Category Archives: HomeAway

Expedia Owned HomeAway Driving Customers Away?

In December 2015, Expedia bought HomeAway / VRBO for a reported $3.9 billion dollars. Its been just over a year now, and customers are growing in frustration according to a variety of sources, as they appear to be copying Airbnb’s commission model by applying guest and service fees.

Kim Bergstrom writes a great article explaining what is happening with VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, FlipKey, TripAdvisor and Expedia Service Fees.

GeekWire also has an excellent article explaining how VRBO/HomeAway now stacks up and competes against Airbnb. An excerpt sums it up well:

One of the biggest changes is the introduction of a traveler’s fee — also referred to as a “service fee.” Travelers who book through the HomeAway checkout process are now charged a fee that averages between 4 percent and 9 percent of the rental amount, not exceeding $499, the company says. Airbnb charges a similar fee.

HomeAway VRBO Alternative?

HomeAway owned VRBO has hit an all time low in customer satisfaction. Consumer Affairs website has given VRBO a 1 star rating, which is the lowest they can go. Customers are certainly not happy, and it shows if you read through the 850 or so reviews. Sitejabber users posted 450 reviews gives both HomeAway and VRBO just 1.5 stars.

vrbo-rating
Here is a sample of some of the reviews…

This reminds me of the time Netflix tried to raise their prices for mail-in and streaming subscribers. I completely agree with everyone else’s comments on this site… Really, It’s just a terrible business decision from VRBO.

Just awful and THEY PUT YOU AT THE BACK OF THE SEARCH LIST IF YOU DO NOT GO WITH THEIR PLANS, and now that I have signed up, I have not gotten one inquiry and it is over a month. I paid in excess of $2000 for my two homes for 2016 and feel I have just been **.

I join the masses of owners who have expressed their concerns over changes in Homeaway/VRBO. I am happy to see I am not the only one that is saying “What the hell is going on”. I have been happy for 6 years and now went from happy to zero with them. Just got off the phone with them, so far EVERYTHING they told me is not true.

The February 2016 traveler fee is a disingenuous move on the part of HomeAway thus making potential clients suspicious of property owners, creating a loss of business for property owners because it increases the rate by a significant percentage.

Clearly, sentiment has turned sharply negative in the past 6 months, and it will be interesting to see if HomeAway / VRBO can pull out of their nosedive and regain the trust of their core customers.

For those seeking an alternative to VRBO, check out www.free-rentals.com. Free-Rentals.com is 100% FREE! No yearly fees, No commissions, No hidden costs.

Airbnb Revenues Exceed All Major Hotels

Now that Airbnb raised $100 million in new funding, and its valuation at twenty five and a half billion dollars, Marriott International has countered by purchasing Starwood Hotels for $12.2 Billon USD. The Priceline Group made its move by claiming to have listed 21 million rooms for rent.

According to Skift:

“Airbnb’s reported third quarter room nights sold (23.8 million), gross bookings ($2.2 billion), market cap ($25.5 billion) and revenue ($340 million) with major online travel agencies as well as TripAdvisor and HomeAway.

Airbnb’s $340 million in third quarter revenue has left HomeAway, which is being acquired by Expedia Inc. for $3.9 billion, far behind at $130.7 million in revenue. As with comparing Airbnb to hotel chains, gauging Airbnb (largely urban rentals of primary residences) against HomeAway (mostly vacation home rentals in resort areas) is choppy, at best.

Still, despite its projected 2015 operating losses, Airbnb’s revenue picture and traction is clearly on the upswing.”

Company Valuation/Market Cap Q3 Revenue
Marriott International $18.59B $3.6B
Hilton Worldwide $23.2B $2.9B
Accor Hotels $10.2B $1.58B
Wyndham $8.9B $1.56B
Starwood Hotels $12.4B $1.4B
Hyatt Hotels $6.9B $1.B
Airbnb $25.5B $340M
Choice Hotels $2.9B $241.5M

Source: Wall Street Journal, public documents

Comparison of Vacation Rental Sites

Here is a list of worldwide vacation rental websites and the fees and commissions they charge.

Website Guest Fee Host Fee Listing Fee
Airbnb.com 6 – 12% 3% Free
Clickstay.com 0% 10% $1
FlipKey.com (TripAdvisor) 0% – 10% 3% $0 – $299
     VacationHomeRentals.com
Free-Rentals.com Free Free Free
HouseTrip.com ?? 10% – 20% Free
PerfectPlaces 0% 0% $119.95
Rentals365.com 0% 0% $148 – $248
Roomorama 8 – 12% 0% Free
Tripping.com 10% 3% Free
HomeAway.com 0% 0 – 2.5% $349 – $999
    VRBO
    VacationRentals.com
    Homelidays
    Abritel
    Toprural
    Bookaback
    Stayz
    Travelmob
Welcome-Worldwide.com 0% 0% $98
Wimdu 12% 3% Free