Skift Take

In a very crowded and highly competitive short-term rental field, it makes sense that Expedia Group's Vrbo would try to stand out, albeit as a travel business serving families. Why go after the backpackers and younger generation when that isn't your core customer anyway?

Expedia Group’s vacation rental business Vrbo plans to reposition itself as a family travel site that would offer vacation rentals, resorts, and other features facilitating family vacations.

The unit’s new general manager Jeff Hurst told Skift Thursday that the move has been in the works behind the scenes for some time.

Hurst, who was interviewed on the sidelines of the Expedia Explore ’19 conference in Las Vegas, said he sees the move as a differentiator in a crowded short-term rental marketplace, and one that has almost limitless opportunity. There’s no “ceiling that I’m worried about,” Hurst said.

He said a resort stay might sometimes make more sense than vacation rentals for some families visiting theme park destinations

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Vrbo also plans to increase its merchandising of resort-style amenities such as chefs and daily cleaning services, for example, Hurst said.

Would Vrbo introduce flights or car rentals for family travelers? Hurst made no promises, but noted that Vrbo has in the past offered flights and car rentals along the way during the booking process.

Despite the changes, which he offered no timeline for implementation, Hurst said there is no rebranding in the works for Vrbo, which used to be known as VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owners), and replaced HomeAway as the unit’s lead brand.

CORRECTION; An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Vrbo is introducing concierge-style services. It is expanding existing services.

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Tags: expedia, hotels, resorts, short-term rentals, vacation rentals, vrbo

Photo credit: Vrbo General Manager Jeff Hurst spoke at the Expedia Group Explore '19 conference in Las Vegas November 13. He plans to turn the business into a family travel offering. Expedia Group

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