HomeAway relaunches Holiday-Rentals site in the UK as market booms

Holiday home site Holiday-Rentals.co.uk has relaunched its website in the UK as part of a wider programme by parent company HomeAway to align its global brands.

The move comes just weeks after HomeAway received a record breaking $250 million funding round in the US – one of the biggest investments in an online travel company of the past few years and the largest a “vacation home” aggregator has ever received.

The new website is the result of a major initiative by HomeAway in recent months to build a platform and user interface which could be rolled out across its sites around the world.

Co-founder and chief executive Brian Sharples told Travolution this week that the online travel sector has “finally noticed” the holiday home phenomenon, triggering a string of start-ups entering the market in the US and Europe.

A recent PhoCusWright report said the holiday home market is worth around $24 billion a year in the US. HomeAway currently accounts for around 50% of all holiday rental online traffic in North America.

Sharples said estimates for the UK and mainland Europe were around $25 billion a year.

“We have been a huge sleeper industry for many years but people are making a big commitment to the sector now,” he added.

HomeAway has traditionally been a subscription-based system for home owners but the launch of VacationRoost in the US has prompted the company to consider an online travel agency-type model.

Sharples said a hybrid system, where some owners continue to deal directly with the customer and others use a booking platform on the site, could be introduced in the future.

He added that the recent funding round could be used for further mergers and acquisitions.

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