HomeAway Aims for All-Inclusive Vacation Rental Experience
HomeAway is a heavy hitter in the vacation rental industry. If you've used VRBO or VacationRentals.com, you've used HomeAway. They also have platforms to serve the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand. They're hoping that when you plan a family vacation, you visit one of their sites before looking for a hotel.
Last month they announced integrations of their mobile app with Care.com, Ticket Evolution, and Get Your Guide, so that while you're staying at your vacation rental, you can book a babysitter, buy tickets to a show, and learn about the local, must-see attractions. You can also use their app to order groceries with InstaCart (assuming you are in a zip code they service), store WiFi passwords, amenities info, check in/out times, and more.
The goal is simple. They want the HomeAway app to allow you to manage all aspects of your vacation from one place and with ease. A concierge in the palm of your hand. Will these integrations help them draw business away from hotels? Possibly. But their greatest boon is still the slow (but steady) shift of thinking regarding how and why people travel.
Five years ago I might have hesitated at the thought of traveling and staying in (gasp!) a stranger's home. Fast forward and now, if my family of four travels anywhere for more than three days, our thinking automatically defaults to finding a home (be it a rental or home exchange). There are still many people who would balk at such accommodations, but these are likely people who take one vacation a year, and they can't fathom anything other than two queens at a mid-range hotel, free HBO, and returning home with lots of tiny soaps and shampoo bottles.
I was in that camp myself for a time, but have since converted to the view that traveling the world can be incorporated into my year-round lifestyle. Once you make that transition, you're naturally forced to consider other housing alternatives, and that's when discovering temporary and vacation rentals, as well as home exchanges, becomes vital.
As a part-time (a few months per year) digital nomad with two children under the age of ten, I'll be keeping my eyes on HomeAway and their upcoming integrations and partnerships. There have been many times we've lamented the lack of a babysitter or tutor while living abroad, so connecting with Care.com is a good indication that I'm part of the demographic on which HomeAway is focusing. No vacation or travel experience is seamless (nor would I want it to be), but there's something to be said for convenience and consolidation of information. And as far as an occasional night off from the kids? Yes, please.
Here's the full press release...
HomeAway helps families enjoy their whole vacation with Care.com, Ticket Evolution and GetYourGuide mobile integrations
AUSTIN, Texas, June 30, 2015 — HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWAY), the world leader in vacation rentals, today announces its mobile app will now make it easier for families to find child care and purchase tickets to events and attractions while on vacation, thanks to integrations with Care.com (NYSE: CRCM), Ticket Evolution and GetYourGuide.
Care.com is the world's largest online destination for finding and managing family care, with 15.2 million members, spanning 16 countries. The company’s ability to help HomeAway® guests find a babysitter fills a large need – more than 70 percent of people using HomeAway.com travel with their family or a group and the average party has at least one child, according to company data.*
In addition, finding and gaining access to local events and attractions in vacation destinations will be easier thanks to integrations with Ticket Evolution and GetYourGuide.
Ticket Evolution operates one of the world’s largest ticketing exchanges, enabling HomeAway guests to seamlessly find tickets to more than 65,000 events worldwide. Meanwhile, GetYourGuide collects and categorizes all the world’s things to do so travelers research less and do more, from skipping attraction lines and guided tours to cooking classes and canal cruises.
“Our goal is to give HomeAway users access to concierge-like services by partnering with world-class companies,” said Brian Sharples, HomeAway co-founder and chief executive officer. “Having the ability to quickly get tickets to a Broadway show and book a sitter for the night from our app is a step towards that goal.”
“Finding a sitter while on vacation is a challenge that many families face, so we’re thrilled that with Care.com’s integration into the HomeAway app, planning and enjoying a family vacation has never been more simple,” added Caroline Sheu, chief marketing officer of Care.com. “As the first travel app that enables families to search through more than 6 million providers on Care.com, families can now easily find, contact and access background check options for millions of vacation sitters no matter where they are.”
The integrations are live and available in the HomeAway app.
Since acquiring Glad to Have You in March 2014, the HomeAway app has undergone a dramatic transformation. Now travelers can access logistical information about the vacation rental and suggestions for dining and entertainment in the surrounding area provided by the property owner or manager. Travelers also have the ability to get a ride with Uber and have groceries delivered via Instacart, thanks to partnerships announced last fall.
“The HomeAway app has been downloaded more than 2 million times and is used dozens of times by the traveler even after a property is booked,” added Sharples. “Our mobile platform is quickly becoming an integral part of the vacation rental experience.”
Want more on Lifestyle Building with a Family? Click HERE for an excerpt from Christy Hovey's The 9-to-5 Escape Artist.