Skift Take

These Insider Guides can be a nice add-on for vacation rental owners and their customers. A nicely created guide, with neighborhood attractions, could be a selling point for the rentals.

HomeAway and VRBO vacation rental owners can now build local destination guides for their customers based on existing destination information from Gogobot users, as well as by adding their own tweaks and local favorites.

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Vacation rental customers can view these “Insider Guides” by going to a and property listings, and selecting “Map.” Below the map, they will then view photos, ratings and information about local restaurants, hotels, cathedrals or barber shops, for example, selected by the vacation rental owner.

Alternately, users can select “View Guide” on the map page under a HomeAway or VRBO vacation-rental listing, and they’ll navigate to a co-branded HomeAway/VRBO and Gogobot page on, which has the guide, albeit with larger photos and more detail. Users can save the guides for later use, or sync them with Gogobot’s Android and iOS apps.

Vacation rental owners can use the Insider Guide tool to include a few suggestions from Gogobot, upload their own photos and write descriptions, and they can tap into information from Google, as well, if they want to go beyond the existing destination information created by Gogobot’s users.

Any newly created travel guide information goes into the Gogobot database, and can be viewed elsewhere on Gogobot, beyond the co-branded page.

What’s this all about?

Gogobot has been a HomeAway affiliate partner for a couple of years, taking its feed of vacation rental listings. With the jointly developed Insider Guides, HomeAway gets to improve its listings by adding local destination information, and Gogobot gets HomeAway and VRBO owners adding to the Gogobot database of things to do, reviews and ratings.

HomeAway and VRBO have 750,000 vacation rental owners who can potentially create Insider Guides; about 100 of the just-launched Insider Guides exist today. For example, here are some guides to Sonoma, California; Austin, Texas; and Umbria, Italy.

The quality of the Insider Guides will naturally vary as they are all created by the vacation rental owners using their own local expertise or that of Gogobot users.

Tom Hale, HomeAway’s chief product officer, says the Insider Guides will be a great supplement to sometimes-tattered binders of local information found in many vacation rentals.

“The impact to both of our businesses is pretty positive,” Hale says, referring to HomeAway and Gogobot. “We are doing something that takes advantage of the scale of HomeAway.”


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Tags: gogobot, guidebooks, homeaway

Photo credit: A VRBO property owner creaed this VRBO Insider Guide for Napa and Sonomo Valley, California. Homeaway and Gogobot collaborated to foster these new local travel guides. Gogobot

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