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Definitive Guide to Homeaway

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition

Last updated: June 25, 2019
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The modern vacation has morphed into a completely different beast. No longer do vacations consist of merely chain hotels and grim-looking continental breakfasts.

Vacations are now much more than that thanks to the rise of vacation rental sites like HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO. We can now say goodbye to the stale cookie cutter accommodations and say hello to unique homes like beach houses and cabins with mountain views.

Rental platforms like HomeAway have completely transformed the travel industry, providing travelers with new and unique ways to travel. The vacation rental industry has also opened the doors to an entire market for homeowners to turn a profit by renting out their vacation homes or rental properties.

We’re here to take a look at HomeAway and give you a definitive guide to finding a vacation home as a traveler, as well as additional information if you’d like to start making some extra cash by listing your property on HomeAway.

What Is HomeAway?

HomeAway is a vacation rental service that gives travelers access to private accommodations while providing a way for homeowners to rent out their available properties.

Platforms like HomeAway open doors to a whole new world of travel experiences and opportunities to create memorable vacations with your family and friends.

By enabling travelers to stay in homes rather than opting for traditional forms of accommodation, travelers can stay in amazing private accommodations all across the world.

To top it off, homeowners can take vacant properties and turn them into cash cows, especially if they’re in sought after areas.

Unlike some competitors, like Airbnb, HomeAway only offers private accommodations, rather than also having shared living spaces. VRBO is the same in that it also only offers private homes.

Since people often have questions regarding VRBO and HomeAway, let’s take a look at how they compare.

HomeAway vs VRBO

HomeAway and VRBO are almost one and the same. Since HomeAway now owns VRBO.com, the two vacation rental websites both offer pretty much the same exact service — private accommodations around the world that are rented out by homeowners.

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and HomeAway competed over listings until 2006 when HomeAway decided to acquire its rival for $160 million. Both companies were then acquired by Expedia in 2015 for a whopping $3.9 billion.

The two services are still standalone sites, however, the rental process and websites are mirror images of each other. The two brands even share the same listings.

So which one should you use? It really doesn’t matter which one you choose at this point since the two offer the same properties on both sites. We wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see the VRBO brand slowly drift away and roll up into just the HomeAway brand.

Where Is HomeAway Available?

With over two million listings across 190 countries, the options are plentiful when it comes to finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Listings come in all shapes, sizes, and prices, perfect for any vacation and budget.

You can find listings all across the United States, from Austin, Texas to San Francisco, California. Plus, you can find properties in almost every single country in the world.

To give you an example of what type of properties are offered are available across the United States, here are a few search results in popular destinations:

Some of the most popular countries across the world that HomeAway services include the following:

  • United Kingdom
  • Brazil
  • Spain
  • France
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Mexico

There’s a pretty good chance that wherever you want to go in the world, you’ll be able to find a HomeAway listing.

HomeAway for Travelers

HomeAway takes the pain out of vacation planning. Travelers can easily browse through the many listings while feeling a sense of safety and security that HomeAway provides its users.

So how does it work?

How Does HomeAway Work?

HomeAway connects travelers with homeowners and facilitates the vacation rental exchange between the two parties.

As a traveler, head to HomeAway.com to begin your search for a vacation rental property. The HomeAway platform enables users to either browse through vacation rental categories to find future vacation ideas, or if you know exactly what you want, the ability to search for specific properties.

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition

After you plug in your destination, desired dates, how many people you’ll be traveling with, and whether or not you’ll be bringing pets, you’ll be presented with a list of accommodation options.

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition - Search

From there you can choose a listing that interests you and dig deeper into the property details. You’ll be able to search through helpful information like a comprehensive property description, complete list of amenities, and previous guest reviews.

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition - Property view

If you have questions, you’re able to reach out to the property owner to clear anything up. If you like what you see, then you can decide to book the property immediately.

After you submit your booking request, you’ll need to wait up to 24 hours for the homeowner to confirm your reservation. Once they confirm your reservation, you’re all set.

All of the payment processing will occur through HomeAway unless it’s otherwise noted on the booking details. The homeowner will then follow up with any additional information you’ll need regarding your visit.

How Much Does It Cost?

HomeAway is free to sign up for and use. The cost of HomeAway bookings all depends on how many people you’re traveling with, the location of the property, the dates in which you travel, and the price the owner charges.

It goes without being said that nicer properties in high-demand areas will command a higher price point. This is also true when it comes to the dates you’ll be traveling. Dates around the holidays and summer vacation periods will yield more expensive listings.

Regardless of all of these factors, you’ll also need to pay some additional fees and service charges for using the HomeAway platform.

For every HomeAway booking, you’ll be required to pay a HomeAway service fee that is about 6 to 12 percent of your listing price. This fee goes straight to HomeAway to fund their operations and platform upkeep.

You also will likely be required to pay any booking fees that the vacation rental owner or property manager charges on top of the price of the listing. These fees can include cleaning fees, an extra charge for bringing a pet, or maintenance fees. The amount of fees that you’ll be charged will be up to the property owner to decide when they create the listing.

Lastly, you’ll also need to pay any taxes that apply to your booking. All of your fees and taxes that you’re charged will be detailed in your booking invoice before you confirm your reservation.

