Archives for posts with tag: homeaway

Though Tripping, a one-time social travel site, has begun to make a name for itself in metasearch for vacation rentals, the start-up has bigger ambitions.Tripping vacation rental

Now it will get a boost with the help of venture capital.

Tripping revealed via a Facebook post last night that it has received a Series A round of financing. The round closed on May 9.

A source told Business Insider that the round was more than $5 million, though the start-up would not confirm the sum.

Tripping, which launched in 2010 [see our TLabs profile], said the investment was co-led by an existing investor, Quest Venture Partners, and a new one, Recruit Holdings.

The later investment was by the RGIP Fund, whose existence Recruit Holdings revealed today. It’s a 4.5 billion yen venture capital fund in Japan.

RGIP says it plans to make additional investments in other travel companies to add to its existing ones in Jalan (one of Japan’s largest travel websites), PegiPegi (Indonesia), (Vietnam), and (Philippines).

A number of other new investors, including former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford, Qunar founder Fritz Demopoulos, and NFL athlete Shawntae Spencer, also participated.

Succesful pivot

Tripping has 16 suppliers, such as HomeAway, HouseTrip, Flipkey, Interhome, and, and it says this coverage gives its users access to 1 million properties worldwide.

CEO and founder Jen O’Neal said in an interview that the company has a queue of about 40 suppliers that it wants to add to the system.

“There are a ton of regional players in holiday home and short-term rental that don’t have the resources to get distribution visibility, and we’d love to send traffic to them and also deepen our global coverage.”

Until last month, Tripping was a five-person team, though it has now added three more staffers to its offices at 111 New Montgomery in San Francisco.
O’Neal also plans to use the funding to boost marketing spend, to drive more traffic to the site. She says that, up until now, the company hasn’t done more than $1,000-a-month worth of marketing.

She declined to share her company’s traffic or revenue numbers.

Founder’s story

Tripping launched in 2010 as a social travel site connecting local hosts with travelers, a la Couchsurfing. It gained users in 150 countries within 30 days, but it never found a viable revenue model.

O’Neal decided to take her team to Lake Tahoe for an off-site brainstorming session. They tried to rent a place on Airbnb or VRBO. But the research phase was so painful that they gave up and opted for camping in Big Sur instead.

As O’Neal tells it, around a campfire, they realized that bringing the aggregator model to vacation rentals was a potential opportunity. Within 30 days they launched that as their new business plan.
In 2011, they received a seed funding round of $1 million, in a round that included Launch Capital and Tim Draper of DFJ Venture.

This month’s funding comes on the heels of’s launch last week of, a standalone brand in the market.

O’Neal says that the deepening market work by global brands has a halo effect for the vacation rental industry by helping to build consumer confidence in the concept, which boosts transactions for smaller players indirectly.

Now the big dream for Tripping is to scale. It estimates that the vacation rental market is $85 billion in the USA and Europe alone. Says O’Neal:
“The vacation rental industry is at least 10 years behind the hotel industry when it comes to online distribution.

It still takes an average of nine days to complete the typical vacation rental transaction, outside of metasearch. As one of our interns pointed out, we put a man on the moon in only eight days back in 1969.”

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Yesterday news reports revealed that Airbnb was raising $400-$500 million dollars from TPG Capital Management LP at a $10 billion valuation.Airbnb

Unlike many darlings of the startup scene, Airbnb has plenty of revenue coming in. But is there enough to justify a value that puts it above the market caps of Hyatt, Accor, Wyndham, InterContinental Hotel Group, and Choice Hotels, not to mention the public and profitable HomeAway?

A few years ago comparing a vacation or short-term rental company to a hotel brand would have been downright silly. At their extremes, rental sites were electronic bulletin boards while hotels were brick and mortar establishments with lots of employees and dependencies.

But as hotels have moved towards asset-light, brand-centric models where they eschew real estate holdings in favor of managing properties for owners, and companies like Airbnb are eyeing a suite of services that encompass the entire travel experience, the comparison is not so insane.

In an asset-light strategy, hotel brands make money from management contracts and a double-digit share of gross revenues. Airbnb collects fees from the host and the user, and HomeAway offers a mix of plans, from the more traditional subscription to a percentage of each booking. In the end, they all offer the promise of a night’s sleep with a varying array of comforts and amenities. And users discover and book them in much the same way.

