HomeAway Review

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. Trust the HomeAway reviews to help you find the best vacation rental.

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 reviews allow you to book a vacation rental with social proof of positive experiences.

HomeAway is Growing

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 a 50-year-old woman who travels with family or a group of four or more people. Travel organizers appreciate reading HomeAway reviews from previous renters to ensure the accommodation suits their needs. 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.


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


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


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. Hosts with great HomeAway reviews are poised to enjoy an increase in bookings through their new marketing strategies.

Happy HomeAway Guests

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. Women are often the ones organizing travel plans and younger generations are more open to the sharing economy concept.

Travelers select overnight accommodation location and amenities for a broad range of reasons. Now that Expedia is promoting HomeAway vacation homes side by side with hotels, vacationers have a unique array of overnight options. A hotel seeker might not specifically seek out a vacation home rental, but converts when the opportunity presents itself. Right now vacation homes are feeling a drop in income as a result of too many homes and not enough guests. Expanding the trust economy to more guests is the number one goal of vacation rental hosts.

Organizing a group traveling together no longer has to be a nightmare. Grandparents and grandchildren 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.

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 the 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% international 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

Pick the Best HomeAway Vacation Home

Everyone wants a 5-star travel experience. 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.

Take ownership of what you can control and don’t blame the vacation home host for things they cannot control. For example, one of the leading complaints about vacation homes is their location. A traveler will select a perfectly appointed 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.

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, you just have to find it.

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. One thing we can all agree on is that opinions are subjective. But virtually everything you could want to know about a vacation rental homes location is written out in detail.

I have yet to run across a complaint about a property location that wasn’t explicitly described and even photographed in a listing. Vacation home hosts want the guest to be aware of the freeway noise, paper mill smell, homeless camp across the street, or various other perceived negatives about a property. 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 they wrote about in their listing will bother you.

Read HomeAway Reviews

One of the very 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.

Many travelers are from the school of thought that an overnight accommodation couldn’t receive 5-star marks unless it was the epitome of perfection in their mind. On a 5 star system, they may consider a 3-star review to be average and 4-start review to be good. Other vacationers might abide by the philosophy, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In those instances, there could have been bad experiences that were never reported. When you leave your review, you’ll bring your own bias and experience to the review system as well.

Logic aside, just be aware that rating your vacation home host anything less than 5-stars in every category could have dire consequences for their ability to continue as a vacation rental host. I’m not suggesting you lie. Just simply consider if your experience in that owner’s vacation rental home warrants them losing their ability to rent their home on a social sharing platform. Warn future guests about negatives in the narrative portion of the review. Falling below an average of 4.8 starts is detrimental to vacation homes.

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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