LeisureLink
8 months ago
 

LeisureLink shuts down [UPDATED]

Tech provider LeisureLink has been telling some of its customers that it has suspended accepting new reservations or modifying existing reservations via the travel reservations system it provides property managers, hotels, and vacation rentals.

UPDATE: 5pm ET: Today, in a letter sent to clients and first reported by VRM Intel, the company said it is shutting up shop.

“While LeisureLink attracted considerable interest from many strategic buyers and investors, management has determined that none of these parties are likely to complete a transaction before late Q4 of 2016.

This timing and the continuing cash needs of the Company has created a liquidity deficit which prevents the Company from continuing its daily operations….

At this time, all employees of LeisureLink are being terminated and the platform turned off”

(See reader comment, below, for the full letter.) LeisureLink’s closure strands several resort/hotel type managers as well as traditional vacation rental managers.

Back to our original story:

Earlier this year, the company said it had received a $17 million round of funding, with investors Clearstone Ventures, Kinderhook Industries and Escalate Capital Partners participating. Since its founding in 2007, it has raised more than $34 million.

On Friday, SoCal Tech reported that the company has been sending email messages to clients that say:

“We’ve been working aggressively to complete a corporate transaction. Regardless of what you may have heard we are still in that process and anticipate a positive outcome.”

Tnooz’s voice and email messages to top-level executives this morning have not been returned, as of this afternoon. The only executive we could reach on the phone has declined to comment.

In August, Utah-based LeisureLink sold several of its consumer-facing websites to Aspen-based Ski.com.

Earlier this year, an official had told Tnooz that the company was working on releasing new, public APIs for distributors and suppliers. The goal was to enable LeisureLink rates and inventory to be passed over to Airbnb, HomeAway’s Escapia software, and Seekda’s Regatta booking engine.

In 2014, LeisureLink was bought by VacationRoost, which changed its group name to LeisureLink.

LeisureLink’s online chat system for customer service was closed today. When Tnooz contacted an account manager by phone, he was telling customers that all he could say was that “the company is going through a corporate transaction and they are hoping to get the business details resolved quickly.”

Apparently any such potential deal fell through.

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.

 

Comments

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  1. juan barrios

    I made a reservation last year 2016 around June, so I had to pay directly to the resort since LeisureLink closed

    Today is April the 8th and my bank decline the refund on my credit card because LL went to bankruptcy, what else can I do or whom do I need to talk, I was charged USD2,093.89

     
  2. Sue Silver

    I booked a home in Lahaina back in July 2016 for a week in June 2017. Gave leisurelink 50% deposit. I was never contacted or notified of their bk until last week receiving an email from RealVoice that they bought it. They said they would honor my deposit and I would be responsible for balance. My concern is I no longer can find the rental property on any rental websites even Hawaiian beach rental which supposedly RealVoice bought from leisurelink. How can I find out if this is legitimate before I hand over thousands of dollars and get to Maui without a home to stay.
    Thanks for any advice

     
    • Rhonda

      Hi Sue I feel your pain. I’m still waiting to see if we’ll be receiving our $1000. deposit from our August 2016 stay. Same place your headed. I guess I should be grateful the house was really there! It was my fear the entire time as we drove up the road & this was BEFORE we were swindled. We didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes until we returned from your trip & tried to get our security deposit back. We noticed the name of the Company seemed to change names a few times but we were assured they were one in the same. VERY misleading. Not sure I’ll book this way again. I hope you get what you pay for.

       
      • Mike Harrison

        Found out the guy to,contact is named Erik Hovanec and this is a California company..or was.

         
        • paul tateo

          MIke
          how do we reach eric hovanec? or the Assignee in charge of the liquidation? any idea which court in CA has jurisdiction? I see very little on internet about this wrap up and that puzzles me.