What’s a Room or a Listing Worth?

Brand Number of rooms/listings valuation Value of room
Hyatt 147,388   $8.42 billion                            $57,128
Starwood 346,063   $14.97 billion                 $43,258
Hilton 678,630   $21.86 billion                        $32,211
Airbnb(adj)330,000   $10 billion                   $30,303
Marriott 675,623   $16.15 billion                    $23,903
Accor 455,985   $8.55 billion                           $18,759
Airbnb 550,000   $10 billion                            $18,181
Wyndham 600,000   $9.3 billion                    $15,500
InterCont 686,873   $7.93 billion                   $11,545
Choice 500,000   $2.71 billion                        $5,420
HomeAway 890,000   $3.87 billion              $4,348

Who’s on Top

Using some third-grade math, we put a value on each room and listing for the major public hotel companies, as well as Airbnb and competitor HomeAway. Admittedly, there is a bit of comparing apples to oranges here. But understanding which fruit is what helps explain the transition that’s happening.

The number of available rooms held by the hotel chains are disclosed publicly, and they tend to range from single rooms to suites and even to some vacation rentals (at Wyndham and Marriott in particular).

What the Sharing Economy Means to the Future of Travel
Read more about what Airbnb and the sharing economy mean to the future of travel.
A “listing” on a rental website could be for a multi-room house or a bed in a shared room (although that is incredibly rare). They also are not constant. The volume of listings fluctuate by season (summer rentals), opportunity (a big event in town), and need (the host needs to make some extra cash). They may also only be available a few days a week — and can disappear overnight. This is changing, though, as HomeAway and Airbnb are more about professional landlords than one-off hosts.

HomeAway’s number of listings is revealed in public disclosures. The number of Airbnb’s rooms is somewhat of a mystery.The latest number it has shared with media is 550,000 listings. When Skift looked at the New York market, we saw a wide discrepancy — our numbers were 40% less than Airbnb’s numbers — between what it stated on the website and what our data dive revealed. Because of that, we’ve provided both an adjusted number based on a ‘Skift discount’ and one based on Airbnb’s numbers.homeAway

HomeAway has more overnight options than anyone else has rooms or listings, but it’s at the bottom of the pile when it comes to the value of these listings in comparison to its market cap. As HomeAway moves more property managers from a subscription model to a per-night transaction fee, expect this value to increase.

On the flip side, Hyatt does not have the largest market cap (it’s smaller than the Airbnb valuation), but its rooms are worth more than any of its competitors. Starwood and Hilton also appear at the top, with Marriott and Accor sandwiched between the two Airbnb values. Choice Hotels, with its voluminous yet low-budget offerings like Days Inn, brings up the bottom for hotel brands.



Tripping, the world’s largest search engine for vacation rentals, just announced a partnership with leading European provider Interhome (it’s not the sole!)

The deal will make Interhome’s 33,000 vacation properties immediately available on Tripping.

The addition of Interhome is a boost for the already massive vacation rental platform, which hosts over 1 million listings across 50,000 cities worldwide.

Tripping currently aggregates properties from major rental sites including Homeaway, Flipkey, Wimdu, Housetrip…

Founded in 1965, Switzerland-based Interhome is the operator of 15 regional subsidiaries and is one of Europe’s premier providers of professionally managed vacation rentals worldwide, with a concentration of listings in France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

“Partnering with Interhome allows us to expand the properties offered on Tripping, particularly within the growing European market,” said Tripping CEO Jen O’Neal. “Travelers now have thousands of beautiful new properties to stay in, all from a trusted source with decades of industry experience.”

Interhome COO, Jörg Herrmann said the deal will greatly expand its global reach.

“We’re excited to start distributing our listings on Tripping. Our properties will have greater visibility on an international platform, which is a good thing for travelers and hosts alike,” he said.

“By joining forces with the leading aggregator in the vacation rentals space, we’ll also be able to heighten Interhome’s global brand and remain competitive both in Europe and overseas.”

About Tripping

Tripping is a metasearch site for vacation homes and short-term rentals offering over 1 million rentals across 50,000 cities worldwide.

