TripAdvisor eyes European rental business, buys HolidayLettings in the UK

TripAdvisor is making a serious and its first move into the European holiday rental business this week after confirming the acquisition of UK business HolidayLettings.


The deal for what was the UK’s last remaining large independent holiday rentals business puts TripAdvisor on the road to becoming an intriguing rival to the dominant player in the sector, HomeAway.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed today.

The purchase of HolidayLettings is the first major acquisition for TripAdvisor in Europe for a number of years. It snapped up review site HolidayWatchdog in February 2008.

But the timing of the deal will not come as a surprise to HomeAway after seeing TripAdvisor buy US-based rental business FlipKey in 2008 and officially launching its vacation rental channel on the main site in 2009.

HolidayLettings was created in 1999 in Oxford, UK. It has since grown to include around 40,000 holiday homes listed in 166 countries around world, attracting 25 million visitors a year to the website.

The business will continue to be run as an independent site, TripAdvisor says.

But the marketplace in the UK has changed in recent years with HomeAway snapping up HolidayRentals and OwnersDirect to spearhead its so far success and reasonably unchallenged push into Europe.

The other major rental brand in the UK is Villarenters, owned by Teletext Holidays.

A report from PhoCusWright in 2008 estimated the US vacation rental market to be worth around $25 billion a year. Unofficial estimates at the same time put Europe even higher.

Although HolidayLettings claims to be completely independent, two-thirds of the business was owned (until today) by RightMove, one of the UK’s largest property sales companies.

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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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  4. nick

    “The deal for what was the UK’s last remaining large independent holiday rentals business”

    I guess that leaves us as the last remaining large indepentent holiday rental business in the uk, we have over 25 000 homes advertised with around 98% from private owners

    I think if Trip advisor wanted to make any challange it needed a site like holidaylettings on its portfolio flipkey just has not quite done it in my opinion the agency population on flipkey is huge. Trip Advisor needs to consolidate the rest of the market quickly to become close to homeaway. From there package them up and deliver the homeowners the results they want.

    its easy to put up a site and populate it with thousands of properties from agencies but that takes away the point of private Listing sites especially for owners.

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  7. gordon

    HomeAway already owns the number 1 and 2 websites in the Holiday-Lettings was sold to the only viable buyer. It certainly didn’t make any sense for RightMove to own it.

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  9. Karl

    This is a interesting move by TA and im sure that HomeAway have missed a trick by not making a move for HL themselves. Nice to see that the rentals market is still a prominent growth area in the industry.

    Congratlations to the HL team.

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