Category: Industry News (page 1 of 2)

Listing sites answer to stubborn managers & instant booking: If you can’t force it, buy it!

A 10 minute read about the vacation rental industry’s latest acquisitions (Airbnb, HomeAway, Expedia, Accor) and what this means for owners & managers. 

It’s some while since we posted on the industry at large as we have been busy crowdfunding and launching new partnerships. After a period of quiet, the sector has woken up again with some interesting news.

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2017 Predictions for the Future of HomeAway, VRBO & Guest Interaction – “Click”, The Door Shuts

For 3 years now we have been predicting the slide from listing subscriptions to “instant book” and from customer loyalty to complete indifference.

We have been right on every count.

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We’re crowdfunding the rental revolution. And we’d like you to be apart of it.

About 6 months ago we announced our crowdfunding goals, to raise money to support owners & managers with technology (websites, payments, booking management, automated marketing & more).

Well, after amazing support and an extremely busy 6 months for Rentivo, we’ve had the chance to launch the campaign on Crowdcube.

We want owners, managers & partners to have the chance to invest, so you & other likeminded people can own & shape the future of Rentivo; not corporate angels & VC’s. Here’s our pitch:

The industry is changing

The vacation rental ecosystem has been disrupted and is moving rapidly to a walled garden, online travel agents (OTA’s), such as Airbnb, HomeAway & VRBO, are using a transaction model supported by substantial investments that dominate search engines and consumer brand awareness.

These changes have increased guest costs (up to 10%), reduced owner and manager income (up to 40%) and allowed data appropriation with mediated communication, diluting direct opportunity. The changes have increased workload substantially, they’re hard to integrate technically and have reduced business opportunity across many destinations for both owners and managers.

Why are we raising money?

Our mission has been to enhance and simplify the lives of managers and owners, through development of SaaS (software as a service) tools. This is founded on the belief that an owner or manager is our primary customer and THE most important link and foundation of the rental chain.

We’ve turned down offers from global investors because it’s important to us that our customers and subscribers can own and shape the platform.

We are focused on owner & manager success and are structuring the investment around you. Our direction will NOT be dictated by corporate investors but by you.

Funds will be used to increase customer support, develop and enhance more asset focused services only and scale the business.

With Rentivo, we have the chance to build something that will impact millions of vacation rental professionals and change the industry for the better.

And you have a chance to be part of that, helping shape the direction of Rentivo as it evolves.

What are the benefits of investing?

Apart from owning a share of Rentivo, a growing company that’s self-funded & debt free, you’ll have access to our amazing rewards, including:

  • Up to 10% off selected vacation rentals
  • High-value SEO link & free t-shirt
  • Early access to future products
  • 10% – 25% lifetime discount on all products
  • Join online team & product discussions
  • Meet the team

How do I invest?

Investing is relatively simple. Visit our Crowdcube pitch page and sign up for a free account & enter the amount you’d like to invest. Finally, you’ll need to answer a few simple questions and leave your card information.

Please note, no payments are taken until after the funding target is reached. Also, Rentivo is EIS registered, meaning you can invest up to £1m in any tax year and receive 30% tax relief!

See our private pitch page, get involved & help shape the future

How do I invest if I live in the U.S, Canada or Japan?

Unfortunately, for legal reasons, people who only have an address in the U.S, Canada or Japan can’t immediately invest.

If you have another address outside these countries, you can still invest through the platform using your alternative address.

If not, please email [email protected] to get involved.

Rocky Roads Ahead for Vacation Rental Investors?

Just this last couple of weeks, we have seen several business failures, two marketplaces and one channel manager and maybe more going south.

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Vacasol, Leisurelink, Gloveler and now rumours of 9Flats in financial difficulty with channel managers stopping their connections (update – Wimdu is combining with 9Flats).

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The Results Are In – What Owners & Managers Really Think About OTA’s (HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb etc)

Two weeks ago we sent out an email to our reader base asking for information on their use of the major OTA’s (Online Travel Agents, such as HomeAway, Airbnb & VRBO).

We were particularly interested in brand opinion, overall attitude, friction points and usage statistics.

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What Does The New Blue Booked Circle Mean On Homeaway?

Nope, we aren’t talking about crop circles but just as mysterious!

