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The world’s leading accommodation website,, is expanding beyond hotels with

The new website was announced at the 2014 Global Summit at the company’s Amsterdam headquarters on Tuesday local time.villa in Mauritius is aimed at travellers who are after long-term stays in accommodation that is self-catered and suitable for large groups.
Its main point of difference to similar websites is that travellers are given instant confirmation via email after they’ve made a booking.
It also guarantees availability at a booked property, sparing any headaches with double bookings.

“This is not just another start-up creating more fragmentation in the vacation rental space,” Megan Anderson, Global Head of, told media.

“When you book with villas, you’re booking with the world’s largest accommodation provider,” Anderson said, referring to
The site is supported by’s 24-hour customer support team, and travellers won’t be charged credit card or booking fees.
“We see many sites that want to charge you to use the site,” said Anderson. “That’s never going to be the case on”

More than 146,600 holiday rentals across 176 countries are listed on

The majority of those rentals are in Europe, but Anderson said that will change as they expand.

There are currently 2547 properties available in Australia, in places such as Port Douglas, Byron Bay and Esperance.
There are 330 New Zealand properties listed, in, for example, Wanaka, Napier and Dunedin.

Anderson said the introduction of was not in response to a fad among travellers to stay in apartment-style accommodation but rather a desire by to “serve that customer and that segment of the market in a better way”. has a focus on sub-regions, meaning travellers can easily find accommodation outside major city and tourist centres.
Country-specific experts have also provided suggestions on where visitors can go, and the site features holiday ideas as well as a range of search filters, such as pet-friendly accommodation.



The largest hotel-booking company on earth,, has been adding vacation rentals in Europe, but HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples seems unfazed by it, and in fact he’s learning some lessons from’s practices.bookingOn the advertising front, HomeAway is in the midst of an about-face. The company that offered TV and digital advertisements for Super Bowls in 2010 and 2011, is basically giving up on off-line advertising for now in favor of display and SEM ads.

That is the model that has traditionally used, Sharples acknowledges, adding that is Google’s largest advertising customer. [, however, recently launched an offline advertising campaign in the U.S.]

Sharples says HomeAway spent about $10 million last year in off-line advertising, and will take that money “and spend a year getting really good at search-engine marketing.”

The new strategy coincides with HomeAway’s decision to transition to an optional pay-per booking model for vacation rental owners, starting in the third quarter of 2013, instead of its single-minded reliance on subscription revenue.homeaway

It didn’t pay to arbitrage traffic to HomeAway’s sites in the past because traffic was adequate and increased traffic didn’t translate into buffed-up margins, but all that changes with the pay per booking model, Sharples explains.

Not fearing and other OTAs

Sharples notes that has been adding some vacation rentals in Europe, and also offers hostels and apartment hotels in addition to traditional hotels, but he doesn’t think will get into vacation rentals in a major way.

He thinks will continue to “play on the margins of vacation rentals” because the amount of vacation rentals in a given destination would overwhelm the number of hotels, hurting’s core business.

At the same time, Sharples observes that none of the major online travel agencies have vacation rental tabs, and even Expedia only decided to launch vacation rentals through TripAdvisor, when the latter was still an Expedia subsidiary.

It’s always the same old story, Sharples explains: When it comes time to ink a partnership deal on vacation deals with HomeAway, an OTA’s vice president of hotels always walks in and says the big chains will never go for it.

Case closed, and deal gone.

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On another media : We Don’t Consider Airbnb Competition: HomeAway CEO : we-don-t-consider-airbnb-competition-homeaway-ceo