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HomeAway Is Finally Getting Serious About Digital Marketing

@denschaal

Jul 25, 2014 6:30 am

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A lot of things are falling into place for HomeAway, and now it is set to really build a brand.

— Dennis Schaal

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A vacation rental in Napa Valley that's listed on HomeAway's VRBO site. VRBO


Now that HomeAway has integrated properties from property managers and homeowners who pay commissions rather than listing fees into HomeAway.com and VRBO in the U.S. and three of its sites in Europe, the vacation rental giant is set to turn on the marketing spigots like never before.

“To be absolutely clear, it is absolutely our intent to get aggressive on the marketing front,” HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples said July 24 during the company’s second quarter earnings call.

To spearhead the marketing effort, HomeAway announced the hiring of Mariano Dima, most previously CMO of Visa Europe, as HomeAway’s CMO, to “oversee all global marketing, corporate communications and brand initiatives for HomeAway.” Dima starts at HomeAway in September.

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“We have a new leader and a focus on marketing,” Sharples said, referring to Dima’s hiring.

In HomeAway’s Q2 financial results’ announcement, Sharples said: “With much of our platform and product investment behind us, the next few years will mark a renewed focus on marketing as we strive to make HomeAway one of the most recognized and respected travel brands in the world.”

The marketing effort will ramp up primarily in the U.S. in the second half of 2014, said Sharples, adding that tactics will vary based by region and customer type. He said for competitive reasons HomeAway won’t telegraph its game plan.

In other words, brand marketing may work in some markets for certain customer types, while digital marketing could be the way to go in other geographies, Sharples said.

He tried to reassure investors that the increased marketing spend would translate into nay a minor impact on earnings.

HomeAway hasn’t had a chief marketing officer for several years.

Until Dima’s appointment, “marketing efforts were led on a regional basis with managers in each market,” says HomeAway spokesperson Victor Wang. “Now with this hiring, our regional marketing managers will report to Dima versus COO Brent Bellm.”

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