           
    • Jodi Cleer

      Sue, I am just now seeing this posting, but if you still have questions about RealVoice I would be happy to answer them. Please check out this latest press release. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/realvoice-acquires-hawaiian-beach-rentals-mexican-destinations-and-crm-software-300416380.html

       
  3. Jeffery Hill

    I am trying to figure out if this fall under Utah or California. The address was Utah. I just left a message with the Atty General’s office. I believe that under the law notices were suppose to have been sent to all creditors within 30 days of the closure which I believe was Sept 23rd. So it’s possible that those have been sent but I have not received anything yet.

    In the long run, I’m sure no one will see any money. This is essentially a bankruptcy and I’m sure the assets will not cover what it owed. If anything is paid out it will be pennies on the dollar.

    If anyone knows anything else, please post

     
    • Cote Property Management

      I did get a letter from the Utah Atty General’s office, they said it falls under California law. They suggested contacting an attorney there.

       
    • Geri Hauck

      We have yet to receive any forms or paperwork as stipulated in their notice of closure.

       
  4. Former LL Client

    Odd how Leisure Link still has its ties to Homeaway and VRBO has anyone heard back from the Utah attorneys office?

     
    • Cote Property Management

      I heard back from the Utah Attorney Generals office, they said to file a complaint with California, which I did. They also suggested contacting an attorney. I think there needs to be a class action suit. I know there are places that suffered must larger losses then me and wonder if any of them have started anything?

       
      • paul tateo

        Cote
        any response from CA about this closing with Leisurelink? anyone start any legal action yet? what I think happened is the venture capital in the firm sold the sites to Ski.com and pulled as much of its investment back as it could recover, including prepaid reservation rents from companies and people, took the funds and stranded the company.

         
  5. Peter in Colorado

    Every vacation rental manager should know that Advance Deposits paid by guests must be kept in separate bank accounts until those funds are earned. How was LL able to bypass this basic obligation and use Advance Deposit payments to fund their operations without committing fraud? If fraud has been committed, who is being held culpable? I would like to be able to tell my staff and my clients (who are all losing money on this!) that someone is being held to account for this fiasco!

     
    • Cote Property Management

      So, since there are so many of us who have lost substantial funds due to the mismanagement of Leisure Link, aren’t there legal steps that can be taken? I have sent a message to the Attorney General’s office in California and Utah but wonder what we can do as a group.
      Perhaps if everyone sends a complaint to the Utah Attorney Generals office, it’s online, easy to fill out, maybe someone will look at the seriousness of this issue.

       
  6. Peter Burns

    Our company is in the last minute discounts for luxury vacation villa properties. We recently started a financing arm of our company, http://www.hlvillas.com/financing/, that may be helpful to those Property Management Companies suffering because of lost revenue due to Leisurelink’s bk. We offer working capital loans and additional debt products that are from non-bank sources. Let us know if we can assist.

     
  7. Rhonda Vinje

    I’m sorry for those that have lost their jobs over this fiasco, however you can find work again. How does one go about getting their money refunded? Who can we contact? Shame on those that robbed us of our hard earned money.That was my 1st vacation in FORTY YEARS!! I can only hope that Karma bites you in the A$$!

     
    • Matthew Gurley

      Hey Rhonda,

      If you file a chargeback on your credit card it should be refunded by the credit card company.

       
      • Rhonda Vinje

        Hey there…. That’s a negative, we tried that, Chase declined it. But thank you for responding. We paid in good faith & in full using our debit card. I should clarify, we got our vacation, but not our security deposit back. I was thankful the house existed & the key worked in the door knowing now what was going on behind-the-scenes! I will be VERY Leary next time around. Who can you trust today, there’s a scammer on every corner.

         
  8. Kristen Cherry

    The difficult part of the merchant of record solution is no OTA has a great system for managing payment or declined cards, which for some of the OTA channels can be a significant percentage, add in the process of making changes and modifications to existing reservations and the business of “handing this over” becomes the easy and necessary solution. Nobody could have foreseen this ending….the theory and vision were there…the execution fell flat. Property managers already have 10 jobs from managing homeowner expectations, wowing guests, maintenance -you name it. Managing the OTA channels from allotment, content, pricing, payments, and promos is just to daunting and unrealistic. Other intermediaries will gain market share – but established infrastructure will be critical.

