HomeAway, a subsidiary of Expedia, was founded in 2004 as a place for homeowners to post their vacation rental homes. HomeAway does charge an annual fee for homeowners to post their homes and this fee makes up about 80% of their revenue. They also have an alternative posting option where homeowners can choose to give up 10% of the commission for each booking if they do not want to pay an annual fee. Since homeowners are paying the fees, travellers benefit since there are no fees added from booking with HomeAway. HomeAway introduced a referral network of about 40 companies where they support rental owners in managing their rentals, assist with reservations, and answer guest inquiries. HomeAway has also purchased about 20 different vacation rental sites and consolidated them onto the HomeAway site.
HomeAway has locations spread all over the world, and with an easy search bar travellers can quickly find the exact vacation home that they need for their perfect vacation. HomeAway has over 65 million travellers trafficking their sites each month and they offer a wide range of rental properties including from the lowest prices all the way up to high-end luxury rentals.
- Book instantly
- Fraud protection
- Property options
HomeAway allows travelers to book rental spaces online. Property owners are able to specify if they want to include a "Book It Now" button on their listing. This allows travelers to instantly book a property without having to contact the homeowner. For properties that don't include the "Book It Now" button, travelers must first contact the property owner through HomeAway or fill out the contact form in the right sidebar.
HomeAway is commonly known as one of Forbes' "Most Trustworthy Companies". HomeAway makes an extra effort to protect your payments by using a secure payment system that will protect you against fraudulent listings. This means that payments made through the secure HomeAway platform are protected up to $10,000 against fraud. Or an additional fee will protect you against other renting issues like double booking or security deposit issues. Here are some other things that HomeAway offers to protect your vacation rental purchase:
- Carefree Rental Guarantee
- Secure payment options
- Customer reviews
- Ratings and amenities clearly displayed
- Cancellation insurance options
- Damage insurance options
HomeAway has easy search options so you can find exactly where you want to stay and for exactly how long you want to stay there. HomeAway has over one million listings posted so you can easily find the perfect vacation home for your trip. This is what HomeAway supplies in order to assist with your booking needs:
- 24/7 support
- Mobile app (shared with HomeAway)
- No booking fees
- Over one million properties listed
HomeAway offers a wide range of properties, some are more affordable and some are luxury. All of these postings have absolutely no booking fees you can save on the cost of your vacation. For customers who use HomeAway Payments to accept and send online payment, Cancellation Protection is automatically included as an option on the HomeAway Payments payment page. For those who don't use HomeAway Payments, HomeAway offers Cancellation Protection, which safeguards the traveler's non-refundable payments in case they need to cancel their trip for a covered reason. Vacation rental payments typically become non-refundable 30-90 days before the arrival date.
Cancellation Protection Features:
- Protects insured trip cost up to $50,000 if guests need to cancel.
- Offers reimbursement if guests cancel their trip due to covered events such as sickness, injury, flight cancellations, mandatory evacuation or job loss. Learn more.
- Travel Delay benefits available if guests are delayed for 12 or more hours due to flight delays, weather, or sickness. Learn more.
- Additional services* can be found on their website.
Each property listing has customer reviews. Each review also has a star rating, so potential travelers can easily determine the quality of the rental without having to read through each review.
HomeAway has a mobile friendly site. The mobile site makes it easy to enter the desired location and dates on the landing page. The site's design also makes it simple to browse rental listings. HomeAway also has the "HomeAway & VRBO Vacation Rentals" free mobile app.
- Rentals are not exclusive
- Large fees
- Not all fees are refundable
There are a few things that HomeAway could improve. Firstly, since this website is part of the HomeAway family of websites, the vacation rentals posted on this site are not exclusively posted on HomeAway. Most postings can be found on multiple websites, which means it's not that necessary to specifically visit HomeAway. Additionally, HomeAway offers multiple ways to protect your vacation plans against fraud or poor circumstances; however, most of their protection programs have a large extra fee attached. Here are a few things that are not so good abut HomeAway:
- Large fees with guarantees
- No verification
- No protection for customers who do not pay with HomeAway secure
- No free cancellation
The biggest issue with HomeAway is the large fee associated with damage insurance, cancellation insurance, and the Carefree Rental Guarantee. These fees become exponentially larger depending upon the price of your total vacation. Make sure to use their fee calculator so see how expensive these add-ons would be for your vacation.
Another issue that customers have been commenting about is the fact that HomeAway charges a customer's credit card upon booking, but owners are not paid until renters are in the house. If customers go to cancel the rental, customer's will not be refunded certain fees. Most other companies refund these fees as a courtesy to renters if they have to cancel.
The Bottom Line
We would recommend HomeAway as a great place to find your next vacation rental. Since Forbes voted them one of America's most trustworthy companies and they boast over one million postings, you are bound to find a rental that works best for you. If possible, try to find a vacation rental you feel is secure so you can possibly skip out on those extra insurance fees. Those that use HomeAway can expect the following from the platform?
- There are no fees for travelers, so they can book vacation rentals at no additional cost to the rental price.
- HomeAway shares rental properties across the United States and throughout the world.