HomeAway is the best platform if you want a huge selection of properties with lower guest paid fees. Travelers can spend the night in Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s former London flat or enjoy the peace and quiet of a villa carved into the side of a mountain in Greece. Features include:
- 2,000,000+ properties available across 190 countries
- Bookings in 23 Languages
- Lowest traveler fees
HomeAway wants to inspire your next getaway, help you search through vacation rentals and easily book your dream vacation. No matter what your destination, occasion or budget, HomeAway’s family of brands can help you find the ideal property for your getaway. Read our full HomeAway review to see if this is the best vacation home rentals option for you.
HomeAway runs a network of 50 websites that display over 2,000,000 unique vacation rentals in 190 countries. HomeAway offers the best vacation home rentals from a traveler perspective because its guest-paid fees are lower than average. HomeAway’s recent growth has been incredible. More than two billion dollars of bookings passed through its website in Q3 2017. The average HomeAway traveler is a 35 to a 50-year-old woman who travels with family or a group of four or more people.
Special occasions are the most common reason people book a trip on HomeAway, which makes sense because vacation home renters can often get twice the space for a reduced cost compared to a traditional hotel room.
Many impressive properties are rentable through Home Away’s platform. One of HomeAway’s properties was listed on one of the Top 100 Greatest Places to Experience List from Time magazine. If tree houses aren’t your thing, you can have a brush with fame by sleeping in Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s former London flat. Need peace and quiet? Rent a Grecian villa carved into the side of a mountain.
Expedia and Trivago Booking
HomeAway was one of the original vacation rental platforms. Travel giant Expedia acquired HomeAway in 2015, which has made this service even more beneficial.
More than 1 million of the properties listed on HomeAway are available for instant booking. Homes that offer the instant booking option are searchable by both Expedia and Trivago. Hosts come out as winners due to the integrations with major travel search engines, and travelers have access to a variety of great locations. HomeAway reviews allow you to book a vacation rental with social proof of positive experiences.
HomeAway has several great things that are frequently mentioned in HomeAway reviews. Here are some of our favorite pros:
- 24/7 customer service: No matter what time of day or night, you can get support if anything comes up with your vacation rental.
- Integration with other travel partners: HomeAway’s partnership with Expedia and Trivago makes it even easier to find the vacation rental you’re looking for.
- Over two million listings: Whether you’re looking for something unique, a good place for business or a relaxing getaway, you’ll be able to find it with so many possible places to stay with HomeAway.
- Millions of HomeAway reviews: You can find multiple reviews for the properties you’re most interested in. These reviews can help you know you’re booking the right place for your stay.
- Mobile app: This is a convenient way to book homes or communicate with the host.
- Website in 23 languages: The website’s availability in multiple languages means that more people are able to access the service, including more hosts you may provide exactly what you’re looking for.
Unfortunately, HomeAway also has some downsides:
- Difficult searches: The website search option is sometimes difficult to navigate.
- Guest fees: While lower than some of the other vacation home rental options, fees can reach up to 10% of the subtotal.
Here are some quick stats about HomeAway:
- Founded: 2005
- Founders: Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd
- Countries with properties: 190
- Number of properties: 2,000,000+
- Location of headquarters: Austin, TX
- Number of Employees: 750
HomeAway created a unique location filter. Search functionality on HomeAway has filters for location, home type, amenities, reviews and more. HomeAway’s location filter allows you to identify concepts like rural, lake, downtown, mountains or more.
The search feature, although comprehensive, does require you to make the narrowed search changes in a pop up that doesn’t live update. It’s a bit cumbersome to use but still effective in showing you your most ideal results.
Recognizable Travel Websites
HomeAway and many of its sister sites are popular destinations for travelers to seek out and search independently. However, the integration of instant book properties into highly recognizable travel websites like Expedia and Trivago is incredibly valuable for both guests and hosts. Showing vacation rentals side by side with traditional hotels is a monumental shift in a positive direction for the short-term rental industry.
HomeAway celebrates diversity. Listings are translated into 23 different languages to be featured on a wide range of partner websites around the world. HomeAway is creating strategic partnerships with large events, non-profit organizations and short-term rental insurance companies. Travelers will be hearing the name HomeAway repeatedly because this company is ready to grow. Hosts with great HomeAway reviews are poised to enjoy an increase in bookings through the new marketing strategies.
