History of HomeAway.com
HomeAway has been one of the travel industry’s best-known brands since it first launched back in 2005. In the beginning, the company’s goal was— to be an online travel hubl in the early days of the Internet — and that’s what it was. But throughout its history, the company has experienced significant growth, purchasing various competing websites, including Vacation Rental by Owner (VRBO) in 2006. Thanks to this acquisition, HomeAway’s 386 employees turned into 842 in just three years. Today, HomeAway and all of its sister companies are owned by Expedia Group.
With a huge portfolio of 31 websites in 11 different languages, there is a ton of traffic on HomeAway-owned brands everyday. It’s estimated that the company averages 9.5 million unique visits in an average month. This incredible exposure makes the company irresistible for short-term property owners listing their rental spaces.
HomeAway hosts more than 2,000,000 vacation rental listings on its platform, making the website one of the most popular options for short-term property owners. At any given time, travellers can choose from a diverse selection of condos, houses, cabins and even castles. Rentals can range from a quick one-night stay to long-term stays lasting 28 days plus. The Austin-based hospitality brand became a publicly traded company in 2011 and was purchased by online hospitality giant Expedia on Dec. 15, 2015.
HomeAway is credited for its history of memorable television advertising throughout the years. The vacation rental website made headlines when it reunited actors Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo in an advertising campaign for a parody of the Vacation movie franchise. The company even purchased airtime during Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010, getting the attention of millions of viewers. With these aggressive marketing initiatives, HomeAway has always been known to make a splash in the industry.
VRBO Company History
Since 2006, VRBO has been a part of the HomeAway family of online booking websites. The company has played a key role in helping the worldwide vacation rental market grow, being one of the first digital brands to promote short-term rentals as an alternative to traditional hotels. The company’s early growth was fueled by its impressive collection of vacation rental options, featuring privacy, affordability, plenty of space and a higher level of amenities — something hotels simply couldn’t compete with at the time.
As the full name suggests, VRBO connects vacation property owners directly to guests via its online platform. Seems like a common concept these days, but this was actually rare back when the company launched in 1996.
How to Stand Out on VRBO and HomeAway
VRBO.com was one of the most established and trusted short-term rental brands for both hosts and guests. HomeAway joined the space nearly a decade after the launching of VRBO, eventually purchasing the brand in 2006. Listings and features are shared across platforms, making it easy for property owners to optimize their listings for both websites. Whether you’ve onboarded your property listings to HomeAway or VRBO, your listings will be shared on all of the brand’s websites and partner websites. This means you don’t have to create your listings more than once (thankfully). HomeAway, like Expedia, offers excellent exposure, giving property owners access to all of its affiliate brands. On HomeAway, travellers can decide between over a million of the best listings on the market. The company also provides some great insurance options, which most of the competition has failed to match.
Strong content is a key factor in promoting your Toronto short-term rental on HomeAway and VRBO.com. The platforms offer many different options to display well-written descriptions, professional photography, clickable maps, interactive booking calendars and detailed guest reviews. The company provides around-the-clock customer support and guests can book vacation rentals on both mobile and desktop devices.
When operating a short-term rental, it’s critical to reply to guest questions quickly, especially on HomeAway. Hosts who reply to customer inquiries within 24 hours will see a boost in their listing’s rankings and visibility. Your response score considers both your overall response rate as well as the time it took you to reply. At QuickStay, our automated system sends thorough check-in instructions to your guests, leaving zero room for misunderstandings between us and the guest. It’s important to make sure the guest accepts the house rules before completing their booking — this will help you avoid making unnecessary cancellations. If you cancel a reservation because of an error on your end, your ranking on the platform will suffer.
When listing a new property, the more information the better. There is no shortage off Toronto short-term rentals listed online; even the smallest feature can make a big difference. Both websites grant the ability to upload 24 high-resolution photos of your suite to your listing. A picture is worth a thousand words; make your photos count by hiring professional photographers to capture the right angles and selling points. For best results, HomeAway recommends that you upload photos in the largest possible resolution. We’ve also found that a catchy headline for your listing can generate more attention for your online vacation rental listing.
The QuickStay team cares about reviews just as much as your guests do. Another guest’s enthusiastic review is a great persuasion tool for hesitant bookers, especially when they’re deciding between multiple listings. Keep in mind: newer reviews tend to have a greater impact on HomeAway’s rankings and listings with at least 12 reviews gain better traction. It’s important to bring in consistently positive reviews; one bad review has the power to drive away a potential guest.
HomeAway and VRBO.com have both played an essential role in the growth of the global vacation rental market. Our team at QuickStay has the experience to make your Toronto short-term rental succeed on HomeAway. The best part? You won’t have to lift a finger! We’ll take care of everything including the professional staging and photography of your luxury suite, 24/7 guest support, screening and security, cleaning, and much more.