HomeAway, Inc., is an Austin, Texas–based vacation rental company. Its website, HomeAway.com, serves as a marketplace for more than half a million vacation rental home listings all over the world. Earlier this month, that number rose with the acquisition of an Australian-based vacation rental company, signaling continued improvement for the vacation rental industry.
The site realholidays.com.au, which features 21,000 listings in Australia, was previously owned by REA Group, a Melbourne–based company specializing in online advertising for real estate websites. Before the acquisition, realholidays.com.au catered primarily to Australian travelers. Now that HomeAway has purchased the business, the new owners look to add Australian customers to its client lists and bring existing clients to Australian vacation homes.
In a statement released earlier this month, HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples said, “Australia is a tremendous travel marketplace, and HomeAway is excited to continue the work begun by REA Group to provide even greater choice to Australian travelers. We look forward to working with the realholidays.com.au customers to help them benefit from our technology and the marketing of their properties to a new, global market of vacation rental travelers.”
While the vacation rental market hasn’t recovered from the recent recession quite as quickly as the hotel market, possibly because of its focus on leisure travel, the industry has been cautiously optimistic about the outlook for 2011 and beyond. HomeAway’s recent expansion seems to indicate that business is, at least for one major player, picking up.