HomeAway

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HomeAway.com, Inc.
Subsidiary
IndustryTravel
FoundedFebruary 2005; 15 years ago (2005-02)
FoundersBrian Sharples
Carl Shepherd
Headquarters,
Key people
John Kim (President)
Trent York (CFO)
Jeff Hurst (CCO)
Tina Weyand (CPO)
John J. Ostlund (CTO)
Steve Davis (CIO)
Jeff Mosler (CSO)
ServicesVacation rentals
Revenue$446.8 million (2014)[1]
ParentExpedia Group
Websitewww.homeaway.com

HomeAway is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 2,000,000 vacation rentals in 190 countries listed on its website.[2][3] It operates through 50 websites in 23 languages through which it offers rentals of cabins, condos, castles, villas, barns, and farmhouses.[2]

Founded in February 2005 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, the company became a publicly traded company in 2011.[4] Expedia Group acquired HomeAway on December 15, 2015. In 2019, the website was rebranded to VRBO.[5]

History[edit]

HomeAway was founded in 2004 as CEH Holdings.[6] The company acquired several websites and consolidated them into a single vacation marketplace, launching HomeAway.com in June 2006.[7]

HomeAway moved into its new global headquarters in Austin, Texas, on October 2, 2009. It was the first mixed-use project and the second company in Austin to achieve LEED Gold certification for Commercial Interior Design.[8] In 2017, it moved to a new building.[9]

In 2009, HomeAway announced it would reunite actors Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo in a new short film, Hotel Hell Vacation, and advertising campaign based on the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. The HomeAway ad represented the company’s first national advertising campaign. It debuted during the CBS television network broadcast of Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010.[10]

HomeAway raised a total of $405 million in venture-capital which was funded by venture capital firms Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Trident Capital.[11]

A summary of the company's financial information over four years:

Year Revenue Percentage Increase
2011 $230.2m -[12]
2012 $280.4m 21.8%[13]
2013 $346.5m 23.6%[14]
2014 $446.8m 28.9%[1]

A federal lawsuit accuses Austin-based vacation rental company HomeAway Inc. of engaging in “bait and switch tactics” after it rolled out new service fees for customers booking vacation rentals.

Those fees “range from 4 percent to 10 percent of the total price of the vacation rental,” according to the suit filed this week in US District Court in Austin. The suit claims the new fees are substantially increasing prices paid by consumers, dramatically changing the business model upon which HomeAway and its sister sites, such as Vrbo, were built.[15]

Acquisitions[edit]

Acquisitions made by HomeAway have included:

Date Acquisition Location Notes
2005 CyberRentals.com US
2005 GreatRentals.com US
2005 A1Vacations.com US
2005 TripHomes.com US
2005 HomeAway.co.uk United Kingdom
2005 FeWo-direkt.de Germany
2006 Vrbo[16] US Vrbo, also known as 'Vacation Rentals by Owner' and previously styled as 'VRBO', was founded in 1995 as a service for short term rental listings. It was acquired by HomeAway in 2006.[17]
2007 Abritel.fr[18] France
2007 VacationRentals.com[19] US
2007 OwnersDirect.co.uk[20] United Kingdom
2009 Homelidays.com[21] France
2010 BedandBreakfast.com[22] US
2010 AlugueTemporada.com.br[23] Brazil
2010 Instant Software [24] US
2010 Escapia[25] US
2011 RealHolidays.com.au[26] Australia
2012 Toprural.com[27] Spain
2013 Travelmob[28] Singapore This social networking site for accommodation and room rentals was founded in Singapore in 2012.[28] Receiving US$1 million in funding in 2012,[29][30][31] by late 2013 travelmob had an iOS app,[32] and a distribution agreement with Wego.com.[33] In May 2015, travelmob transitioned its brand and products to HomeAway.[34]
2013 Stayz Australia[35] Australia
2013 Bookabach.co.nz[36] New Zealand
2014 Glad to Have You, Inc.[37] US
2015 Dwellable[38] US Dwellable was a mobile app and website founded in 2012 in Seattle,[39] which had over 300,000 vacation rental listings by 2014,[40][41] and had raised $2 million in funding.[42] Originally in private ownership,[43][44] it was bought by HomeAway in 2015 for $18 million.[45][46]

Business model[edit]

Before HomeAway introduced its new optional performance-based business model in 2013, homeowners paid subscription fees which averaged out to be $442 annually, to list their own property or display their vacation rentals on the company’s sites.[47] To promote the vacation rentals, property owners and managers could purchase paid listings on one or more of the company's websites as a form of advertising to potential travelers. Paid listings appear in search results when travelers search for vacation rentals, based on their search criteria. The new performance-based model represented a second option for travelers wishing to list a home on HomeAway, who could still opt for the original annual subscription model.

