HomeAway, an online marketplace for vacation rentals, has been on a mission to expand the company in the Asia Pacific region over the last few years, investing and purchasing companies in that corner of the world.
That trend has now continued with the purchase of Australian vacation rental company the Stayz Group from Fairfax Digital, which was announced via a blog post from HomeAway on Wednesday.
The deal was an all-cash transaction that was worth $198 million, and will give HomeAway access to sites that include Rentahome.com.au, TakeABreak.com.au, and YesBookIt.
HomeAway says that it expects to integrated Stayz’ inventory into its pay-per-booking inventory in the US and Europe, in order "to generate additional traffic for Stayz properties from international markets."
“The acquisition of Stayz adds 33,000 additional Australian-based properties to the HomeAway network. It also provides HomeAway a strong momentum to our newly-launched pay-per-booking business, something Stayz has worked over the years to optimize,” HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples said in a statement.
Founded in 2005, Austin, Texas-based HomeAway is kind of like Airbnb except exclusively for fully-furnished vacation rentals. Users simply select where and when you want to go, how many bedrooms, and how many beds and HomeAway digs up properties for them.
HomeAway lists more than 773,000 rentals from 171 countries, and operates websites around the world, including VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com in the United States; HomeAway.co.uk and OwnersDirect.co.uk in the United Kingdom; HomeAway.de in Germany; Abritel.fr and Homelidays.com in France; HomeAway.es, Toprural.com in Spain; AlugueTemporada.com.br in Brazil; and HomeAway.com.au in Australia.
Before going public in 2011, the company raised $513 million, including a $250 million round of funding from Technology Crossover Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners and Redpoint Ventures in 2008.
Founded in 2001, Stayz is an advertising website which allows property owners to list and promote holiday accommodations, and receive and manage enquiries in relation to their property.
The company says that in the last year over 430,000 nights have been booked through Stayz, and that, on average, the site receives 550,000 monthly unique visitors. In the last year, Stayz has grown its inventory to over 30,000 holiday rental property listings.
Stayz generated AU$25.4 million in revenue in its last fiscal year 2013, which ended in June 2013.
The company, as well as all of its 40 employees, will continue operating out of its current headquarters, located in Sydney. The office will be managed by Anton Stanish, General Manager for Stayz.
“HomeAway is absolutely the perfect partner for us,” Stanish said in a statement. “By joining forces, our customers benefit from the global reach and technology leadership HomeAway can provide as the region’s and the world’s largest vacation rental company.”
This purchase continues HomeAway's investment and expansion into the Asia Pacific region, which has involved a number of other acquisitions and investments over the last few years.
They began back in 2011, with the purchase of Australian vacation rental brand REA Group, and apartnership with China-based vacation rental company Tujia.com in 2012. In June, HomeAwaypurchased travelmob, an online start-up for vacation rental properties in the Asia Pacific region, and last month bought New-Zealand-based vacation rental site Bookabach.
The company sees significant opportunity in the region.
"More than 100 million people in Asia enter the middle class each year; this has tremendous implications for travel in general, and accomadations via vacation rentals, in particular. We believe the Asia Pacific region represents an outsized opportunity for our industry," Carl Shepherd, HomeAway CoFounder and Chief Strategic and Development Officer, told VatorNews.
"Therefore, it’s important for HomeAway to help shape the industry as it develops because the combination of the privacy, and value of a vacation rental is as appealing to consumers in APAC as they, like other families and groups, create lifetime memories in these unique lodging options."
(Image source: http://blog.zodiaktravel.com)