Travelers can use Tripping to easily compare the world’s best home rentals by price, reviews, ratings and location. Based in San Francisco, the company was founded by tech industry veterans from Expedia, Travelzoo and StubHub. You can search, compare and save on your ideal home rental at

Speed and innovation usually characterize successful and growing companies, but when it comes to the prospect of starting to offer HomeAway’s vacation rentals on, Expedia Inc. is noncommittal and taking it all extremely slow and easyhomeAwayexpedia

The two parties announced a partnership last October, and today, during Expedia Inc.’s fourth quarter earnings call, 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.

Expedia will study how adding vacation rentals to its accommodation mix impacts conversions, and will expand the offering to the extent that consumers show they are interested, Khosrowshahi said.

Khosrowshahi said the company’s emphasis will continue to be in growing its hotel business, although it is optimistic about the HomeAway partnership, which is in the early stages of testing.

“But it is really too soon to call” how the partnership will take shape, Khosrowshahi said.

Expedia clearly sees hotels as where its biggest margins are. And vacation homes certainly have far fewer rooms than hotels.

Still, Expedia wants to compete with, which offers a broad range of lodging offerings, but Expedia is making no commitments at this stage about what its vacation rental offering will look like.

Expedia officials were very bullish about the performance of its Trivago business, which saw its revenue grow more than 85% in 2013, contributing about 4 percentage points to Expedia’s revenue growth for the year.

With the Trivago acquisition paying off and fueling Expedia’s growth, Khosrowshahi said Expedia will continue to look to grow through acquisition, and will be “opportunistic” about such opportunities.

In response to an analyst’s question, Khosrowshahi declined to discuss Google’s punishment of Expedia for SEO bad practices. “We are not going to comment on speculative articles about our Google trends,” Khosrowshahi said, adding that Expedia’s traffic from Google organic and paid search is growing annually.

He therefore didn’t address the impact of Google’s punishment so far in the first quarter of 2014, with some analysts pointing to Expedia’s SEO presence taking at least a 25% hit.

Khosrowshahi said Expedia constantly audits its SEO practices to make sure they are industry-leading, although that’s a dubious premise given recent events.


Expedia implemented its partnership with Travelocity, providing the back-end to its U.S. site in December, and will have up and running on the Expedia platform in the first half of the year, Khosrowshahi said. The implementation had no significant impact on Expedia’s financial results in the fourth quarter.

CFO Mark Okerstrom said there are a lot of question marks about how the Travelocity partnership will work out. He said Expedia doesn’t know what the conversion rates will be on Travelocity websites as they operate under Expedia’s power as it is an unknown how consumers will react to seeing something different on the Travelocity sites.

In addition, the success of the partnership depends on how much marketing spend Travelocity will put into the effort, and that is “outside our control,” Okerstrom said.

“There is a whole lot of uncertainty about that,” Okerstrom said.

Travelocity’s parent, Sabre, after all, is trying to pull off an IPO and clean up the bottom line so it’s unclear what priority it will give to the Travelocity-Expedia partnership.

Expedia Traveler Preference

Officials said nearly 45,000 hotels have implemented the Expedia Traveler Preference program, which enables them to offer Expedia consumers the options of prepaying for hotels using the merchant model, or paying at the hotel, which brings reduced commission to Expedia.

Okerstrom says the program removed two barriers to the growth of Expedia’s hotel business: hoteliers who didn’t want to work with Expedia because they didn’t want to participate in Expedia’s merchant model program, and consumers who were only interested in paying at the hotel.

Said Okerstrom: ETP “is a very positive catalyst for our business.”

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HomeAway, the world’s leading online marketplace for vacation rentals, welcomes Simon Lehmann, chief executive officer of Biketec AG and former Interhome AG CEO, to its board of directors.

Simon Lehmann

Prior to joining Biketec earlier this year, Lehmann spent eight years as CEO of Zurich-based Interhome, a subsidiary of the Hotelplan Travel Group. Under his guidance, Interhome became a leading vacation rental company in Europe and Lehmann himself achieved acclaim as Europe’s foremost online vacation rental expert.

“We believe Simon’s work to develop Interhome’s internet presence and the professionally managed vacation rental market in Europe will bring a new and significant perspective to our business,” says Brian Sharples, HomeAway(R) CEO and chairman of the board.

During his time at Interhome, Lehmann also held other executive posts within the Hotelplan Travel Group including Deputy CEO and Head of Travel Related & Online Services, where he was responsible for Hotelplan’s online travel agency subsidiary,

“I’m delighted to join HomeAway’s board and look forward to shaping how we deliver the wonderful experience of staying in a holiday rental to families and groups around the world,” says Lehmann.

