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Michelle Acquavella. (Sea to Sky Rentals Photo)

Vacasa today announced that it will acquire Sea to Sky Rentals, a Seattle-based vacation rental operator.

Founded in 2003 by Michelle Acquavella, Sea to Sky Rentals manages 85 properties in Seattle and the North Cascades. Those vacation homes will now be managed by Vacasa.

Acquavella is well-known in the short-term rental industry, having served on the national board of directors for Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA), and helping launch both the Northwest Vacation Rental Professionals and Seattle’s Short-Term Rental Alliance.

She’ll step away from the working world to spend more time with her family post-acquisition. Her strategic director, Heidi Stuber, will focus on running for Seattle City Council.

“Growing the organization has been one of my greatest achievements to date. We’re now at an inflection point with abundant market opportunity and potential for further growth ahead of us,” Acquavella said in a statement. “The time was right to pass the torch to a global company that places high importance on local operations.”

Acquavella claims to have the second-ever Seattle listing on VRBO and describes herself as a “rental rights advocate.”

In 2017, Seattle City Council passed a new law that limits short-term rental operators on platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO to two units.

Portland, Ore.-based Vacasa, meanwhile, is an industry juggernaut that continues to grow. Now the largest vacation rental company in North America, Vacasa manages more than 13,000 homes around the world and employs more than 3,300 people.

Vacasa is similar to giants such as Airbnb and HomeAway, but has a few key differences. It is a “full-service property management company,” helping homeowners manage the entire booking process from start-to-finish. The company employs thousands of people across its markets for on-the-ground “field-based roles” — housekeepers, reservations agents, local managers, etc.

Vacasa bootstrapped for its first six years before raising more than $150 million in the past two years. It is No. 2 on the GeekWire 200, our list of top-ranked Pacific Northwest startups.

The company recently expanded with a new apartment leasing offering and added former OpenTable CEO Matt Roberts to its board.

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