HomeAway takes aim at Airbnb in spiky new ad campaign

New year, new advertising campaign – nothing unusual in that, except this year the vacation rental giant HomeAway has a new owner as well.

Two months after Expedia Inc splashed out $3.9 billion to get its hands on HomeAway, it is clear where the battle lines are being drawn in the fight for travellers looking for alternative types of accommodation.

Although not mentioned by name, HomeAway has the sharing economy in its sights as the evil nemesis in the marketplace, with Airbnb the chief protagonist.

The new campaign, dubbed “The Whole House. The Whole Family. A Whole Vacation”, features a one-minute video ad to be aired on television, social media and digital channels which “humorously” highlights what HomeAway claims are the differences between its product and those belonging to the sharing economy.

Launching in the US today (18 January), HomeAway’s ad was created with Saatchi & Saatchi in London and is said to be the company’s biggest marketing push so far, costing “tens of millions of dollars”, according to chief marketing officer, Mariano Dima.

The campaign will be extended in the summer of this year to push the vacation rental concept during the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament in France.

Here is the ad:

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Liz

    Mark Goldberg is so right in his comment below about the whole mentality at Homeaway right now. They are positioning themselves to compete with AIRBNB for sure. But, they don’t offer the same product. This is like KFC deciding that they really need to stop selling chicken and start selling 2 ounce burgers because the burger people are getting market share. Or BMW deciding they need to market to KiA buyers. VRBO’s product is different and purchased by a different consumer. Everyone gets a slice. I am a rental property owner and don’t touch AIRBNB. But Homeaway is slapping on service fees and processing fees on top of our subscriber fees… so I’ll be looking for a new upstart to advertise with… and improving my properties private website and SEO.

    • Nansie

      I’m a vacation owner and I’m losing all my rights to Homeaway and all the other sites. I like to call my guest’s before they book, I might give them a discount, I might not depending on the case. .I want there emails, not having to go though big brother to talk with them. I’m not a child! All of these things are being taking away. The problem where to I go! There many vacation sites but they are are attached to Homeaway VRBO etc. Someone start a new vacation rental site that lets the rental owners handle there own business. Very Very unhappy! I’m ready to do my own web site!! Don’t push me.

  2. Phil

    I think you should have added in the article that unlike airbnb the owner (in this case me) bays an annual listing fee, and they take 2% or thereabouts of each payment in a fee and noe they are taking a 6 – 10% fee from renters. My recent experience is that increasing the price to the renter has the effect of reducing demand, I have seen that recently and now HA just tacked on another fee, this time to the traveler in addition to the two fees levied on the owner … I think its going to be time to makes plans not to renew my HA listing later this year.

  3. carla

    the way i see it, the all-the-way-winner here is me, the traveller. airbnb, expedia, homeaway can spend all their millions for ads and fight it out to come up with the cheapest accommodation possible. if it is cheap and fits my travel profile, am in, after all, all i need is a bed and a t/b.

  4. martin kelly

    The Whole House line isn’t new for HomeAway and was used as the tagline for a TVC launched by its Australian subsidiary Stayz in Oct, 2015.

    Very different ad but the tagline was ‘The Whole House, The Whole Family, The Whole Holiday’.

    See http://www.traveltrends.biz/ttn555-dont-book-a-room-book-a-house-says-stayz/

  5. Mark Goldberg

    Such a giant fail. Unless they are aiming for elitist people looking for estates, they just don’t get the new generations. At all. Which is a shame, we spend tens of thousands advertising on HomeAway and nothing on AirBnb. Airbnb is not our business model at all, and we can;t use it. But for our customers, it isn’t at all about “sharing” at all. This will turn off most of our customers, in fact.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @mark – i think “giant fail” is missing the mark (and slightly hyperbolic)… This is positioning from HA against Airbnb… In brand recall exercises, such a message from the campaign will probably sink in.

  6. Natasha

    What about the apartments and villas with shared pools? Surely there are tens of thousands of these types of holiday rentals being advertised by owners on HomeAway.

  7. Elliott Again

    A humorous video but surely they are forgetting and snubbing apartment owners who pay to advertise on their platform? These customers provide their asset (inventory of over 90,000 apartments) which HomeAway monetize via booking commissions, and these have shared swimming pools…


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