According to the press release, “Integration is expected to be live by the end of the year with nearly 200,000 property listings worldwide — giving KAYAK a more diverse set of lodging options for users to search.”
“Kayak has built a business model that clearly depicts value among its many offerings, and I can’t think of a better offering than a vacation rental to sell through Kayak,: said Ben Edwards, President of the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), I think this a fantastic distribution opportunity for HomeAway.”
How does this affect PMs?
“It has been Vacation Rental Pros’ experience that HomeAway is by the far the best OTA at integrating vacation rentals and their very complex rate rules,” said Steve Milo, founder and Managing Director at Vacation Rental Pros. “I believe larger OTA players underestimated the complexity of the rate rules in the vacation rental space in resort areas that include varied minimum stays, varied arrival days and departure dates based on seasonality, weekly rate pricing, monthly rate pricing and displaying additional fees.”
Milo added, “OTAs clearly have the choice to spend significant internal resources and time trying to solve the complexity of vacation rentals, or simply partner with HomeAway which already has the technical expertise in this space.”
This is not the first attempt by HomeAway to partner with a large distribution platform.
In October 2013, HomeAway announced a partnership with Expedia “to expand online travel accommodation options by surfacing HomeAway vacation rental properties on Expedia.com.”
At the time, Sharples said, “As one of the most visited online travel agencies, each month Expedia.com will give millions of travelers the opportunity to discover the benefits of booking a vacation rental, and we look forward to also helping our customers increase the visibility of their properties.”
However, HomeAway’s partnership and integration was slow to get off the ground. In mid 2014, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company has just started to experiment with HomeAway’s vacation rentals, but won’t gather enough data about it until the second half of 2014.
Fast forward another 12 months…
Last month in their Q1 2015 earnings call, Sharples addressed the stagnant Expedia integration, ““There is not a lot of new news since last quarter. It’s fairly still status quo. We’re not exposed on the majority of the searches on Expedia still…Relative to others we call EEN -or electronic distribution network -deals we don’t have anything announce-able today on this call. But we continue to work on that.”
Today’s announcement potentially signifies a move away from Expedia and reignites rumors of a potential purchase of HomeAway by Priceline.
HomeAway’s stock price rose over 8% on the news.
HomeAway is not new to metasearch.
While the shift (or expansion) in HomeAway’s partnership strategy is interesting, industry insiders observe that metasearch distribution isn’t new to HomeAway. Metasearch platform Tripping.com has been offering HomeAway’s listings for over a year, along with listings from TripAdvisor, Wimdu, 9flats, HouseTrip and…Priceline’s Booking.com.
A potential acquisition of HomeAway by Priceline is still the speculation of the hour, but the relationship between Priceline and Tripping.com warrants a closer look.
More to come…
By Amy Hinote