Lehmann replaces Robert Solomon, who has served as a member of HomeAway’s board of directors since January 2009. Solomon served as chief operating officer and president of Groupon, Inc., from March 2010 through March 2011 and was previously a venture partner with TCV.

Since its debut on the NASDAQ (AWAY) in June 2011, the makeup of HomeAway’s board of directors has transitioned from primarily investors to strategic advisors, including ZipRealty CEO Lanny Baker, former BabyCenter CEO and current Sherpa Foundry CEO Tina Sharkey, former Expedia president Simon Breakwell and Southwest Airlines CMO Kevin Crone.

HomeAway also operates, the most comprehensive global site for finding bed-and-breakfast properties, providing travelers with another source for unique lodging alternatives to chain hotels.

source: homeaway

Vacation rental giant HomeAway is aiming to arm property owners with a one-to-one mobile service for their guests after acquiring system provider Glad To Have You.
Terms of the acquisition announced this week were not disclosed, but is said to be an “all cash transaction”. glad to have you

HomeAway, which was already a technology partner for GLAD (as it is known), says it will make the platform available to all property owners as part of a plan to enhance the relationship they have with guests. The service comes in two guises: GladOwners and GladProfessional.
Both systems (GladOwners is free for HomeAway-registered owners) give guests in-depth details of a property prior to arrival as well as tools show nearby activities.
A “digital guestbook” allows guests to leave reviews and photos of their trip – all of which will feed into the main HomeAway website. The pro version has communication tools between owner and guest, service requests and back-end functions such as analytics, branding and integration with existing platforms such as other reservation services.

HomeAway says some 300 property owners in the US are currently using the system, capturing on average some 15 uses of the app per visit by guests. GLAD’s co-CEOs and founders, Keith Landers and Jason Sprenkle, will stay with the business as consultants during the transition phase, but ultimately the service will fall under the auspices of software vice president at HomeAway, Bill Furlong.

HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples says: “The GLAD team has created a hit product that has received rave reviews from both suppliers and travelers, and we expect it to have a meaningful impact on HomeAway’s customer experience by bringing an even higher level of hospitality and professionalism to our existing mobile product suite.”


HomeAway reported a fourth quarter net loss of $1.6 million in part because of $3.8 million in expenses related to its acquisition of Australia’s largest vacation-rental group, Stayz.


HomeAway acquired the Stayz Group, which also includes,, and YesBookIt, for $197 million in an all-cash transaction in December.

That net loss for the quarter contrasted with net income of $4.5 million a year earlier.

For the quarter, HomeAway’s revenue increased 26.1% to $71.6 million, and the company attributed that growth to a jump in average revenue per listing because of its tiered pricing and bundled listings’ offerings.

For full-year 2013, HomeAway reported net income of $17.7 million, an 18% increase compared with 2012. Revenue for 2013 rose 23.6% to $346.5 million.

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The stocks of most major hotel chains were good investments in 2013, increasing by an average of 27% through the year. Hilton’s record-breaking IPO further exposed investors’ confidence in the sector and in its ability to develop into the future.

However, there is increasing competition. The strongest growth in the travel sector is not found among hotel chains–it is found online. Here is a look at one of the fastest-growing web-based aspects of the travel sector.

Vacation rentals

Online bookings of residential properties have increased and are taking the travel sector by storm. Such bookings may include properties rented by owner or via a vacation-rental management company, VRMC. Regardless, this specialty industry now represents 24% of all online bookings, double 2007’s levels.homeaway

In 2008, fewer than one in every two VRMCs offered properties via a web-based interface. At the close of 2012, that number jumped to seven out of 10. As more and more VRMCs list properties online, and individual vacation homeowners see the benefits of listing their properties, this specialized industry will grow.

Market research company PhoCusWright estimates online vacation rentals will make up 30% of the U.S. travel market by year-end — a sharper growth rate than previously experienced.

Start-up turned leader

One company that will lead this growth is HomeAway , an industry leader in matching homeowners with vacationers. It experienced an increase in stock price of nearly 80% in 2013. Since 2010, third-quarter total revenue, and revenue from rentals, has risen year over year. From 2012-2013, total revenue rose 23%; a 108% increase from 2010.

