Expedia on Wednesday said it would buy HomeAway, an Austin, Texas-based provider of alternative vacation rentals, for $3.9 billion in cash and stock.
“We have long had our eyes on the fast growing $100 billion alternative accommodations space and have been building on our partnership with HomeAway, a global leader in vacation rentals, for two years,” Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia CEO, said in a press release. “Bringing HomeAway into the Expedia family and adding its leading brands to our portfolio of the most trusted brands in travel is a logical next step.”
Expedia started a pilot program in 2014 that listed 115,000 HomeAway vacation properties. Alternative accommodations, such as those provided by Airbnb, have become an increasingly popular travel option, according to The Seattle Times.
HomeAway has sites representing more than 1 million paid listings of vacation-rental homes in 190 countries. It was founded in 2005 and has more than 1,700 employees worldwide.
The HomeAway portfolio includes vacation-rental websites HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, and VacationRentals.com in the United States, as well as similar sites in the United Kingdom Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
“We’re eager to benefit from Expedia’s distribution, technology, and expertise, which will allow us to provide an even better product and service experience for our owners, property managers, and travelers,” HomeAway chief executive Brian Sharples said in the joint release with Expedia, noting that the company has been moving toward a fully online bookable marketplace and the type of business model with which Expedia has experience.
“I believe our combination with Expedia will turbocharge our growth and industry leadership for many years to come,” he said.
Homeaway also announced a new traveler-service fee on Wednesday. The fee, which is expected to add an average 6% to most bookings, will go into effect mid-2016, but Sharples said working with Expedia would allow HomeAway to deliver more revenue and more bookings to homeowners.
Expedia’s lineup of sites includes Hotels.com, Hotwire, Egencia, Travelocity, and Orbitz.