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Expedia to buy HomeAway
By Ronald Lee
Published: 11/05/15 Topics: Advertising, AirBnB, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0
There’s always a bigger fish. Serial purchaser HomeAway has itself been acquired by Seattle based Expedia. And the price paid for the vacation rental giant? $3.9 billion. The deal is the sign of the times for digital travel sales, which has experienced massive M&A activity, like much of the economy this year.
While HomeAway has been busy dominating the vacation rental industry through acquisitions, Expedia has been doing the same in the wider digital travel sales. HomeAway's many purchases this year (including Seattle based Dwellable just last month), pale compared to Expedia’s yearly activity which include massive purchases of Orbitz and Travelocity. Previously Expedia had focused on hotels, and so the addition of HomeAway to it’s portfolio presents some interesting changes.
Just what is Expedia’s plan with HomeAway? Expedia’s CFO said HomeAway would remain relatively autonomous, with it’s headquarters based in Austin. The main gain for Expedia appears to be hedging. Airbnb is one of the biggest travel competitor left to face Expedia, and of course, focuses on short term vacation rental stays. Expedia’s purchase of HomeAway is a smart move to counter Airbnb’s growing share of the market.
The sharing economy is an attractive market compared to the business of connecting hotel users to hotels. Virtually any home in the world can become a rental property for Airbnb and HomeAway, and Expedia is diversifying to protect against pressure on the hotel industry. Plus, individual home owners are a more attractive partner than big hotel changes. Home owners have very little leverage or sophistication in the business, and generally take what portals like HomeAway and Airbnb offer them. However, distribution might become easier with the Expedia and HomeAway merger.
What can customers look forward to? Integrated booking might be a long shot, but this merger could give customers the ability to directly compare hotel and vacation rental accommodations. This doesn’t appear to be the play the companies are making, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Author: Ronald Lee – Reporter, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0478 – 11/05/15
Sponsor: VRAI –
Best Halloween Advertising. Cheapest too.
By William May
Published: 10/31/15 Topics: Advertising, Marketing Comments: 0
For many years the Philadelphia Cheese Steak shop occupied a triangle corner on busy Madison Avenue on Seattle's Capitol Hill. It seemed to do well but changed hands a few times and gradually did the restaurant slow decline dance.
Meantime, just up the street the Bottle Neck bar opened and soon became a favorite hang out. When Philly closed, the proprietors - Erin Nestor and Rebecca Denk - grabbed the additional space and opened a nice neighbor burger joint. They called it "Two Doors Down" because, of course that is where it was.
Sometimes naming businesses and products is easy but often it is a long laborious chore. Who knows how the new restaurant got its name, but it is brilliant, memorable and fun. That fits the new decor and the food.
Halloween heavy traffic raced past Two-Doors, just as traffic always does, but ahead on the trek home cars were slowing and some pulling over to grab a burger.
All because someone, maybe the genius who named the restaurant, created a cheap but compelling reason to drop into the restaurant.
Pumpkins are cheap. A few orange LED Christmas type lights didn't break the bank. surely the staff had fun making them. Or maybe the customers made them. (What fun.)
Putting the pumpkins in the window would have worked, but simply putting them on the street made them impossible to miss. On this rainy dreary night. It was warm. It was compelling.
They must have sold far more burgers that night because who could resist?
Accepting expensive solutions from advertising experts can produce great results, but advertising is always trial and error no matter how well researched.
On the other hand, creative thinking always wins over new customers, makes existing customers smile and makes the cash register ring.
Author: William May, MayPartners Advertising
Blog #: 0458 – 10/31/15
Sponsor: MayPartners – Pumping Advertising for decades but a new kinda marketing machine. Old fashioned marketing smarts with new technological know how. Our platform of constant promotion pumps up your sales. But you gotta call us now to start. – MayPartners.com
What Goes Around Comes Around for AirBnB
By Ron Lee
Published: 08/22/15 Topics: Advertising, AirBnB Comments: 0
How soon big companies forget, at least in the collective memory.
Perhaps today's lodging usurpers like Expedia, Priceline, HomeAway and AirBnB could learn a thing or two from the advertising history of major newspapers.
Long ago Newspapers like the Seattle times had a field day. They were big and bossy and brash. They could charge any advertising rate they wanted, and increase the cost incessantly.
If the advertiser did not like it, "Tough": said the Times, take your business elsewhere knowing full well the advertiser had no viable alternative. If companies complained the Times would refuse to sell them space or relegate their ads to the nether world of seldom read pages.
Flash forward several decades when, due to plummeting readership and nimble online news sources, newspaper ad sales reps must go begging for advertising scraps.
How prophetic then for the online travel agencies and vacation rental classified ad sites.
Ask AirBnB superhost Kelly Kampen who went public recently, saying his AirBnB superhost account was terminated with no explanation and a canned emailed.
Lovely that AirBnB said something like, "We are not obligated to tell you a reason.."
And did he provide bad housing, or treat guests poorly? No all he did was question AirBnB and just like the long ago world of advertisers who questioned newspapers, he bit the hand that feed him and he will now be starved slowly to death.
Worse yet, AirBnB cancelled Kampen's future guests. Interestingly, AirBnB heavily penalizes hosts for canceling a booking and yet reserves unto itself the right to commit the same sin.
Way to go AirBnB,. Many hosts report similar or lesser instances where AirBnb staff seemed callous or, worse yet, unaware that what goes around comes Around.
We can only hope that one day we'll look back at the hubris of Internet companies with the same grin we now reserve for those formerly cocky newspaper rags.
Author: Ron Lee – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0412 – 08/22/15
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