q&a a ri­valry for your rooms

The National - News - Business - - The Life -

Pavel Alpeyev ex­pands on the ri­valry between HomeAway and Airbnb:

What’s the his­tory be­hind the two com­pa­nies?

While HomeAway is a rel­a­tive late­comer to Ja­pan, it boasts a longer his­tory over­seas than its ri­val Airbnb. Founded in 2005 and traded pub­licly since 2011, HomeAway was bought by Ex­pe­dia for $3.9 bil­lion in 2015. The com­pany’s 2 mil­lion prop­er­ties world­wide at­tract an older, bet­ter-heeled de­mo­graphic than Airbnb, mak­ing it more ap­peal­ing to prospec­tive hosts, says Nat­suko Kimura, man­ager for HomeAway.

So how sim­i­lar are they?

The com­peti­tors have con­verged in their busi­ness mod­els. HomeAway switched from charg­ing the hosts to list on its site and now takes the same per­cent­age of trans­ac­tions as its ri­val. Airbnb has set tar­gets on lux­ury tourism, air­fare ag­gre­ga­tion, group pay­ments and guest man­age­ment.

I hear there is a bit of friendly ri­valry between them?

Last year HomeAway ran TV spots in the US pok­ing fun at Airbnb with a ti­tle “It’s your va­ca­tion, why share it,” il­lus­trat­ing the per­ils of shar­ing with ob­nox­ious guests and hosts. The mes­sage would also find a re­cep­tive au­di­ence in Ja­pan, where the cul­ture of po­lite­ness can make it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to re­lax in some­body else’s home, Ms Kimura said. “Ja­panese equate home shar­ing with some­thing young peo­ple do when they travel abroad to learn English,” she said. “Our model is the op­po­site: no host on premises, lux­u­ri­ous home shar­ing.”

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