Top5 Review

HomeAway Review

Last updated November 10, 2018

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, their family of brands can help you find the ideal property for your getaway.

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 of their lower than average guest paid fees. Many impressive properties are rentable through their platform. Time magazine featured a HomeAway tree house as one of the 2018 Top 100 Greatest Places to Experience List. You can have a brush with fame by sleeping in Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s former London flat. Or you can enjoy some peace and quiet by renting a Grecian villa carved into the side of a mountain.

HomeAway was one of the original vacation rental platforms. Travel giant Expedia acquired HomeAway in 2015. 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 online travel search engines. Hosts come out as winners due to the integrations with major travel search engines.

HomeAway’s recent growth has been incredible. More than 2 billion dollars of bookings passed through their website in Q3 2017. They have identified their average traveler as a 35 to 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. It’s no wonder travelers love staying in vacation homes. Vacation home renters can often get twice the space for a reduced cost compared to a traditional hotel room.

Pros

Access to over 2 million listings
Website translated into 23 languages
24/7 customer service
Mobile app for booking homes or communicating with the host
Integrated with other travel partners

Cons

Guest fees while low can reach up to 10% of subtotal
Website search functionality is difficult to navigate

Platform Stats

Founded: 2005
Founders: Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd
Countries in: 190
Properties: 2,000,000+
Headquarters: Austin, TX
Number of Employees: 750

Features

Search functionality on HomeAway has filters for location, home type, amenities, reviews and more. HomeAway markedly created a unique location filter. 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.

HomeAway and many of its sister sites are popular destinations for travelers to seek out and search independently. But 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 over and over because this company is ready to grow.

Customer Price

The service fee is paid by the traveler when booking through the HomeAway websites. This fee helps cover the costs of operating the websites for owners and travelers. Some of the costs to run HomeAway include: facilitating secure transactions, developing our products and services, and providing 24/7 customer service. Additionally, when a traveler books and pays through HomeAway, they are eligible for the Book with Confidence Guarantee.

Paying the Fee

Travelers pay the service fee by credit card when paying through the secure HomeAway checkout process. The service fee is only charged to the credit card once the booking has been accepted by the property owner or manager. The service fee is a percentage of the total amount of the reservation, excluding taxes and refundable fees. Expect to pay between 6-12% for most bookings but can be above or below, based on the reservation. The percentage rate may change from time to time. Generally, the higher the reservation amount, the lower the percentage of service fee.

Host Income and Fees

Pay-per-booking Fees

Booking fees apply for listings on the pay-per-booking listing model.

The overall fee is comprised of:

5% commission charged for the rent amount, any fees (such as cleaning or pet fees), and any additional payments. Please note, bookings originating from one of our expanded distribution partners may be higher.
3% credit card/eCheck processing fee charged on the total payment amount you receive from your traveler, including taxes and refundable damage deposits. The portion of the processing fee charged for the damage deposit is refunded when you refund the deposit.
2% interntional surcharge may apply if using a non-US credit card

Subscription Service

The cost of an annual subscription is $499 USD.

A subscription will include:

12-month subscription with online booking
Global exposure on over 20 international sites including Europe, Canada, Australia, and more.
Access to Reservation manage and other easy-to-use tools to help manage your listing
50 HD photos
Interactive map
Reservation calendar

Final Verdict

HomeAway had a major slow period during the rise in popularity of other vacation rental platforms. Recent partnerships and a clear marketing strategy are paying off in massive revenue gains. It appears that HomeAway is positioning itself to embrace technology and expand its offerings. We see for instance an emphasis on social media marketing lately.

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. As an individual vacation home owner expands their businesses to multiple websites, HomeAway will have an advantage over their competitors. Frugal travelers will see a lower price for the identical property and book through HomeAway.

Many newer platforms have arrived online and surpassed revenue of HomeAway. But the original vacation rental platform is still a trusted source of finding short-term rental properties. HomeAway is our choice for budget conscious travelers.

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