December 6, 2021 – Executive search firm ON Partners has helped to place Heath Hammett as the new chief executive officer of VacationRenter, a vacation rental search engine. He joins VacationRenter from Copart, a global leader in online auto auctions, where he was vice president of product. Partner Lynda Robey led the assignment for the recruitment firm.
VacationRenter was built inside San Francisco-based start-up studio Wilbur Labs to simplify the complex and time-consuming process of finding the perfect vacation rental. The platform aggregates rentals from leading travel sites and personalizes recommendations for each user. Less than three years after launching in 2018, VacationRenter drove over $1 billion in 2020 gross booking value. Under Mr. Hammett, VacationRenter is expected to further expand its international footprint while continuing to provide travelers with a personalized search experience and rental options. “VacationRenter adapted to pandemic travel and grew bookings to record levels despite all the obstacles,” said David Kolodny, co-founder at Wilbur Labs. “This is just the beginning for VacationRenter. The company has an incredible team, tremendous traction, and a growing, multi-billion opportunity to be the category-defining vacation rental search engine. Heath is the perfect leader for this team and shares our long-term vision for solving problems in the space.”
Mr. Hammett has served as a marketing, metasearch, analytics and customer retention executive in the travel, automotive and hospitality industries. Prior to Copart, he was vice president of customer acquisition and analytics for Pizza Hut U.S., a division of YUM! Hammett also spent eight years at Hotels.com, where he led a global team responsible for customer acquisition across paid and organic marketing.
“VacationRenter is becoming the ideal place to find a vacation rental, and our momentum continues to accelerate,” said Mr. Hammett. “We have a talented, passionate team that is dedicated to helping travelers find the best rental for their needs. I am excited to join this team and take VacationRenter to new heights globally.”
VacationRenter, founded in 2018, is based in San Francisco. Named to Similarweb’s 100 fast-growing websites of 2020, VacationRenter built immense traction throughout the pandemic. The team introduced tools and features that prioritize traveler health and safety. VacationRenter also became the first vacation rental search engine to include RVs, bringing together the largest inventory of any platform globally with over 100,000 RVs. VacationRenter continues to grow rapidly in the US and even faster overseas as the team rolls out new languages and localized options for its loyal community of global travelers.
Founded in 2016, Wilbur Labs prides itself on “turning bold ideas into market-leading companies.” The start-up identifies big customer pain points and builds businesses to solve these problems. After an idea is validated in the lab, Wilbur Labs brings in industry leaders with domain expertise to manage the company. The studio continues to provide funding, shared resources and operational support to ensure management is focused on solving problems that matter. The studio primarily builds companies from the ground up. When Wilbur Labs finds its go-to-market approach helps other teams accelerate their growth, it becomes open to investing through its venture arm. Since 2016, Wilbur Labs has built and invested in 15 companies and launches several companies every year.
With a primary focus on technology, consumer, industrial and the life science sectors, ON Partners recruits C-level and board talent for public and private companies, as well as venture capital and private equity firms. Founded in 2006, the firm’s consultants work from offices in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Dallas; Menlo Park, CA; Minneapolis; and San Francisco and New York. ON Partners was named of the one fastest growing search firms this year by Hunt Scanlon Media. The firm is now ranked as one of the 20 largest search firms in the nation.
Ms. Robey, who is based in Dallas, conducts board, C-Suite, and SVP/VP-level search assignments with a strong diversity focus in the consumer, services, digital, hospitality and retail industries. She serves private equity, public companies, and growth organizations. Previously, she was a member of the digital and consumer practices at Spencer Stuart. Ms. Robey leverages more than 20 years of consumer services and digital experience in leadership roles held at Travelocity and FedEx Kinko’s. She is a former consultant at BCG with focus in consumer and retail.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media