Google Ventures has entered the holiday home rentals market by investing in HomeAway, Inc., parent company of HomeAway Holiday-Rentals and Owners Direct in the UK. Google purchased shares from existing shareholders to invest in the company.
HomeAway, Inc. is the world leader of the online holiday rentals market, operating sites in 11 European countries plus the market-leading sites in the USA and Brazil. The HomeAway sites provide a global network for holiday home owners, property managers and travellers.
Currently representing over 540,000 paid holiday rental listings in more than 120 countries worldwide, HomeAway’s turnover grew by 45 per cent to 120 million dollars in 2009.
Moving forward, with the help of Google, the company will focus its attention on further technological development, among other things, to optimise its websites and simplify the booking process.
“HomeAway is now at a stage where we want to concentrate our resources on optimising the usability of our websites and setting new standards in the holiday rentals industry, said Brian Sharples, CEO and Founder of HomeAway, Inc. “We feel very positive that the new partnership with Google will help us achieve this goal.”
HomeAway will also benefit from Google’s extensive experience of acquiring and integrating start-ups when expanding in to new markets such as Asia and Australia.