     
  9. Displaced Worker from LL

    Please forgive me as I shamelessly use this platform to solicit employment. Desperate times call for desperate measures! I am among the many blindsided employees of LeisureLink who were left jobless.

    Are any of you competitors hiring?

    I was with Hawaiian Beach Rentals before VacationRoost bought them out, then worked with VacationRoost prior to their acquisition of LeisureLink, finally settling in a comfortable position with LeisureLink. Therefore, I have experience in many different sectors of the business.

    I worked remotely for my entire time with the company- over 5 years in total. I am located in Southern California (Inland Empire).

    I see that many of you are outside the US. Maybe a remote US employee is just what you need! 😉
    However, I have come to terms with the unlikelihood of finding another remote position, so hopefully some of you are local enough to utilize my eagerness to work with you.

    If at all possible, I would love to stay within the same (or similar) industry.

    Thanks for your consideration.

     
  10. Richard Vaughton

    I have to follow up on Alex’s comment here and is a common discussion point amongst managers and is well placed. Offering up full cash management to a third party is a risky situation. Managers are responsible to owners and this third party cash managament can cascade problems significantly. Look at Vacasol another “mid agent” sitting between contratctors, self marketing and creative channel distribution, now in bankcruptcy procedings and with clients possibly out of pocket.

    Any technology partner should be that, a conduit to booking success, with a means of transacting money seamlessly through secure, ring fenced bank accounts. Even UK banks will only secure £75K, so collect direct and manage efficiently.

    Its also not just the question of the being way out of pocket, its the lack of dynamic access to OTA’s on which many now rely.

    As for the $17m or $34m of however much was involved, it would be interesting to see the full story at some point..

     
  11. Leisurelink Employee

    Alex if Leisurelink posed such a credit risk why did you try to buy them?

     
    • Alex Aydin

      I think any company’s greatest assets is their employees. Leisurelink had very good, hard working and dedicated staff. It is a shame that they ended up in this situation.

       
      • Former LL Employee

        It is a shame @AlexAydin. We busted our humps and it’s sad and disappointing that it ended like this. No severance either unfortunately. I don’t hold any grudges though. I’m grateful for the opportunity and the experience.

        Any former competitors out there that are looking to hire, I’d love to send you my resume! I have 3+ years experience working for an Online Travel Distributor as an Account Support Specialist troubleshooting software and listing issues for out clients. I would be a very worthy addition to your team
        !

         
  12. Alex Aydin

    Lesson to be learned from Leisurelink
     
    With the situation that former LeisureLink clinets and suppliers find themselves in, it can be a frightening time for property managers. We are hoping that all LeisureLink suppliers receive some, if not all, of the funds that are still owed to them. If, and when, suppliers receive their funds, they are still dealt with the daunting task of searching for another channel manager while the risk of another LeisureLink situation looms in their mind.

    To avert another LeisureLink situation, property managers must first understand why the situation occurred in the first place. The epicenter of the LeisureLink failure revolved around credit risk and business continuity. Credit risk was due to the model LeisureLink used where they operated as Merchant of Record. In that model, LeisureLink collected the funds given from guests and OTAs and would then transfer the funds owed to the supplier typically after guest departure from the property. This is where the property management risk comes into play. If the channel manager, as the Merchant of Record fails, then the supplier runs the risk of not getting paid.

    To avoid this as a supplier of properties, choose a channel manager that allows the property manager to act as Merchant of Record. This will allow property managers to receive payments directly from guests or OTAs. As Merchant of Record, property manager eliminates any possibility of credit risk on behalf of the channel manager.

     
  13. Steve Sherlock

    @Sean – perhaps Tnooz can discuss this internally, though for those folks making pretty serious accusations and who aren’t prepared to put their name to the accusation, then perhaps those comments should be removed. For all you know those making the accusations are competitors of those they accuse. Bit of a sordid affair all round.

     
  14. Matthew Gurley

    This is completely incorrect. I would truly appreciate it if you would stop trolling our company online. This is completely unprofessional and considered defamation.