Sign Up Requirements

In order to use HomeAway as a traveler, there aren’t any sign up requirements. The only information that’s required is your name, email address, phone number, and payment information.

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition - Begin booking

To sign up, you can simply find the property you wish to book and navigate to the checkout page. Once there, you’ll be required to enter your personal and payment information. It’s as simple as that.

HomeAway Promo Codes

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition - Coupon codesHomeAway will sometimes offer promo codes, coupon codes, or special offers to discount your stay or your annual subscription fee (for homeowners listing their properties, which we get into below).

Typically promotion codes will come around during promotional periods, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Unfortunately, at this time we were unable to find current discount codes that are available to use on your next booking or subscription, however, HomeAway does offer promo codes through third parties.

Services like Retail Me Not and Giving Assistant allow you to sign up, copy a HomeAway coupon code, and then you’ll receive cash back on their site to use however you wish.

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition - Coupon code

For example, on Giving Assistant, you can currently receive 40 percent off your next booking by applying their promo code to your order. The 40 percent off that you’ll receive will be reimbursed to you through the Giving Assistant site in the form of cash back that you can use on their platform.

By using these third-party sites, you’re sometimes able to find amazing deals. To receive access to these vacation rental deals, you’re required you to sign up for those platforms. However, if you go through the trouble you can receive a discount which is more than not receiving anything at all.

HomeAway for Homeowners

Listing your property on HomeAway is an excellent way to make some extra money on the side. If you have a property that you’d like to turn into an income generator, HomeAway is a great option to facilitate the rental process.

Let’s take a look at how much it costs to use the HomeAway platform.

Host Fees

In order to list your property on HomeAway, you’ll need to pay a $499 annual subscription fee. This fee will cover 12 months of platform usage and will show your property to travelers around the world.

While this fee seems quite high, this is the only fee that you’ll need to pay for the entire year. You’ll be able to keep all of your bookings profits and won’t need to pay a percentage to HomeAway for every booking made. You will, however, be responsible for any taxes and credit card processing charges.

Requirements to List Your Property

In order to list your property on HomeAway, your home must be a private accommodation that requires the basic amenities to create an enjoyable stay for your guests.

You’ll also need to accept reservations, avoid cancellations, and always be responsive with your guests. At the end of the day, you need to provide a top-notch experience for your guests to run a successful and profitable listing.

To list your property you’ll also need to provide mandatory information like where your property is located, a detailed description, contact information, and your home’s pricing and rules.

Here is a list of everything you’ll need to provide to create your listing:

  • Location Details: Address, map location
  • Profile Description: Headline, description of property
  • Property Information: Property type, number of rooms, number of guests, photographs
  • Contact Information: Email, phone number
  • Pricing and Rules: Rates, fees, and cancellation policies

To make your listing go live, you’ll need to have all of this information filled out and have a fully completed profile.

HomeAway Customer Service and Support

Whether you’re a traveler or homeowner, there will come a time when you’ll need to contact HomeAway for help or report a problem. This could be to solve an issue with your booking, file a property complaint, or contact the homeowner regarding your trip.

HomeAway does a good job making their customer service accessible and easy to navigate. HomeAway’s customer support is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Both travelers and homeowners go through the same channels to seek support and customer service.

The first step to solving any issue is seeing if you can figure it out on your own. This is where the HomeAway help section on its site can give you a helping hand.

HomeAway Online Help Forum

HomeAway has an extensive help section on its site that provides you with a great deal of information you can use to troubleshoot on your own. If you head to help.homeaway.com, you can begin solving your issue immediately.

The help section is broken down into many categories like finding and booking a property, safety details, mobile app questions, and account information. If you don’t know where to start, then you can either browse through topics or type in your problem in the search bar.

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition - Help forum

If you’re unable to solve your issue, then you can move onto reaching out to customer service directly for help. Let’s take a look at how travelers and homeowners can reach out to contact customer service. First, let’s start with the HomeAway phone number.

HomeAway Phone Number

Travelers and homeowners alike can call one of these two phone numbers to contact HomeAway customer service — 1-887-228-3145 or 1-512-782-0805.

Calling HomeAway directly will quickly put you in touch with a real person. From there you can indicate if you’re a traveler or homeowner and begin solving your issue.

We always prefer calling HomeAway support directly because there’s a good chance this is the easiest and fastest way to find answers and solve your problem quickly.

HomeAway Online Chat Support

Contacting HomeAway’s online chat support is a great second choice for solving your booking or listing issues. If you’d like to pursue this option, then head to the chat portal located here.

Once there, you’ll see the following options in the screenshot below, which include your name, email, language, and the listing number in question.

The Definitive Guide to HomeAway: 2019 Edition - Live chat

Fill this form out, tap the “Start Chat” button, and you’ll be immediately connected with an online support team member.

Start Planning Your Next Trip

HomeAway provides travelers with amazing rental homes that pave the way for unforgettable travel experiences. It also enables homeowners to take advantage of their vacant properties and make some cash on the side.

By using HomeAway, you can make your next vacation the best vacation yet. Maybe it’s finding a beach vacation rental you can escape to in Miami or Myrtle Beach, or perhaps an amazing secluded cabin in Texas hill country for you and your family to enjoy.

You could even travel internationally and organize a France vacation in Paris or a city trip to London. The opportunities are endless.

Good luck planning your next trip!

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