Google ventures into holiday rentals sector

Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of the search engine giant, has taken a first step in to the holiday rental market by investing in HomeAway.

HoweAway announced today Google Ventures has purchased shares in the firm, which is the parent company of HomeAway Holiday-Rentals and Owners Direct in the UK. It said Google would help HomeAway to optimise its sites and to simplify the booking process.

Brian Sharples, chief executive and founder of HomeAway, said: “HomeAway is now at a stage where we want to concentrate our resources on optimising the usability of our websites and setting new standards in the holiday rentals industry. We feel very positive that the new partnership with Google will help us achieve this goal.”

HomeAway operates in 11 European countries as well as the US and Brazil running networks for holiday home owners, property managers and travellers.

It represents over 540,000 paid holiday rental listings in more than 120 countries globally. The firm claimed its turnover grew by 45% to 120 million dollars in 2009.


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