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HomeAway wants to tap into the big-spending habits of new and existing customers and launched a high-end vacation-rental site with curation provided by Andrew Harper, a luxury travel and editorial service.

Luxury Rentals from HomeAway currently offers nearly 900 villas, estates and other high-end vacation homes in 40 countries, with the majority in North America and Europe.

HomeAway already displays these property listings on its other sites, but these vacation rentals only make the cut and appear on the Luxury Rentals site after curation from Andrew Harper, which uses “a proprietary rating system developed exclusively for HomeAway,” HomeAway states.

Price, services, location, and amenities are part of the 75-point rating system, HomeAway says, adding that even “the thread count of the linens” goes into the appraisals.

These villa and estate rentals come from vacation rental management companies such as Luxury RetreatsTravel Keys and LaCure Villas, as well as from individual owners.

Some of the properties accept online credit card payments, although users may have to wait up to 24 hours for confirmation, but the majority requires guests to email the owners or property managers to make a reservation.

HomeAway says a 2012 Companies & Markets report depicted the luxury travel market as the travel industry’s fastest-growing segment, and the vacation rental giant obviously wants a bigger piece of the white truffle hazelnut macaroons.

Photo Credit: HomeAway launched a luxury vacation rental site, figuring it will attract more upscale customers if it dedicates a site to the niche. Pictured is the Villa Weinfried in Bad Vöslau, Austria, in January 2010. Robert Verzo /