but owners must take care of housekeeping and repairs.

How Much Does Vacasa Charge?

Vacasa charges a range of fees that vary by market and property. Its website does not specify fees, but hosts report costs that sometimes exceed 35% of revenue. Moreover, things like linens, hot tub maintenance, and protection are paid separately.

What Is the Best Airbnb Property Management Company?

Summer is the top vacation rental management company in the US. The company offers truly comprehensive services that optimize property performance and provide hosts with passive income. Interior design and furnishing services are available for properties that need them and are headed by a New York-based designer with over 10 years of experience in residential and commercial design. Short term rentals managed by Summer earn more income than at least 95% of the competition.

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This article was written by
Dennis Shirshikov

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