An excellent opportunity to join this travel revolution may be on the horizon. HomeAway registered for a secondary public offering with the intent of using “proceeds…for…purposes, which may include acquisitions…of, or investment in, products, services, technologies or other businesses.”

While current shareholder’s could see a secondary offering as a dilution of earnings, HomeAway’s history should stave off a huge drop in share price. Since its inception, HomeAway has developed an aggressive history of turning new capital into earnings through frequent and expensive acquisitions.

HomeAway’s Competitors

HomeAway is not the only company in the vacation-rental business, nor is it the only acquisition-hungry company. filed Form 8-K with the SEC late last year, informing investors of a material event surrounding its subsidiary

The event is that vacation rentals now make up 22% of’s inventory. As implied by the language in Priceline’s statement, and its analysis of how vacation rentals may influence its finances, this percentage will only rise.

Differing strategies

Priceline now offers vacation rentals through its portfolio of sites; but it also sells hotels, airfare, and rental cars. Priceline operates with a one-stop shopping strategy.priceline

A official indicated the company’s “goal is to be the place…where travelrs can find the right place to stay at whatever budget…no matter where they…wish to travel.” Also mentioned was that current vacation rental listings on the site are only offered in strategically determined locations — where demand for vacation rentals was seen. These rentals, unlike, are only supplied by VRMCs, not individual owners.

HomeAway, on the other hand, focuses solely on vacation rentals. Vacation rentals pose unique challenges by having fewer available rooms per property than hotels and usually lower rates. However, HomeAway has found it profitable to offer its users a massive property database that it continually expands by acquiring similar start-ups all over the globe.

When it comes down to the numbers, HomeAway dot-com offers 570,000 vacation rentals. When considering the entire portfolio of HomeAway-operated websites, that number jumps to more than 773,000 rentals throughout 171 countries. offers slightly less than 90,000 vacation rental properties.

HomeAway’s acquisition strategy is designed to expand its online offerings and make it a more specialized online travel agency. Priceline’s acquisition strategy is designed to expand its online offerings and make it a more diverse company that can meet the needs of any traveler.

Whichever the method, both companies have demonstrated a willingness to do what it takes to stay ahead of the competition — to stay ahead of each other — and to be leaders on the growing online sales front.

Continuing into the future

Watch for HomeAway’s secondary public offering and to see which region of the world it adds to its vacation-rental database through acquisitions.

Watch for Priceline to continue to identify markets where there is a demand for vacation rentals.

Also, look for Priceline to show an interest in purchasing HomeAway itself as a means of expanding its offerings. Priceline is not a stranger to acquisitions; itself joined the Priceline portfolio in 2005 through an acquisition.

Source : and

HomeAway has trekked into the big leagues of travel booking by betting that an investor’s waterfront villa, a retiree’s ski condo or a family’s spare summer house can trump a hotel as a great place to stay.

A vacation rentals marketplace, HomeAway (AWAY) is now the fifth largest company by market cap in IBD’s Leisure-Travel Booking industry group, after giant (PCLN), TripAdvisor (TRIP), Expedia (EXPE) and (CTRP). HomeAway stock traveled north 86% in 2013 and is up another 2% this year.


With about $330 million in annual revenue, HomeAway remains a distance from the biggest online travel players. But co-founder and CEO Brian Sharples isn’t afraid to take calculated risks to grow the company, which has made 22 acquisitions in the last eight years.

HomeAway bought Australia-based Stayz Group on Dec. 2 for $198 million. Sharples, while in Australia to consolidate the Stayz purchase, talked with IBD about the prospects for his company and the online travel market in 2014.

IBD: How is the Stayz integration coming?

Sharples: We’re really pleased. We had a company here in Melbourne already that was No. 2 in the market. We’re now the clear leader in this region. We expect to leverage that with our other Asia-Pacific assets, for example our businesses in Singapore and New Zealand. And we opened in China early in 2013.stayz

It’s very much like in 2006-07 when we acquired assets in Europe and spent time building that into a pan-European business.

IBD: How big is the market opportunity for vacation travel?

Sharples: We have 800,000 vacation rental listings, and there are 7 million to 10 million … rentals available (globally). Our share is still quite low. It can get a lot better.

We have a very young company, founded in 2005 (July 2011 IPO). We’re the leader in the category, but it’s still a very early inning.

IBD: What macro trends will shape the rental industry this year?