In 2016, HomeAway introduced a controversial service fee to be paid by travelers booking through the HomeAway websites. The service fee currently ranges from six to twelve percent of the total amount for most reservations (excluding taxes and refundable fees), but can be above or below that rate depending on the reservation. Generally, the higher the reservation amount, the lower the percentage of service fee. [48]

The company claims the service fee for travelers covers the cost of providing 24/7 customer support, enhanced site and mobile features, plus expanded marketing efforts to generate more exposure to global audiences. Along with the introduction of the new service fee, HomeAway instituted their Book with Confidence Guarantee for travelers who opt to book and pay directly through the HomeAway platform. [49]

Also in 2016, the company eliminated its tiered subscription model, whereby owners and property managers would have to pay more for preferred placement within the search results. Now only a basic annual subscription model is offered as an alternative to the pay-per-booking option, in which owners must pay from five to ten percent of the quoted total rental fee as the cost for each booking. [50][51]

HomeAway also introduced a Professional Referral Network of 40 partner companies. The network’s members assist vacation rental owners in managing their listings, guest inquiries, and reservations, and include Evolve Vacation Rental Network, Southern California Vacation Rentals, and No Worries Vacation Rentals.

Financing[edit]

HomeAway announced in November 2006 its $160 million in financing to fund global expansion initiatives, including the acquisition of Vrbo.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner).[11] On November 11, 2008, HomeAway announced it had completed an additional $250 million equity capital raise.[52] The investment was led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) and with existing investors Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), and Redpoint Ventures.[52] In 2010, The Wall Street Journal named HomeAway one of the top 10 venture funded companies.[53]

Legal status[edit]