    BookingPal is a separate entity and competitor of LeisureLink. If you took 20 minutes with me to look at our platform you would realize it’s completely different.

    Contact me for more details.

     
  15. BookingPAL is not your pal

    All the way at the top, the former President of Leisurelink, Richard Barajas, is now an adviser for BookingPal. I dont believe I would want anyone that helped steer a company into despair advising me on a damn thing. whether he was a current executive or not is irrelevant. A company doesn’t go down in five minutes…its an evolution of piss poor decision making and that very well goes back to the tenure of Richard Barajas and many other idiotic people. He was the President in December 2013

     
    • Matthew Gurley

      Again. Defamation and incorrect. I advice Tnooz admins to please remove this user from your pages.

      Our board of directors can be found directly on our website. 1 member used to work with LeisureLink. We are an American built company and only 3 years old in the space, and completely different from LeisureLink.

      Do some research. Our integrations are different, products are different, channel support is different. BookingPal only supports a fraction of channels LeisureLink did. If this was remotely true we would have the exact same connections right?

      Please act professional and join us to help LeisureLink users regain access to distribution in a way where they cannot possibly lose money. A key difference between us and Leisurelink is the ability to allow the PM to be merchant of record (something LeisureLink tried and failed to repeat consistently). This way a PM can use us, remain merchant of record, and not have the chance to lose funds in a situation like LeisureLink’s ever again.

       
    • Richard Barajas

      I hesitate to respond to a nameless, non-specific post but I feel compelled to do so until Tnooz recognizes this as defamation and a defenseless position that should be removed. The most important things I’d like to communicate are 1) I’m saddened to see this outcome for LeisureLink. All the employees, including myself, worked hard and did our best for our customers and our company. 2) BookingPal is a top-notch, professional organization with great technology and people. They have built a solid integrated infrastructure from day 1 targeted to serve the Vacation Rental marketplace. I encourage you to contact them and decide for yourself.

       
      • Erica

        We are customers of a property that got screwed over by Leisure Link and guess what? When we arrived to the property they made us pay twice for the room we had already paid for in full, because Leisure Link hadn’t paid them. So guess who really got screwed here? Me the guest and you know what? $500 extra is a lot to me whereas I’m guessing it’s nothing to you Richard Barajas. So now we have paid twice for a room because you and your company. I plan to contact news agencies in Colorado to get the word out about your sham-full business practices.

         
      • martin alletson

        Dear Sir. I realize no one ever wants to go out of business unless there is no other way. We are a small independent hotel 128 rooms and are owed about $40,000. from LL as I have no way of knowing the companies debt, would you be kind enough to just tell me what if any chance we have of collecting that monies owed.

         
  16. Eric fitzgerald

    I have worked for this company for 2 years, I have 2 months they have not paid me for, any idea how I can collect what is owed to me, thank you

     
    • Matthew Gurley

      Hey Eric,

      Feel free to email me. I can loop you in with Expedia and AirBnB. If there are any funds that they were still holding and had not sent to leisurelink already, they can send the funds directly to you.

       
  17. Former LL Employee

    I was with LeisureLink for 3+ years and I’m disappointed that it ended like this. How did we come to this point? I believe we should’ve put more energy, focus, and capital on our Technology instead of going out and signing up new clients first and foremost, which I believe caused issues with scalability and ultimately led to our downfall.

    Any contemporaries out there hiring? I’m located in Los Angeles, CA.

     
  18. Wendy

    And where does this leave us, the individuals that booked and paid thru .com sites, who have upcoming reservations but the hotel has not received payment (and probably won’t receive)

     
  19. Matthew Gurley

    We are very sad to see LeisureLink go and to see the effect it has had on property managers in our industry. BookingPal is the leading platform the industry, allowing you to reach these OTA’s with a full integration and be merchant of record. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. We are here to help you through a smooth transition.

     
  20. Sean Raftree

    We are all shocked with this news and have working diligently to transition LeisureLink clients to RedAwnings’ industry leading platform. We also have been working closely with the OTAs to re-process existing reservations through RedAwning connectivity. We’re here to help!