Sharples: In general, vacation rental suppliers are impacted by the strength of second-home real estate markets. In times of low sales and tight credit, many owners turn to rentals as a source of extra income. In times where markets are more robust, we see more new construction and sales of vacation homes, and therefore the potential pool of supply grows. In 2014 we expect supply to expand as real estate markets stabilize.

IBD: What others issues are affecting the industry?

Sharples: Travelers are impacted by their own assessment of economic conditions, as well as things like the cost of airfare. We expect to see solid growth in travel next year as the economy improves, and also expect competition among airlines to keep the cost of travel reasonable.

IBD: What sets HomeAway apart from your competitors?

Sharples: The biggest advantage we have, and biggest barrier to entry for others, is we’re the market leader.

The most-reviewed HomeAway luxury rental is Casa de Frutas in Costa Rica. It sleeps 8 for $4,500-$6,000 a week, has a butler, and monkeys visit.

The most-reviewed HomeAway luxury rental is Casa de Frutas in Costa Rica. It sleeps 8 for $4,500-$6,000 a week, has a butler, and monkeys visit. Casa de Frutas in Costa Rica

This is a classic marketplace business. We market directly to consumers, both for the supply and demand part of that.

What sets anyone apart is scale. You feel better off in a market that has scale. We have many multiples (of rentals) of anyone else in the world, and several times the consumer traffic.

IBD: Do you plan to expand into any new markets?

Sharples: We’re hard at work to expand in South America.

We have a very strong position in Brazil, the biggest vacation site in South America. We’re No. 1 there. We’re also building a base in Argentina.

And we’re looking at Eastern Europe. We haven’t had much activity there but there’s quite a bit of vacation volume rentals, for example in Russia and Turkey.

IBD: What is HomeAway’s acquisition strategy?

Sharples: Mainly what we do is look for leaders in new geographies. We look for profitable businesses first of all. Next we look for high quality rentals.

We’re going country by country around the world, and in discussions with many companies.

In Spain we decided to go it on our own. That’s been hugely successful for us. We’re the leading (online travel) company in Spain.

There were companies to buy there, but we didn’t because of the (high) price.

IBD: How would you describe typical vacation travel customers?

Sharples: For us that’s a real differentiator. Our customers are first and foremost families. Statistically, 70% to 80% are families with two or three kids and looking for a place to rent with more space and comfort than a hotel.

The balance are groups traveling. For example, guys going skiing, or a girls weekend out or college buddies who get together once a year.

Our customers are also relatively older and more affluent than other companies’.

IBD: What’s your 2014 outlook for the vacation home rental industry?

Sharples: We’re expecting strong growth rates to continue.

We care about the overall economy. But it doesn’t affect our business as much as other businesses. In a good economy, people buy and rent more vacation homes. In a bad economy, people who have vacation homes decide to rent them because they need money.

From what I’m seeing, Europe is stabilizing, the U.S. is getting stronger and Asian growth is unabated.

In Brazil the World Cup is coming and the Olympics. I’m optimistic about the coming year.

IBD: How is the online vacation industry evolving?

HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples is exploring South America horizons.

Sharples: Our marketplace has historically been a classified (ads) market. The vacationer and rental owner agree on a price and go off and figure out how to make that happen.

This year we built and launched online pay-per-booking capability. We will operate a little more like the hotel industry. Consumers like to pay by credit card. They want to see an invoice and what they owe.

More and more we’re pushing transactions to happen through our platform.

( started offering a pay-per-booking arrangement last year, and on Thursday said it’s also available on, a vacation-rentals-by-owner site it operates.)

IBD: What lessons did you learn as HomeAway grew from startup to the market leader?

Sharples: Lessons learned from failure are the most important ingredients to success. I spend time when I bring people into the company focusing on what things have gone wrong in their lives and how they learned from them.

My first company I ever started in my late 20s was a spectacular failure. I lost almost all of the money quickly. I was trying to build a marketplace for used automobiles with physical sites. I would go to football stadiums and set up massive events. A freak storm came in and literally destroyed the event. That taught me you have to work hard to plan for things that might go wrong.

IBD: What could HomeAway be doing better?

Sharples: Our model is not as clean as finding and booking a hotel room online is. Our goal this year is to make it as easy as booking their hotel room. We’re a 5 or 6 on that today on a 1-to-10 scale. And we hope to get to a 9 or 10 this year.