HomeAway has had disputes over compliance with local lodging regulations, similar to competitor Airbnb. Both joined a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, which was settled in May 2017 when the companies agreed to facilitate registration of all host listings with the city.[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "HomeAway, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results", Financial Report 2014, Retrieved April 11, 2015
  2. ^ a b "About HomeAway".
  3. ^ "HomeAway: How it Works".
  4. ^ Austin, Scott (June 28, 2011). "HomeAway IPO Prices At $27/Share; Valued At $2.2B". The Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Hawkins, Lori (May 3, 2019). "HomeAway, the world's largest vacation rental site, is rebranding itself as Vrbo". Austin American-Statesman.
  6. ^ "homeaway inc (AWAY) Details". Bloomberg L.P.
  7. ^ "Live the destination: Local company launches vacation rental Web site". American City Business Journals. June 7, 2006.
  8. ^ "HomeAway HQ nabs LEED gold rating". American City Business Journals. April 15, 2010.
  9. ^ Anderson, Will (June 23, 2017). "HomeAway's big Austin ambitions: Global HQ inside a gleaming new high-rise with room for 2,000 employees". American City Business Journals.
  10. ^ "Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo to Reprise 'Vacation' Roles". TheWrap. November 19, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Nuttall, Chris (November 11, 2008). "HomeAway makes $250m VC round splash". Financial Times.
  12. ^ "HomeAway, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and 2011 Financial Results", Financial Report 2011, Retrieved April 11, 2015
  13. ^ "HomeAway, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Financial Results", Financial Report 2012, Retrieved April 11, 2015
  14. ^ "HomeAway, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Financial Results", Financial Report 2013, Retrieved April 11, 2015
  15. ^ "New fees from Austin-based HomeAway are 'bait and switch'". The Vacation Rental Marketing Magazine. March 19, 2016.
  16. ^ Austin Business Journal."Vacation rental site lands $160M, buys competitor", Austin Business Journal November 13, 2006.
  17. ^ "HomeAway Secures Record $160 Million in Financing Vacation Rental Leader Announces Acquisition of VRBO.com" (Press release). AUSTIN, Texas: Homeaway, Inc. BUSINESSWIRE. 2006-11-13. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  18. ^ *Austin Business Journal."HomeAway buys French Web site", Austin Business Journal January 22, 2007.
  19. ^ Austin Business Journal."HomeAway continues buying spree", Austin Business Journal May 14, 2007.
  20. ^ Austin Business Journal."HomeAway continues buying streak with UK-based acquisition", Austin Business Journal October 2, 2007.
  21. ^ Austin Business Journal."HomeAway picks up Homelidays SAS of Paris", Austin Business Journal February 4, 2009.
  22. ^ Travel Weekly."HomeAway buys B&B website", Jerry Limone March 3, 2010.
  23. ^ TechCrunch."HomeAway Expands To South America With Purchase Of Brazilian Counterpart", Robin Wauters March 9, 2010.
  24. ^ ""HomeAway Acquires Largest Vacation Rental Management Software Provider—Instant Software, Inc."". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  25. ^ "Press Release - HomeAway - Escapia Acquisition - 2010". Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
  26. ^ TechCrunch."HomeAway Broadens Presence In Australia With Acquisition Of Vacation Rental Site RealHolidays", Leena Rao April 4, 2011.
  27. ^ TheNextWeb."HomeAway acquires Spain’s rural tourism site Toprural in all-cash deal", The Next Web April 2, 2012.
  28. ^ a b Ho, Victoria (July 17, 2013). "HomeAway Buys Singapore Startup Travelmob To Enter Asia-Pacific". TechCrunch.
  29. ^ Gulati, Sonam (November 28, 2012). "Accel Partners joins Jungle Ventures in seed round funding of new-generation OTA Travelmob". Techcircle.in.
  30. ^ Yap, Jacky (September 25, 2012). "Short-term rental site travelmob raises US$1M in seed funding". E27. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  31. ^ Ho, Victoria (February 27, 2013). "Travelmob Continues Push Into Asian 'Airbnb' Market". Techcrunch.
  32. ^ "travelmob launches iOS app to further expand its reach in the Asia Pacific region" (PDF). 5 December 2013.
  33. ^ "Houses, apartments, villas, even castles – Wego now offers Holiday Rentals metasearch".
  34. ^ "About travelmob/HomeAway".
  35. ^ Market Watch."HomeAway Acquires Australia's Leading Vacation Rental Group, Stayz", December 4, 2013.
  36. ^ "Company Information". HomeAway. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  37. ^ "Glad to Have You, Inc.: Private Company Information". Bloomberg L.P.
  38. ^ "HomeAway buys vacation rental startup Dwellable, plans to shutter service and move team to Austin". GeekWire. 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
  39. ^ Greenfield, Beth (15 March 2012). "Dwellable's Vacation Rental Site: Hot Travel App For The iPad 3". Forbes. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  40. ^ Cook, John (10 June 2014). "Bootstrapping vacation rentals startup Dwellable raises $2M from Seattle angels". GeekWire. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  41. ^ "Travel STARTUPS roundup - Vacatia, LocalGuiding, Dwellable, Groupize, SuggestMe, TripScanner". Phocuswire. November 1, 2013.
  42. ^ "Dwellable, World's #1 Rated Mobile App for Vacation Rentals, Raises $2 Million in Funding" (Press release). Business Wire. 10 June 2014.
  43. ^ "Dwellable, World's #1 Rated Mobile App for Vacation Rentals, Raises $2 Million in Funding" (Press release). Business Wire. June 10, 2014.
  44. ^ Vivion, Nick (9 June 2014). "Dwellable raises $2 million to expand mobile app for vacation rentals". Phocuswire.
  45. ^ COOK, JOHN (October 7, 2015). "HomeAway buys vacation rental startup Dwellable, plans to shutter service and move team to Austin". GeekWire.
  46. ^ O'Neil, Sean (November 7, 2015). "HomeAway nabbed Dwellable for $18 million". Phocuswire.
  47. ^ "Why This Could Be HomeAway's Breakout Quarter". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  48. ^ "How does the service fee work? | HomeAway Help". help.homeaway.com. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  49. ^ "Whats the Deal with HomeAways New Booking Fee". Elliott. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  50. ^ O'Neil, Sean (April 28, 2016). "HomeAway dramatically revamps subscription pricing for US owners". Phocuswire.
  51. ^ "How is the pay-per-booking fee calculated? | HomeAway Help". help.homeaway.com. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  52. ^ a b Ante, Spencer E. (November 11, 2008). "HomeAway: A Find in Online Vacation Rentals". Bloomberg News.
  53. ^ DEBAISE, Colleen; Austin, Scott (March 9, 2010). "Sizing Up Promising Young Firms". The Wall Street Journal.
  54. ^ Said, Carolyn (May 2, 2017). "Airbnb, HomeAway settle SF suit, agree to register all local hosts". San Francisco Chronicle.

External links[edit]