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    Expedia’s Acquisition of HomeAway Fast-Tracks Vacation Rental Industry Growth and Leads to Convergence

    The recent news of Expedia‘s acquisition of HomeAway is paving the way for the disruptive convergence of travel, vacation rental, and hospitality industries as LeisureLink finds itself at the forefront of the evolution.

    This strategic move by Expedia demonstrates that the vacation rental market is significant to the major travel players and is confirmation that vacation rentals are quickly becoming a mainstream choice for travelers.  The success of HomeAway and Airbnb has created a “stampede” of some of the biggest names in travel who are now charging towards the $100 billion vacation rental industry. The highly fragmented travel marketplace is starting to come together, and new alliances will unquestionably accelerate growth as well as play a significant role in shaping the future.

    This latest development is a significant step in bringing the vacation rental inventory into the modern e-commerce online era. HomeAway was already moving in that direction, and Expedia’s marketing and technology capabilities in this area were a big driver for the deal.  After all, if their platform is good enough to power Orbitz and Travelocity, why not HomeAways as well? While Property Managers often prefer the listing model, consumers prefer the convenience of e-commerce. This combination will fast-track the vacation rental industry’s move in this direction. This new online world creates challenges for many vacation rental property managers, who control 50% of vacation rental inventory. They are already feeling the pain and loss of revenue from owners selling peak inventory out the back door and calling them in as “owner weeks”.

    To stay relevant, a new technological travel ecosystem will arise. The future belongs to those with the ability to think outside existing boundaries to stay ahead of the curve. The convergence of business models in travel, vacation rental, and hospitality industry will require travel technology providers to reposition their offerings. As an industry innovator, LeisureLink is already established and ready to handle the transition and lead the way for partners and vacation rental suppliers.

    The need for up-to-date rate, availability, specials, and content will increase, and drive the demand for strong channel management solutions in the vacation rental industry. LeisureLink has recently developed new key-level distribution technology that makes it easy to deliver unique inventory to any channel. Key-level inventory is the term used to describe the capability to recognize a specific unit by name or number. Unlike the traditional OTA’s, Airbnb and HomeAway insist on key-level listings with images and details particular to that actual unit. With the largest network of distribution partners, LeisureLink will continue to emerge as the trusted choice to provide these solutions and optimize bookings for vacation rental professionals.

    As the list of gaps between suppliers and distributors continues to grow, LeisureLink continues to build innovative solutions to bridge those gaps. We have enjoyed long and strong partnerships with both HomeAway and Expedia and congratulates both of our partners on this historic deal.  Our team looks forward to working with both of them to grow the vacation rental industry and is excited about the accelerated growth of the vacation rental segment and those who work to be on the cutting edge of its distribution.

    Schedule a demo and learn how LeisureLink bridges the gaps.

    About Julian Castelli
    Julian is the CEO of LeisureLink. He is passionate about the vacation rental industry and has built a team that shares his vision for building the leading distributor of vacation rentals. Julian is a veteran online media executive with more than 20 years of senior-level operating experience and a world-class institutional background.

    Julian founded LeisureLink's predecessor - VacationRoost in 2007. Prior to that, Julian served as Chief Financial Officer of Primedia, a $300 million Internet media company. Julian previously served as CFO of PageNet, a $1 billion public telecom company. He also was a founder and managing director of Cabrillo Advisors, a boutique financial advisory firm. Julian began his career as an investment banker with Goldman, Sachs and Co. in 1990, later serving as a strategy consultant with McKinsey and Company. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Amherst College.

    About LeisureLink (www.leisurelink.com)
    Salt Lake City-based LeisureLink’s distribution services offer vacation rental properties the opportunity to distribute to top online travel agencies like Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb and HomeAway; all the major GDS players and top travel sites. Suppliers can manage their online distribution from one platform – optimizing rates, availability, specials, and content changes. Leisurelink’s specialty consulting services leverage industry experts who understand travel distribution and maximize revenues. LeisureLink consolidates all accounting, payables and receivables with a single, source of payment, providing clarity to the often-complex world of distribution.  This comprehensive service helps LeisureLink clients generate more bookings and save more time.  For more information, visit LeisureLink.com.

    About HomeAway, Inc.
    HomeAway, Inc., based in Austin, Texas, is the worldwide leader in online vacation rentals, with sites representing more than 625,000 paid vacation rental home listings throughout more than 145 countries. HomeAway offers an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, including more room to relax and added privacy, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodations. The company also makes it easy for vacation rental owners and property managers to advertise their properties and manage bookings online. The HomeAway portfolio includes the leading vacation rental websites HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com in the United States; HomeAway.co.uk and OwnersDirect.co.uk in the United Kingdom; HomeAway.de in Germany; Abritel.fr and Homelidays.com in France; HomeAway.es in Spain; AlugueTemporada.com.br in Brazil; and HomeAway.com.au in Australia. For more information about HomeAway, please visit www.HomeAway.com.

    About Expedia.com
    Expedia.com is one of the world’s largest full-service travel sites*, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com (http://www.expedia.com/, 1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, cheap tickets, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps. With the Expedia® Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com customers can get the best rates available online for all types of travel. Expedia, Expedia.com, Expedia Rewards, Find Yours, Vacation Deprivation and the Airplane logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners © 2014 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2029030-501. Based on a comparison of other full-service online travel agencies, defined as those providing booking and services related to air, hotel, cruise, car and activities to a global customer base. Data based on comScore Media Metrix for Expedia, Inc. Sites, Worldwide, Average Monthly Unique Visitors, Oct ’12-Sept ’13.
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