HomeAway’s new app is the TV concierge hotels can only dream of

by Colin Morris
December 14, 2015
One week since its launch, HomeAway’s Apple TV app has attracted millions of content uploads from hundreds of thousands of property owners who use the service to rent out their homes to travelers.
HomeAway has six offices in the Austin area with a 16-story global headquarters under construction at the Domain set to open in 2019.
released its app behind competitor Airbnb and the review site TripAdvisor, but still ahead of any hotel brands, airlines or travel agencies.
In that way, HomeAway and its ilk are typical tech disruptors: Quick adoption of new technologies and the agility to experiment with them has given these companies a competitive edge over incumbents in the travel agency who are slower to respond.
The HomeAway app allows guests to browse and book properties, but its most useful application may be inside the properties themselves. Owners can use it to upload content through a portal and provide information like WiFi passwords, house rules and nearby points of interest, supplemented by results from the travel planning site Gogobot.
Apple featured it among its best new TV apps last week. It’s designed for a seamless, highly visual experience from the beginning of the vacation planning process, when a group can window shop for accommodations together on a TV. Once they arrive and are greeted by their host’s customized Apple TV experience, Gogobot’s recommendations for local attractions are texted to guests’ phones via SMS for navigating the new destination.
A spokesperson for the Austin-based vacation rental marketplace said HomeAway’s mobile app downloads have maintained 50 percent growth over the past few quarters. Fifty percent of HomeAway traffic comes from mobile, compared to the travel industry’s 22 percent average.
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