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Why One Company Relies on Amazon Business to Furnish Its Rental Homes

The vacation villa was situated on a white-sand beach that stretched unbroken for miles before a turquoise ocean that lapped against a limitless horizon. Time moved slowly here, if at all.

Amid all this abundance, the only thing the deluxe hideaway was in imminent danger of running out of was bed sheets. 

“We run our own laundry and linen-changing service,” explains Kevin Blair, director of supply chain operations for Vacasa, North America’s largest vacation rental management company by unit count. “In peak season, we’re turning over vacation units every few days and have to move very quickly. As linens run out, we need to reorder. However, our regional distribution center was out of stock and it would take most of a week to order the specialty bed linens we used for this home—time we didn’t have.”

As it turned out, it was time they didn’t need. The distribution manager got the specialty luxury linens for the exclusive property in 48 hours. The result: another sunny day in paradise.

What made the difference was Amazon Business, which serves millions of business customers of all sizes with hundreds of millions of products. Amazon Business offers business discounts, fast shipping, account management tools including reports and analytics, and a range of payment options.

Perhaps the biggest benefit that Blair and his colleagues at Vacasa get from Amazon Business is its fast, convenient delivery of specialty products from the ordinary to the exotic. “Amazon Business has a supply chain and distribution network that’s unparalleled in the industry,” he says. 

That’s a particular help to a company like Vacasa. “We’re a hyper-market-driven organization managing more than 12,000 vacation properties around the world,” says Blair. “We need to deliver a breadth of specialty items and amenities to our owners’ properties and their guests, even when the property is relatively isolated, like a bungalow in Belize, a chalet in Switzerland, or a modern apartment in Czechia. I can’t think of any other supplier that can operate with the reach and scale we need. Having Amazon Business as a resource we can depend on is very important.”

About 500 general managers across Vacasa access its Amazon Business account. That highly decentralized system runs with a lean team of just five central operations support people in Vacasa’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon. The company performs this remarkable feat with the help of Amazon Business, too.

“Our purchasing has to be decentralized because managers across the country and beyond buy specialty products for unique properties at the direction of the owners—such as a specialty lightbulb for a unique floor lamp,” says Sarah Henderson, supplies specialist at Vacasa. “Because we rely on Amazon Business for fast, on-time shipping of specialty items, we can be more nimble and manage these requests with fewer people here in Portland.”

That wasn’t always the case. Before Vacasa adopted Amazon Business, its general managers were often frustrated by the inability to order specialty products or supplies according to their specific needs, and that inability sometimes created what Blair calls “friction points” with both field teams and guests. Moreover, managers were using hundreds of individual credit cards to make purchases, creating an administrative nightmare. 

Now, by putting all authorized users on a single Vacasa account on Amazon Business, Blair says, “We just don’t have as many of those friction points any more and have done away with management challenges. Which means we do a better job for everyone who depends on us.”

Blair and Henderson are looking forward to making that “better job” even better. With more managers making use of Amazon Business for their purchases, Blair and Henderson expect the portion of Vacasa purchasing that’s transacted through Amazon Business to climb from 14 percent to 20 percent over the next year. 

And if they ever run out of white sand on that tropical beach, they can reorder that through Amazon Business, too.

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