Friday, August 01, 2014

Homeaway and 1 Million listings

Homeaway recently announced that it now has more than 1 million vacation rental listings! Furthermore, 320 thousand of these are e-commerce enabled, up 50% from a year ago. This is clearly good news for Homeaway, but is it good news for those who list their property on Homeaway sites?

First of all, it's important to note that Homeaway owns many sites and not just the flagship Homeaway branded site. Many people will be aware that it owns sites such as VRBO, Cyberrentals and Vacationrentals. However, over the last few years, Homeaway ( i.e. the WVR Group) has been acquiring more and more vacation rental sites. You can find a list of sites owned by Homeaway on COHR.

Because Homeaway owns so many sites, there may be some double-counting (e.g. if an owner lists separately on say, and VRBO), but even allowing for this, it's clear that Homeaway has a huge number of properties listed.

Some of the benefits of this are obvious. For example, Homeaway can invest in marketing to attract prospective renters, can invest in adding new features/capability and spread the cost over a much larger base. (Incidentally, Homeaway have just hired a new Chief Marketing Officer and plan to ramp up marketing plans, particularly in Europe.)

On the flip side, the primary concern of an owner would be that their particular property will get lost among all the other properties listed. This can be particularly true if your property is in a very popular area, where is may even make sense to pay for a premium listing in order to get noticed.

There are other things that can be done (e.g. the techniques on Improve Your Ranking on VRBO will work on many Homeaway sites) but at the end of the day, you may want to also list on some specialist non-Homeaway sites to balance things out.

However, (approximately) 1 million owners can't be wrong, so despite the concerns, for most of us, it makes sense to have a listing as part of the Homeaway network.

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