Expedia Buys HomeAway – How To Survive The Big Changes Coming

By November 5, 2015 Listings, News

This just in…

Well my friends, this is a big day in history. The game has changed for the vacation rental industry.

I had a blog scheduled for today, but this pressing news took precedence.

If you’ve been following my blogs, you know that we suspected this day would come.

HomeAway has been acquired.

By who?

By Expedia!

Expedia purchased HomeAway for an equity value of approximately $3.9 billion. Yeah B as in billion!

But wait there’s a twist in the plot of this story.

In 2016, they, HomeAway now Expedia, is set to introduce a traveler service fee of 6 percent. Sound familiar?

With this new approach, it appears as though HomeAway has now become a follower of AirBnB’s business model. So is AirBnB really the leader here? Is their business model better? Do you think AirBnB will be bought out next?

Expedia, the travel giant with a gargantuan appetite consumed huge brands this year like Travelocity and Orbitz. What’s really interesting is Expedia paid double for HomeAway than it it did for both combined! The deal, still subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016. What will 2016 look like for the vacation rental industry?

Things are changing!

Change of management, policy, procedures, requirements, features, fees…everything will be turned on it’s head, or will it?

Owners and managers may not be the only ones who have an issue with the HomeAway buy out. I’m pretty sure Booking.com is not so thrilled.

Booking.com once had the bragging rights of being the world’s largest lodging seller but not anymore. Expedia just knocked Booking.com off it’s high horse with 1.5 million properties vs. Booking.com’s 820,400. What will Booking.com’s next move be? Should we expect more buyouts in the industry from other agencies wanting to get in on this action?

Are hotels in danger now that Expedia has invested 3.9 billion in vacation rentals and may now be promoting rentals more aggressively?

What will the acquisition mean for competition, travelers, and your vacation rental business?  Will more owners list? Will fewer or more travelers rent or is it business as usual?

The HomeAway buy-out shows us all that there is continued growth in the vacation rental sector. It’s amazing how much has changed in the last several years and it will be very interesting to see how this affects us all in the future.

My piece of advice for every single owner and management company is to start creating your brand today.

If you want to survive the giant takeover then you must become very good at something. Focus in on a niche and develop your brand around what you’re excellent at or around a specific travel niche.

Why develop your vacation rental brand? Expedia doesn’t mean much to travelers, in the sense that Expedia is like a warehouse for rentals. There is no real brand equity, messaging or level of expectation.

Where owners and managers will cut out their piece of the market is by developing brands that mean something to people. Invest in your business because it’s the only thing you have full control over. Create alternative booking sources through your brand now, not later!

Is your business ready for 2016?