Skift Take

HomeAway and vacation rentals in general could really become more disruptive to the hotel industry if HomeAway gets the sort of wide distribution on partner sites that its executives have in mind.

HomeAway has a plan to take vacation rentals from niche to mainstream, and it isn’t just about buying up every competitor in sight in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, as HomeAway has been doing of late.

HomeAway recently notched a distribution deal with Expedia, which will begin to display a portion of HomeAway’s vacation rental offerings in 2014. If you thought there might be some sort of exclusivity to this deal, you’d be wrong.

HomeAway intends to strike a lot more of these types of distribution partnerships in the future, and it is a major priority.

The company’s COO, Brent Bellm, said during a presentation at Credit Suisse’s 17th Annual Technology Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona earlier this week that HomeAway’s priorities haven’t changed since its 2011 IPO, but the company is newly emphasizing e-commerce adoption by vacation rental owners, and pushing to make vacation rentals as ubiquitous as possible.

Bellm said the Expedia deal demonstrates HomeAway’s desire to transform vacation rentals “from a niche presence on our sites” and into the mainstream through distribution partnerships with the world’s leading online travel agencies, tourism and destination marketing organization sites.

“That really is a major priority for us over the next year and the next few years,” Bellm told the crowd.

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On the e-commerce front, Bellm predicted that in the next few years the majority of HomeAway’s listings will have a Book It Now button, enabling electronic payments. Such listings lead to 120% in additional booking value annually compared with adjacent listings in the same tier where there are no online booking capabilities, he said.

Bellm sees a parallel with what he saw during his tenure at eBay and PayPal (2001 to 2009) regarding electronic payments. eBay acquired PayPal in 2002.

“eBay went through the same transition,” Bellm said. “I was there starting back in the days when PayPal wasn’t integrated and I left at the point that PayPal was on 95% of their listings.”

Bellm thinks the vacation rental industry is ready for these types of changes, as well.

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Tags: expedia, homeaway, vacation rentals

Photo credit: Le Torri Vacation rentals in Tuscany. Gabriele Cantini /

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