    For more info go to https://www.redawning.com/content/fast-connectivity-account-transitioning

     
  21. Eric Mason

    For those suppliers or guests that are owed funds, contact the credit card companies and seek a solution from them. I am aware of another sales organization/channel that went of out business who also owed their suppliers thousands, and I believe the credit card companies were able to help to some degree. Also going forward look hard at who is merchant of record, are there options or structures to help avoid this in the future.

     
  22. Cote Property Management

    This is the address I was given to send the invoice to Leisure Link, not sure what it will do but at least it’s what they recommend.

    Leisure Link (assignment for the benefit of creditors), LLC
    P.O. Box 391600
    Mountain View, CA 94039-1600
    650-412-2521 Fax

    How about filing with the state attorney’s office? Get them involved? We are out around $35,000. Some are worse, but none of us can afford these losses. What can we do?

     
    • Former LL Client

      As a Former LL client were owed around $110k in past reservations the ota’s booking.com and expedia market managers and we deal with multiple managers have been wonderful in helping us get through this assisting with future bookings LL denied all rumors of closing their doors we even chased them for money owed mulitple times great concept poor execution

       
  23. JEFFREY MESSUD

    It is a sad news for the industry! Please take a moment to look at http://www.xotelia.com this can maybe help for your vacation rental business. As well we are hiring great people, please feel free to send your CVs.

     
  24. Steve Sherlock

    I mean…if you do the wrong thing driving a car, you can end up in court or jail for that matter. But you can screw people out of literally thousands and thousands of dollars as a business person, and literally walk off scot-free. Go figure!

    I think laws should change whereby c-suite and director roles have some basic legal accountability, and maybe then they’d give their strategies and execution a bit more thought!!?

     
  25. Colorado PM

    This is so unfortunate but you wonder how a Harvard MBA and a board of directors that include executives from publicly traded companies waste $30+ millions. LeisureLink was known for big parties at MTS, expensive dinners and over promising. Some account managers were great and feel bad for them. They owe us $200K so many will be unemployed before ski season thanks to an inept management team and board members.

     
  26. Julie Hightower

    They haven’t paid our hotel for people who stayed in June, July, August & September. In speaking with Expedia today, they actually invoiced them for all reservation up to and including September 24th. You can’t invoice Expedia until the day of the reservation. So just before they close, they decided to screw us one last time. They currently owe $65,000. We have 45 reservations still on the books for the next six weeks, unfortunately if Expedia can not assure us payment for these, we will be forced to cancel them.

     
    • Alex Aydin

      There are few options available if you are available to chat we can go over them.

       
    • Eric Mason

      Give me a buzz for possible solutions.

       
    • Former LL Client

      Julie we have 90 upcoming bookings we have also put it back on the ota’s to pay or we cancel them LL billed all booking.com credit cards for us Expedia thank God is paying us LL owes us money from 2015 always the excuse our system doesnt go back that far or some other lame excuse this has put my company in a bad situation so not only jobs were lost at LL management company employees could to

       
  27. Cote Property Management

    I have been using Leisure Link for 8 years and I found out about this problem by accident when I called my account manager last Wednesday. Obviously we are out quite a bit of money also. So for those of us in the hotel business with large sums of money owed by Leisure Link for past reservations what is our recourse? Any talk of a class action lawsuit? I have filed my invoice for “assignment of creditors” but being a small fish in a big pond I am not sure that will make any difference.

     
    • Julie Hightower

      How did you get the paperwork for the “Assignment of Creditors? We didn’t even get the letter that is posted here.

       
      • Evie

        Questions or concerns may be directed to the following:

        LeisureLink (assignment for the benefit of creditors), LLC
        P.O. Box 391600
        Mountain View, CA 94039-1600

         
  28. Alex Aydin

    Here at BookingPal we have had several of the Leisurelink Account Managers that have joined us and they have been working very closely with their property managers affected to find resolution on existing bookings from various channels and also to get them up and running distributing again with their key level and rep level inventory. We are available to support all distribution and revenue management of LL clients.

