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HOME FRONT Tourists Must Pay To Use HomeAway

Monday March 21, 2016

HOME FRONT Tourists Must Pay To Use HomeAway

The cost of booking a villa or apartment on Lanzarote via HomeAway and Owners Direct is set to rise this year. As the rental giant rolls out plans to start charging travelers a fee of between 6% and 9% on top of the owner’s normal rental rates.

Since being taken over by Expedia late last year the two companies now form the largest online lodging booking site on the planet, with a total of over 1.3 million bookable hotel and vacation properties, so dwarfing previous market leader with 820,000 properties. Plans are also afoot to list HomeAway properties on Expedia branded sites such as, Travelocity and Orbitz.

There are currently 4,521 Lanzarote based villas and apartments on the site alone and just over 1 million in total spread across 190 countries. The worldwide rental market is also growing at a very fast rate, with some observers suggesting a 50% increase in this 100 billion dollar sector over the next five years.

Until now the HomeAway group of brands, which includes Owners Direct and a raft of European sites, have pursued a business model based on charging owners and property managers a set annual fee to list their properties. Now however, Expedia-HomeAway will also be charging their online users a sliding scale fee of between 6% and 9% per booking, which they claim will be spent on enhancing the brand’s marketing and user experience whilst also combating the growing problem of online vacation rental fraud.

Other sites such as AirBnB already charge a travelers fee, but allow owners to list their properties for free, a fact that has resulted in accusations of corporate greed from some existing HomeAway property owners in the US, where these fees have already been implemented.

Overall, Expedia-HomeAway are looking to create a seamless, instant online booking experience for their site visitors. However, whilst this model works fine in the hotels sector it may prove tougher to implement in the private self catering vacations market, where some owners prefer to have control over their own pricing policy and a say in who stays in their property.

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