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HomeAway Buys Mobile Vacation Rental Website Dwellable – What Can We Learn?

HomeAway Buys Mobile Vacation Rental Website / App : Dwellable – Why?

So in today’s vacation rental news, the big giant buys out another smaller company.

HomeAway recently acquired Dwellable, yet another vacation rental company to add to their assets.

You may be familiar with Dwellable- the vacation rental search engine, marketplace
and #1 vacation rental app.

If you’re not, it’s a platform specifically designed for an improved mobile experience for travelers looking to rent vacation homes.

In an article by James Brooks, HomeAway said that they saw a record level of visits on smartphone, and wanted to increase investment to improve the mobile experience for travelers and suppliers.

But why Dwellable?

It’s simple. Dwellable “went where they ain’t.”

They focused on an area where others weren’t touching, and there were only two other apps in that market- AirBnB and HomeAway.

What made Dwellable stand out from those two was the revamping of their app this past April. They launched a unique mobile user experience of sliding instead of scrolling through the smartphone.

Since HomeAway was lacking conversion in their mobile app, they saw a huge opportunity with acquiring Dwellable.

The amount of the Dwellable acquisition remains undisclosed, but I imagine it was a considerable amount of money since Dwellable is, in essence, disappearing from the vacation rental marketplace.

How bittersweet.

What once was a small Seattle start-up in 2011 has now sold its mobile app to the biggest company in the vacation rental business.

Although I’m not so happy about Dwellable being swallowed up by the HomeAway app, it is an example of how great things start out small.

Many vacation rental companies’ start and structure their businesses with the hopes that they get bought out, and for Dwellable to attract the eye of HomeAway speaks volumes about their innovation.

The Dwellable story should remind us of the tremendous opportunity that is still out there for everyone, even the little guys, if you work harder and smarter than the others.

Kirby Winfield, Dwellable’s CEO, says you should “pick a place where you can make a splash.”
And he’s absolutely right.

An expert in mobile website design, Winfield had some really great things to say about one of the sites Villa Marketers created for a client.

“Big professional pictures, responsive design, elegant positioning: This is what works… We all make more money when the user experience is easy and fun!”

Kirby Winfield said it’s amazing how few companies do this in a recent interview with Tnooz.

It’s flattering to receive such a website review from an individual like Winfield, who says to always keep mobile in mind.

You should design a vacation rental website with a “mobile first” mentality, instead of building a desktop version of a vacation rental website, then trying to squeeze that desktop design into a mobile device.

Since mobile is now king, everyone needs to make mobile a top priority for their vacation rental website.

Is your website mobile friendly? Yes? Well that’s not enough. It’s not about having a mobile site, but rather, a site designed for mobile and mobile conversion if that makes sense.

Make it fast, beautiful and reliable, as Winfield would say.

Share your thoughts.

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