Here are a few of the frequently asked questions we receive regarding our sites and services.
What was the idea behind HomeAway?
Over the years, Brian Sharples and his family rented a variety of ski and beach homes, enjoying the added space, availability of a kitchen and flexibility to invite others on vacation. But searching for vacation rentals, Brian found, was no easy task because he had to search many regional websites to find the perfect property. It was out of this frustration that the idea for HomeAway was born.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, Sharples realized that by consolidating the leading vacation rental sites, which had grown extraordinarily due to the Internet, he could create the largest online marketplace for vacation homes and revolutionize a highly-profitable segment of online travel. On June 6, 2006, Sharples' plan to create a more efficient and customer-friendly way to locate a property came to life. HomeAway.com launched with more than 60,000 global property listings. The site not only eliminated the need for travelers to search many, often regional, sites to find and compare the perfect rental, but it also provided homeowners a more efficient marketing channel to advertise their properties. Since that time, we have grown significantly, adding vacation rental websites in several countries around the world.
Which sites does HomeAway, Inc. own?
The HomeAway family of sites includes HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, VacationRentals.com, CyberRentals.com, and GreatRentals.com in the U.S., HomeAway.co.uk and OwnersDirect.com in the U.K., FeWo-direkt.de in Germany, Homelidays.com, Abritel.fr in France, BedandBreakfast.com and AlgueTemporada.br in Brazil. The company also recently launched translated sites in seven additional European countries.
Why should I list with the HomeAway sites?
According to the PhoCusWright's Vacation Rental Marketplace: Poised for Change study, the U.S. HomeAway sites are considered the most trusted and visited vacation rental sites in the country. At HomeAway, we understand that offering the best user experience for travelers (your prospective renters), will drive the success of your rental businesses. For this reason, we offer tools such as the HomeAway Carefree Rental Guarantee, HomeAway Connect Calendar, and Reviews in order to attract vacationers to the HomeAway sites. If that doesn't convince you, the study above also found that owners who list with our sites yield more online bookings and revenue. The proof's in the numbers!
HomeAway, Inc. also strives to enrich the vacation rental industry through owner education and outreach. That's why we created the Owner Community from HomeAway, the most comprehensive resource for second and vacation rental homes online. The site offers hundreds of articles, a weekly podcast hosted by bestselling author Christine Karpinski, downloadable webinars, and sample contracts and checklists. In addition to our online efforts, HomeAway also sponsors numerous live events and seminars each year for vacation homeowners in cities across the U.S.
Why should I list on multiple HomeAway sites?
While we're always working hard to improve our sites, homeowners who list with VRBO.com, for example, will not automatically have a listing on HomeAway.com or VacationRentals.com. Keep in mind, because all travelers (think "consumers") are different, and because the web is saturated with multiple advertising channels, we recommend listing your property with 3-5 sites to maximize your exposure and capture different types of "shoppers." It might seem like a lot up front, but you'll easily make the money back as the bookings come rolling in.
Is there a discount for listing on multiple sites?
We will be offering a bundled rate for listings on all of the U.S. sites in the future. This will allow you to purchase all the listings you want at one time, with one payment.
If HomeAway owns all these sites, why do I have to update them separately?
Because each of the HomeAway sites was built by a variety of developers at different times, each one functions differently. We know that our owners would love to be able to update all of their listings from one place, so we are diligently working on this functionality and hope to be able to offer it in the near future.
What is the difference between all the sites?
- HomeAway.com is the largest vacation rental site in the U.S., featuring aggregated properties from CyberRentals.com, GreatRentals.com, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk, FeWo-direkt.de, and HomeAway for Property Managers (formerly TripHomes.com)
- VRBO.com VRBO was founded by vacation rental owners who self-manage their second homes. VRBO provides an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties and make it easy for travelers to search hundreds of thousands of rentals in over 100 countries worldwide.
- VacationRentals.com became part the HomeAway family in May 2007. VacationRentals.com is the leading online destination for vacation rental deals, as many property owners take advantage of the free opportunity to offer discounted rates, last-minute deals, and special offers to highlight their listings.
- Holiday-Rentals.co.uk is the top ranked vacation rental site in the United Kingdom and has a similar look and feel to HomeAway.com
- OwnersDirect.co.uk, ranked second in the U.K., is most similar to VRBO.com
- Homelidays.com is the to- ranked vacation rental site in France, with a broad E.U. focus and strong presence in Italy, Portugal, Spain and France
- Abritel.fr is the second-ranked listing site in France
- FeWo-direkt.de is the top-ranked vacation rental site in Germany