Alvin Brickman for Metrosetter Wire
HomeAway have just published a microsite detailing the changes VRBO and HomeAway customers will experience once the VRBO site is fully integrated into HomeAway’s common platform. Changes include new pricing plans for vacation rental owners in the U.S., which means savings for some and rate increases for others.
The new U.S. Bundle enables owners to create and manage listings on both HomeAway.com and VRBO.com from a single dashboard while maintaining the same subscription level across both sites, but VRBO’s current users will see their 12 possible subscription levels drop to five: Classic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
According to HomeAway,”When moving from 12 levels to 5 on VRBO.com we had to map each owner’s previous level to one of the five new levels. While we tried to keep the mapping as fair as possible, this meant cost savings for some customers and a price increase for others.”
While the company will see a decrease in revenue in the short term, they expect to recoup any immediate losses with the long-term strategy of integrating HomeAway and VRBO with 15 sister sites around the world—including HomeAway UK, HomeAway Fewo-Direkt (Germany) and HomeAway Australia—with a “Global Bundle.”
Here’s what Brian Sharples, HomeAway CEO, had to say about their long-term strategy in July:
“Our Global Bundle in Europe and Brazil continue to perform very well, and we plan to introduce a new U.S. bundle that combines HomeAway and VRBO at a single discounted price as soon as the migration is complete, so again, that’s in the coming quarter Q3.
Even with some anticipated loss of revenue from customers who currently purchase subscriptions on both sites, our research and experience suggest that the lower pricing, combined with better integration across the sites, should lead to a net positive for revenue over the long term in our business.”
The primary benefit for owners who select one of the bundles is “the ability to maintain your subscription across all sites so you can get your listing in front of as many travelers as possible.”
As a pricing example, those currently on HomeAway (US) who have already purchased the UK Bundle will automatically be upgraded to the Global Bundle for free for the remainder of their subscription, but at renewal, will see an annual price increase of $129 (from $225 to $349).
HomeAway is cognizant of the continual globalization of the vacation rental industry and has acquired 17 vacation rental and technology companies since its founding in 2005.