Rentals and Hotels Side-by-Side
HomeAway is positioning itself to market vacation rentals side-by-side with traditional hotels. Transitioning travelers away from traditional hotels is a challenge and an opportunity. Early adopters of HomeAway vacation rentals were largely younger women, but the market is expanding.
Travelers select overnight accommodation location and amenities for a broad range of reasons. Now that Expedia is promoting HomeAway vacation homes and hotels, vacationers have a unique array of overnight options. A hotel seeker might not specifically seek out a vacation home rental but convert when the opportunity presents itself. This is a win-win for both travelers and hosts.
Convenient Group Travel
Organizing a group traveling together no longer has to be a nightmare. Grandparents and grandchildren or large friend groups can come together and stay under one roof with a short term vacation rental. Social time doesn’t need to be focused on money draining activities. Your group can spend quality time together in a fully furnished, comfortable living room.Learn More
Customer Price, Host Income and Fees
As you read HomeAway reviews, you may wonder what fees travelers have to pay and what fees hosts have to be. Here is a summary of those fees.
Travelers pay the service fee to help cover operating costs like secure money transactions and 24/7 customer service.
Travelers pay the service fee during the checkout process, but the service fee is only charged once the booking has been accepted by the host. The service fee is a percentage of the total except for the refundable fees and taxes. Most of the fees are between 6 and 12 percent, but fees can be lower for some reservations and the amount can change over time.
Hosts can choose to receive their payments through a pay-per-booking option. This lets hosts pay for bookings as they come instead of a larger amount upfront.
The fee includes:
- 5% commission
- Credit card or eCheck processing fees
- Fees like cleaning or pet fees or any additional payments
- International surcharge for payments using non-US cards
Alternatively, some hosts may opt for a subscription service. The annual cost is $499, and you don’t have to pay the fees per booking. Subscriptions include:
- Ability to host 50 HD photos of your property
- Global exposure on over 20 international sites
- Interactive map
- Reservation management and calendar
Pick the Best HomeAway Vacation Home
Everyone wants 5-star travel experiences. Unfortunately, not all vacations turn out as planned. While you can’t anticipate every outcome, you can do a lot to mitigate chances for disasters. Finding the right vacation home is a balancing act between supply, availability, price, location, amenities, and more. In an ideal world, we would all be staying in Madonna’s home in central London, but price or availability may prevent our best case scenario from being a reality.
Only you know what will make your vacation a true success. Everything you need to know about a home should be discussed in the HomeAway reviews or property description. Use the search criteria and be patient as you explore vacation homes in a particular area. Your perfect HomeAway vacation home match is out there.
Location, Location, Location
Solitude in the wilderness or the hustle and bustle of a busy city could be equally desirable at different times or by different people. One group of renters might be thrilled their vacation rental condo is above a popular nightclub while another group despises the proximity. Everything you could want to know about a vacation rental homes location is written out in detail.
We have yet to run across a complaint about a property location that wasn’t explicitly described and even photographed in a listing. Hosts want to manage your expectations to ensure you don’t come in expecting one thing and being let down the moment you arrive. When they tell you the truth, believe them. Be honest with yourself about if the smell of curry or freeway noise they wrote about in their listing will bother you.
Take ownership of what you can control, and don’t blame the vacation home host for things they cannot control. For example, don’t pick a vacation home in a residential neighborhood and then slam the host in the review because the home wasn’t close enough to the attractions.
Before you rent a home you are shown a radius of a few blocks that the home could be situated in. Compare that location to transit maps and areas of interest before you submit your reservation.
One of the tricky things about the sharing economy is the review process. Reading reviews before you decide to book can feel like you’re trying to crack a code. Some people leave one sentence reviews that give you no insightful information. Other travelers write a review that may as well be a blog because of its detail. You’ll see reviews gushing about how amazing the place is and others picking apart every awful detail of their stay.
Be aware that anything less than five stars puts the host in jeopardy of losing the ability to rent their home. Therefore, most guests warn future guests about negatives in the narrative portion of the review instead of in the star ratings. Falling below an average of 4.8 starts is detrimental to vacation homes.
HomeAway Review Conclusion
HomeAway had a slow period during the rise in popularity of other vacation rental platforms, but recent partnerships and a clear marketing strategy are paying off in massive revenue gains. HomeAway is positioning itself to embrace technology and expand its offerings.
Because HomeAway has a low guest fee, bargain travelers love using them. Even homes listed on multiple websites are likely to be cheaper when rented on HomeAway, making this site our choice for budget-conscious travelers.
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