We are excited to announce that BedandBreakfast.com, RezOvation/Webervations and Inns.com have been acquired by HomeAway, another Austin, TX-based company. HomeAway is the leader in the vacation rental marketplace and is the leading provider of lodging alternatives to chain hotels. They are a great fit for BedandBreakfast.com and RezOvation! Moving forward, the same teams you have worked with for years will be staying intact, both in Austin at the BedandBreakfast.com headquarters, and in our Ohio Webervations office.
Like BedandBreakfast.com, HomeAway is focused on making it simpler than ever for travelers to easily find unique and memorable travel experiences. They are used to working with tens of thousands of independent property owners and managers and helping them promote their businesses to the world. HomeAway has built a great company full of smart folks and I am confident that our combined businesses will be able to meet innkeepers’ needs better than ever. They are also working hard to let folks know that there are reliable lodging alternatives to chain hotels. You may have seen their recent commercial during the Super Bowl featuring the Griswolds. You can visit their website by clicking here, and see the Super Bowl ad here.
Aside from my wife and three kids, this business has been my baby, my life and my passion for the last 15 years; selling the business now was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my life. The more I thought about what this opportunity meant for our member innkeepers and customers, as well as for our dedicated team of employees, the more I realized that this opportunity was too good to pass up. I remain as passionate about our industry now as I was when I came up with the idea for the business back in 1994. While I will remain regularly involved in the company as the founder and look forward to seeing many of you at conferences around the country and on the various online forums, I will be stepping down from the day-to-day operations of the business. John Banczak, who has been with the company for six years, will will continue to run both BedandBreakfast.com and RezOvation, and Sandy Soule will be working with the business in a role similar to my own for the next year.
We are sure you’ll have many questions about what this change means to you. In the FAQ below, we’ve addressed some key questions, but please don’t hesitate to contact our support teams with any additional concerns.
Q: What is HomeAway?
A: HomeAway is an international company headquartered in Austin, TX, that specializes in providing travelers with lodging alternatives to chain hotels. Until now, their emphasis has been on vacation rentals. The HomeAway website explains:
HomeAway is the worldwide leader of online vacation rentals, representing nearly 430,000 vacation rental home listings across more than 120 countries. The company has contributed significantly to the popularity of the vacation rental industry, making it easier than ever for both owners to advertise and profit from their second homes and for millions of travelers to find the perfect vacation rental. The HomeAway sites include HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, VacationRentals.com, HomeAway.co.uk, OwnersDirect.co.uk, HomeAway.de, Abritel.fr and Homelidays.com and now BedandBreakfast.com, Inns.com, and RezOvation.
HomeAway is funded by Austin Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures and Trident Capital. The company is based in Austin, Texas and has offices in London and Ashtead, England; Kassel and Frankfurt, Germany; and Paris and Marseille, France.
Q: Why are they interested in B&Bs and inns?
A: Like BedandBreakfast.com, HomeAway strives to provide unique alternatives to chain hotels; B&Bs and inns are a great extension to their current offering. You offer the experience of being at home, while away – only better, since your guests don’t have to fix breakfast or make the beds! With BedandBreakfast.com, HomeAway has by far the most complete product offering in this growing independent lodging segment.
Q: Is BedandBreakfast.com going to become a vacation rental site?
A: No. BedandBreakfast.com will continue as an independent site that lists only B&Bs and inns, and will maintain its separate identity and brand. All of the eligibility requirements to be listed on BedandBreakfast.com will remain the same.
Q: Doesn’t HomeAway only list vacation rentals?
A: No. HomeAway has long accepted listings from B&Bs and inns, in addition to vacation rentals. We anticipate that HomeAway will provide many opportunities for increased exposure for BedandBreakfast.com members
Q: What is happening to the BedandBreakfast.com, RezOvation, and Webervations staff, offices, and websites?
A: All employees are staying on at our Austin headquarters, in our Ohio office, and remotely across the country. Our structure will remain the same, our website will remain the same, and everything will pretty much run on a business as usual basis! All the folks that you have come to know and trust for so many years will still be here! Eric Goldreyer and Sandy Soule will continue to work with the business for at least another year, and John Banczak will continue to run the daily operation of both companies full-time for the foreseeable future.
Q: Are you raising your prices?
A. No. We already announced that BedandBreakfast.com prices will remain unchanged for 2010; there are no plans to change RezOvation or Webervations pricing either.
Q: What improvements are coming from BedandBreakfast.com and RezOvation in 2010?
A. As always, products will continue to be developed and improved. We have been working on our new localization program (international translations), the RezOvation iPhone app, and Weber 2.0. These will be officially announced at the PAII conference in Austin. HomeAway is an extremely innovative company and wants to make sure we continue taking the industry farther and farther.
Q: Is BedandBreakfast.com going to go the way of other directories that have been acquired?
A: No. We all know that change is unsettling, and there are bound to be some bumps along the road. Nevertheless, we expect our member innkeepers to benefit significantly from this deal. HomeAway has clearly demonstrated their desire to drive customers to non-hotel lodging; they are extremely supportive of all our continuing plans to increase exposure and reservations for B&Bs and inns worldwide.