Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Homeaway Expands Again - 3 New Partnerships with Timeshare Industry

Homeaway.Com announced today the formation of partnerships with 2 resort companies and an online reservation service that will allow Homeaway to direct prospective guests to available Time Share properties, in addition to the 700,000 homes that Homeaway also lists.

By expanding the available inventory of properties that Homeaway can rent out, the partnerships should result in increased revenues for Homeaway -- furthering its dominant position in the VR marketplace.

The increase in rental inventory at Homeaway also results in increased competition between VR home owners, and thus may decrease revenues to individual VR home owners -- especially those in areas where there is a large inventory of unused Time Share properties available.

The move by Homeaway also dilutes the uniqueness of the offerings by traditional vacation rental owners.  Many VR owners offer personalized services and perks when we rent out our homes.

I'll never forget the VR owner who asked the ages of my children when I rented their home, and had age-appropriate treats and toys for the kids when we arrived.  The kids have never forgotten either.

The guest who rents a Time Share that happens to be vacant is less like to get this kind of personalized attention.


Doug Coates


  1. Doug, Please don't forget the even greater dilution and downgrading of our industry that is coming from the inevitably lower grade listings the free, no commitment, commissioned listings will bring.
    These huge corporate ad companies control our industry and as you might expect, what's good for them isn't necessarily good for us by a long shot.

    First they allowed illegal VRs to infest our marketplace and did nothing about it.
    Then they made discount deals with PMs that crammed in high volumes of competition.
    Then Airbnb opened its doors almost exclusively catering to the unprofessional and mostly illegal sector.
    Then Airbnb's "free" commissioned listings revenue model that scored fees from both ends was just too appealing and the rest of them got downright giddy about opening our industry to all comers, no matter how unprofessional, illegal, or total junk those listing might be.
    No big deal. The traveler can always just buy insurance from them against the listings in their own directories, which sounds a lot like a protection racket of sorts. They'll put your vacation at risk with a renter beware marketplace and then sell you insurance against the risk they created.

    And now here comes the timeshare industry with its huge inventory of marginal and unused properties and trapped owners willing to rent just to cover their maintenance fees.
    The timeshare industry's reputation precedes it. Granted, there are some nice ones, but those aren't the norm. Mostly, there is a lot of junk and desperate owners in that system, and that certainly doesn't bode well for us. I can here it now. "There are 15 other VRs in your area willing to rent for $200/week, so why won't you?"

    As our industry becomes lower and lower grade due to the insatiable revenue needs of corporate middlemen with inflated stock values, so do our customers and that is why we see so many unreasonable discount requests and more and more customers that don't respect our properties or us.
    Lower grade offerings attract lower grade customers and the trend is clear as these corporate outfits that control our industry get to scrapping the bottom of the barrel for revenues.

    The problem for us seems obvious. Our subcontracted advertising services are serving their needs, not ours. So, what's the solution? Replace them. How and with what?

    That's a discussion worth having sooner rather than later.

  2. Many of your points need to be brought up.

    As far as what to do about it -- a strong, independent, non-commercial association of vacation rental owners and like-minded small VR property management firms, would give us our best chance to continuing doing what we do best - service the traveler with a high-quality, reasonably priced, safe and legal lodging alternative.

    Are vacation rental owners ready to join together in such an effort? So far I've only seen small scale alliances of VR owners and property managers.

    The goal is not to get rid of players like Homeaway and AirBnB -- both of which are smart business doing what smart businesses do. The goal is to shape the industry in our own image, so that others don't define the industry for us.


Thoughtful comments are welcome, whether you are in favor of vacation rentals or concerned about the impacts of VRs on your community. Comments that contain advertising, including ads for properties, will be deleted.