So HomeAway has done it. They have now officially gone in competition with rental agencies. HomeAway, announced today, a tool that allows owners to duplicate what an agency does. Granted the tool is very limited, but it does provide credit card processing and the ability to automate the rental agreement. For owners using this, one thing they should ask is: can it be used on non HomeAway bookings, and if so, does HomeAway have any rights to that tenant’s contact info if an adds a new tenant? We would love to know the answer to that question ourselves. From the professional managed side of things, it will not be long before HomeAway starts doing travel insurance and damage waivers and everything else Expedia provides.
When HomeAway bought ISI and Escapia, it became very clear to us at Barefoot that HomeAway had their sites on not staying within the traditional vacation rental portal model, but to expand and really muddy the line between the two models. As a professional rental company you need to think long and hard about how this is going to affect your business, keeping your head in the sand is not an option unless you want to pull it out just as you fire you last employee and lock your doors forever. Your traditional professional rental model is now changed and as we mentioned above this is just one of the items. Barefoot, as the most innovative rental software in the industry, also walks this tightrope and will follow what our clients and partners suggest and have tools both to link and embrace the HomeAway evolution as well as to compete with the HomeAway model. We look forward to your comments.