Are HomeAway and Airbnb on a collision course?
In a Wall Street Journal inteview, HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples says the vacation rental company may wait for all of the dust to settle before considering its options to see if any company really makes a lot of money offering peer-to-peer apartment rentals. Says Sharples:
We would rather wait and see how it all shakes out. If a company emerges and makes a lot of money, maybe we would acquire one of those businesses. Based on Airbnb’s recent $1.3 billion valuation, it’s much too expensive for us to consider.
HomeAway, after all, has some big bucks at its disposal and has never been shy about making acquisitions.
Sharples says there’s only a 2% traffic overlap between HomeAway, which caters to families seeking vacation homes, and Airbnb, with its apartment rental clientele, and the inventory commonality is virtually nonexistent.
But it isn’t difficult to envision that the two leaders in their respective sectors could eventually butt heads.
“Could the two business models collide over the long term?” Sharples asks. “I think they could. We could choose to get into that space because we thought it was attractive. I just don’t know if it’s attractive.”
Sharples tells The Wall Street Journal, however, that he is aware that Airbnb may find the vacation rental market appealing and he wouldn’t be surprised to see Airbnb entering HomeAway’s arena.
But, he still expresses some skepticism about the financial viability of Airbnb’s core business.
In the big scheme of things, the peer-to-peer rental business may face some legal pressures, as well.
One former New York City cop has recently been making a living out of posing as a traveler and ratting out apartment tenants to their landlords when they illegally offer their dwellings for short-term rentals on Craigslist, the New York Post reports in an article headlined, “He’s the sublet stinger.”
As Sharples says, a lot of people will be interested in seeing how the peer-to-peer market shakes out and how it will intersect with the vacation rental industry.
Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.