Hospitality Expert Reveals What's Coming After HomeAway Buyout | Villa Marketers

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Hospitality Expert Reveals What’s Coming After HomeAway Buyout

This week I had the great pleasure of interviewing a business expert and strategist who has experience not only in vacation rentals, but in hotels and hospitality as well. We’ve got the perfect trifecta here!

Eric Mason has worked for some of the largest and most recognized hotel brands like the Marriott and Wyndham, and I thought if anyone could help us understand the hotelifying of vacation rentals and what is about to happen in the vacation rental industry especially with HomeAway being acquired by Expedia, he was the one to talk to.

Eric and I had an interesting conversation about the HomeAway buy-out and what’s to come in the near future for the vacation rental industry. Eric suggested that we use Expedia, HomeAway and other distribution channels for what they’re there for. He said it is then our responsibility to turn that traveler into future bookings.

He warned us all that we should not make the same mistake hotels did and rely on these channels solely for bookings.

Find the Achilles Heel

Eric explained that there will be a loss of the “consumer connection” in the “Expedia Experience.”

Travel giants like Expedia have an achilles heel, and we should take advantage of that.

This is especially important for us to grab onto because when Eric Mason conducted the largest study in the vacation rental industry, he found that local expertise is an important component for the buying experience, and this is where the Expedia Experience falls short.

Find your competition’s Achilles heel and exploit it to your benefit.

One valuable tip I can share with you is…when you desperately need to compete with the competition, ask yourself some questions. What important things could they be doing better? What are their weaknesses? Once you’ve found these answers, you now have a clear target and something to aim your darts at.

Find out what your competition is doing wrong, and do it right! Be vocal about their weaknesses to your potential guests and clearly explain to them how your brand solves those problems for them, whether it’s a lack of one on one communication, customer service or local expertise.  Let them know why you’re better and you’ll level the playing field.

Track your competition 

In the interview, Eric shared that he asked 75 to 90 people if they are aware of who their competition is and if they track them, and only two people raised their hand. Two people!

Eric suggests that we all track our competition. He said larger players use this practice everyday!

Harness the power of social media

We also talked about social media, and Eric spoke on what the real value of social media is and how to harness it for our vacation rental businesses.  

He also discussed certain tools of the trade and how these tools help you to make incremental increases in income. These data-driven tools can also help you be more competitive in the market.

Of course I asked Eric my famous question “What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?”

He elaborates on that in the video, so be sure to watch it, ‘like’ it, and share on social media with other owners and managers.

Eric also predicts what changes are coming in 2016  for owners and managers. 

Here are some of his interesting quotes-

“Global brands are coming, no doubt about it”.

“Big data is coming in a big way…more brands coming into space and certainly more tools. Make sure you’re aware of what’s happening. Use tools to make your business more competitive.”

Competition is coming like we’ve never seen before.”

You’ll have to watch the interview to catch the rest!

If your vacation rental is struggling or if you just need some help or maybe you just have a question please contact me. I’ll be glad to help you.

Jay William – CEO

1800 856 8641


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  • Is this another weakness? Since travelers and owners/managers will be charged fees for renting a property, is it possible that owners can offer vacation rentals for less than these large listing sites and the market takes a swing toward owner direct bookings from travelers looking to cut the costs of bookings?

    • Joanna Robertson

      A VRBO a real “Vacation Rentals By Owner” where its direct contact with owners without the fees.

  • Great interview Jay, I really agree with Eric Mason’s point on the importance on being consistent and the fact that Expedia, Airbnb & Co are just a channel. It is up to us, hosts to deliver the memorable guest experience that is in sync with our brand.

    Personally, I engage with my guests before they are my guests, during their stay and way after they have left my vacation rental. Social media has been great for that, I use Pinterest and turn every feature of my vacation rental and every news around our area into an event.

    On tools, I am onto something, I’ll be happy to share with you very soon.

  • Oh wow, great! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Eric was a great guest to have on to help us all understand what could happen in the future. Thank you so much Stella for your great feedback. I’m looking forward to hearing what it is you’re on to. I love to find out about new tools of the trade. Eagerly waiting for that. How is Pinterest doing for you?

    • Pinterest is great, guests have found me on Pinterest, I had one of my house picture repinned in best Airbnb home and I use it as my tourist guide. It’s simple and has a beautiful interface.

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