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Is the Expedia takeover of HomeAway going to be good or bad for vacation rental owners/managers?

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Big news!  HomeAway is now a part of the Expedia family. The official announcement by HomeAway explained that this would be a "good thing" for vacation rental owners and their guests. They anticipate more quality bookings, more travelers, peace of mind and a better value.

But there is a bigger problem here. You the vacation rental owner have to filter through more vacation rental inquires and it can be hard to manage your rentals across multiple sites. What causes the most headache for you - the book now feature or the task of going back and forth with the guests?

Furthermore, do we trust Expedia to understand the vacation rental market enough to address our needs?  Expedia knows the hotel and airfare side of the travel world.  They understand instant bookings where they can set policies for both sides - where have we seen that before (Airbnb!).  This acquisition could easily mean the locking down of guest data on HomeAway even more.

We would like to know what you think.  Is this a "good thing" or do you see more headaches, delays and hidden fees in your future?

12 Comments (add yours)

Nov 8, 2015 12:36 PM
Joined Dec, 2009 54 posts

Big fat no on that. Can't imagine why it would be good for anyone other than the people who own HA.

Randy Juneau
Nov 8, 2015 1:55 PM
Joined May, 2012 36 posts

I've been pondering this myself since I read the homeaway announcement. I currently list my properties on Expedia and they are quite a machine. Their customer service is quite excellent. The lack of calendar integration between the vacation rental industry and hotel industry is a current problem. I'm sure there will be some challenges presented to vacation rental software vendors. The hotel software industry might open up their platforms to accommodate vacation rentals. On the other hand, the 2 industries might continue to remain separate. I do believe it will open up a lot more opportunities for vacation rental owners to market their properties. I see a lot more hotel patrons wanting the convenience of a vacation rental over hotels. I don't see a lot of vacation rental patrons wanting to book hotels in lieu of a vacation rental. Most people that stay in hotels don't even know about vacation rental availability and let's face it, it's a lot more difficult to book a vacation rental than a hotel at this time.

Marina's Edge Re
Nov 8, 2015 3:26 PM
Joined Oct, 2012 206 posts

I actually think this move will be a good thing for the industry

Michelle J
Nov 8, 2015 5:40 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jan, 2011 582 posts

From a reader by email:

This is a bad thing. We the independent owners want to do things on own own. We have a passion no hotel could ever have. We want control not to be controlled

Paul W
Nov 9, 2015 2:23 PM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 832 posts

Thanks for posting this, Devin.

More exposure may be good, but most VR owners don't have an exposure problem. They have management problems with the current exposure they already have.

If you want to market to your guests or identify your repeaters or figure out which listing site is sending you better ROI, the walled-off groups won't let you do it.

They're effectively using your properties to market themselves and their product to guests, cutting your brand out of the pipeline.

Consider your Airbnb guests... Ask yourself who has a much more frequent and interactive dialog with those guests - you or Airbnb? When those guests go to repeat a vacation, who do they think to book from - you or Airbnb. They pull open their Airbnb app first, with you as a distant second.

VR owners are increasingly becoming a hidden supplier who loans their product (the vacation home) to the real VR business (Air, HA and company). It's like a lease use contract where you own property but have no idea who the customer is and have no interaction with them. Not good in my book.

Nov 9, 2015 2:51 PM
Joined May, 2012 5 posts

I am very worried about it. The acquisition announcement implied that we would be forced to use their booking site giving Expedia control over how and IF we get paid. I consider this the reason that Expedia wants HA,they want control of the money flow. I have also read horror stories about how Expedia treats their current STVR customers. In my world view Bigger is almost always Bad.

Who do you think Expedia will treat better, hotels or STVR's? Obviously the big hotel chains! And if you think the Big Hotel chains don't hate STVR's you are naive or don't have a big property near your rental(s). My properties are right next door to a large Omni Resort in San Diego County, they are active in local politics to shut down STVR's, their attorney's write threatening letters to us, they consider STVR's a competitive threat. How will Expedia balance this issue?

The ONLY possible good I can see would be if Expedia used it's $$ and influence to help fight the anti-STVR politics that is occurring around the Country.

Any suggestions on other advertising site to try?

Chip G
Nov 10, 2015 3:55 PM
Joined Dec, 2013 3 posts

Paul - I believe your comments are spot on and I agree.

I do however have a different take on exposure. I think that VR owners DO have an exposure problem....and that specific problem is HA/VRBO and now Expedia. We are at their whim exactly because we need the exposure to potential guests.....the ONLY value provided is their access to clicks (marketing).

If magically we could get the world to visit a different website full of VR's there would be no issue because we wouldn't need Expedia or VRBO or AirBnB.

In my opinion the market is ripe for a new VR owner model. One which is free to list and free to book but advertisers pay for access to OUR clients. Hmmmmm

Nov 10, 2015 4:05 PM
Joined Jan, 2014 3 posts

So we are renting our house - not some random hotel property. Not clear how we get "quality" tenants via Expedia. I hear they want 10% of the revenue. Right now i look to vrbo for simply a listing - no management.

I'm willing to listen, but it isn't clear to me what Expdedia can possibly do for their 10%. My cleaning folks are my most important people - and they don't make 10%.

I will be looking for other web sites that let me own and manage my home. But bring on your proposal, i'll listen. If they don't bring value, someone else will provide it. Computer Science alone doesn't give license for 10%.

Nov 10, 2015 4:12 PM
Joined Jan, 2014 3 posts

Relative to the questions you raised: "What causes the most headache for you - the book now feature or the task of going back and forth with the guests?"

If you take away my contact with my customers - i will leave. the book now feature is horrible for me, i hate it.

the wording here is leading the witness "back and forth"... that is an important part imho. Are you telling me a random operator on the phone will serve me better?

Nov 10, 2015 4:16 PM
Joined Jan, 2014 3 posts

craigslist ?

Nov 11, 2015 2:18 PM
Joined Dec, 2009 54 posts

InnBetween, it's a lot more than 10%. I think it's like 20% that Expedia charges. Don't know the details, but I've heard that you have to have hundreds of properties for them to offer lower rates of 12-16%. All the rest of us normals are going to get hit with 20% or more.

Kimberly S
May 18, 2016 4:47 PM
Joined May, 2016 1 post

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