One our clients just asked a question of HomeAway’s “Blue Statistics Circle” There is a big blue “Booking Statistic” circle above a search on a destination. This number changes based on dates selected. Read more →

Tablets Play Second Fiddle to Phones In Online Booking Statistics

2min read on how mobiles are surpassing tablets in online traffic / bookings and how they have both reduced desktop for researching  vacation rentals.

In January we posted an article on the use of mobiles and potential for increased conversions via a phone call (yes that’s where people talk to each other).

We thought it might be helpful to show how important this has become and how mobiles (phones) are supplanting that all important tablet which featured so heavily in Christmases past and how both have reduced desktop use for researching rentals.

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Airbnb Spreads Its API Wings: Airbnb Announces 10 New Vacation Rental Partnerships

Airbnb just announced new API partnerships, from the four appointed last year.  The list shown below will show a few familiar names. We will look at this in more detail over the next two weeks.

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COO Tom Hale Leaves HomeAway: Where have all the management gone?

Is a little like the song, by Peter, Paul and Mary

Where have all the management gone, long time passing?
Where have all the management gone, long time ago?
Where have all the management gone?
Gone to NewCo’s everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

COO Tom Hales Leaves HomeawayJust this week we heard that Tom Hale (COO) has left the HomeAway fold for pastures new. We haven’t seen an official announcement but a transcript on VRIntel can be seen here:

http://www.vrmintel.com/coo-tom-hale-leaves-homeaway/

who appears to have confirmed this with the company.

The release below highlights the ongoing management shuffle from last year when Brent Bellm, the previous COO resigned as well.

HomeAway, Inc. Announces Executive Leadership Changes

AUSTIN, Texas, April 23, 2015 – HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWAY), which celebrated its 10th anniversary in February, today announced changes to its organization that position the company for continued success over the next decade. These changes also advance and expand the responsibilities of key executives.

The attacks on HomeAway brought about by the imperious changes to the HomeAway platforms, (VRBO in particular being the main US protagonist) may have accelerated any decision making at personal or board level. Who knows?

What is clear, from the recent business reports, analysis and contributions from owners/managers, is that the changes are not welcomed from asset managers and many guests. SEO issues, “best match”, re-ranking on Book Now etc are all contributing to the problems.

This an extract from Tnooz, last year?

How Expedia will help HomeAway battle Airbnb – Tnooz

Today’s Expedia Inc’s acquisition of HomeAway, the vacation rental platform, for $3.9 billion (mostly in stock) could be understood as an alliance of mutual interest against Airbnb, the peer-to-peer short-term rental giant. It’s true that executives only mentioned Airbnb once by name during their conference call today explaining the acquisition.

Noted Sharples:

“We know there will be some owners who don’t like the changes. We know the most important thing to owners and keep them happy is to deliver them more revenue and more bookings.

So we are going to be able to make these changes under the air cover of a greatly expanded distribution network with Expedia. In the end, suppliers are going to find that… there’s no other platform they can get as many bookings and revenue….”

Khosrowshahi (Expedia)

“The value we see is that HomeAway is moving through a transition from a classified listings-based model to primarily a transaction-based model, and we think we can add a lot of value there because, [at Expedia Inc ourselves], we’ve spent the past five or six years optimizing the transaction process for conversion growth leading to be the ability to boost variable marketing and combine that with better customer experience, adding up to a really good formula….

“To some extent we see HomeAway at where we were in year two of our journey, of where we were three or four years ago.

“We have a saying at our company: ‘In the end, math wins.’

“In this deal, we think it’s on our side.”

Does the management agree and if they do, then presumably the future is bright and there will be less changes at the top. But the road is paved with issues.

In the meantime, while no-one is looking, the proverbial rodents may be leaving the ship. Lets hope not and it comes back on course!

OTA Marketplace Review: Tansler

This site came onto our radar after HomeAway customers flagged their property as being listed:

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Company overview

In December 2015 Tansler won the General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation and The Most Innovative Emerging Company at the Phocuswright Innovation Summit with an Auction site for Vacation rentals. The overriding drivers for guests are: the commentary of “Save time. Save money. Haggle free” in addition to their site strapline “Their Place Your Price”. They are pitching again next month for more awards. Read more →