     
    • Former LL Client

      No way my company will have anything to do with anyone from LL their employees are calling us daily offering a new platform they are building like we would trust them

       
      • Matthew Gurley

        As long as you are merchant of record you are okay. We brought 3 great employee assets from the LL team onboard that were unfortunately effected by decisions our of their hands. With our product, you are receiving and accepting credit cards, not us or a third party. This means you have no credit risk in using us.

        I’d be happy to discuss further.

         
  29. Eric Mason

    Yes, this is disheartening to hear and unfortunately, this will leave some consumers and suppliers in a very difficult situation. One suggestion for consumers caught up in this is to reach out ASAP to your credit card company to see if there is any relief they can extend. We’ve been talking a lot about this on Vacation Rental Professionals, a Linkedin Group (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/69889) as well. There will be other suggestions on how to possibly handle this and other solutions that can be leveraged in light of this newly created void.

     
  30. VaycayHero

    Sad to see the news of LeisureLink ceasing its operations and we wish nothing but the best to them.

    At VaycayHero, we have successfully transitioned many vacation rental property managers from LeisureLink, and we are actively working to do the same for property managers who are caught in this crossfire.

     
  31. Rhonda Vinje

    Great! They have $1000. of my security depsoit

     
  32. Stupid Property Manager

    I’d really like to know what happened to the $17 million. It was not distributed to the suppliers – we’re a property manager and they still owe us thousands for winter bookings. Julian strung us along saying it was just due to disorganization because they grew so fast or that they were waiting for payment from Expedia or booking.com. I think Julian has a lot of explaining to do to his employees and suppliers. He’s probably walking away with millions and the rest of us are being screwed. I guess that’s what a Harvard MBA does for you.

     
    • Carl

      They screwed us too! We are a property manager, small company, they owe us $9000. Very painful!

       
      • Mike (wife was employee)

        My guess would be that $17 million was a theoretical amount to be disbursed over time if goals and milestones were met. Putting money into LL was a risky idea and they didn’t get all that money in a lump sum. I know they were hurting to operating money for a while even after securing that money.

         
  33. Adam Harris

    Sad news. If any of their team needs a new home we are always hiring @ Cloudbeds

     
  34. Tim Choate

    I was very sad to hear about the downfall of LeisureLink. They had strong people and I know worked hard to serve their clients well. RedAwning has opened our doors to help clients quickly transition and maintain their distribution and we are happy to see our industry leading position in vacation rental reservations and channel management expand, while we’d rather see it happen another way.

     
  35. Jane Doe

    Just received this from them:

    Dear Valued Partner,
    LeisureLink has been helping suppliers of vacation rentals generate bookings through third party channels for over nine years, and has experienced accelerated growth for the past several quarters. Supporting this growth and building the technology solutions for the industry has been a capital intensive process. LeisureLink is privately-owned and has historically met these capital needs with investments from its owners. For the last 12 months, LeisureLink has been working with an investment bank to raise additional equity capital to fund the Company’s growth for the future. The Company expected this process would yield an infusion of needed capital this summer.
    While LeisureLink attracted considerable interest from many strategic buyers and investors, management has determined that none of these parties are likely to complete a transaction before late Q4 of 2016. This timing and the continuing cash needs of the Company has created a liquidity deficit which prevents the Company from continuing its daily operations. As a result, we have no choice but to stop operations and not process any new bookings as of September 27, 2016. At this time, all employees of LeisureLink are being terminated and the platform turned off.
    LeisureLink values the working relationships built over these last 9 years and appreciates the loyalty of its employees, vendors, customers and partners and is trying to cease operations as smoothly and orderly as possible, given the circumstances.
    To that end, the Company has agreed to undertake an Assignment for Benefit of Creditors (“Assignment”), which is a process designed to manage an orderly disposition of the Company’s assets and to distribute those proceeds to creditors according to their legal rights and priorities. As required by law, the Assignee will be mailing notices of the Assignment to all creditors in the next 30 days, providing further information about the Assignment and providing creditors with a proof of claim form through which creditors can file a claim for any obligations due.

     
 
 

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