Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A new beginning for holiday home sites

Is the holiday home rental market perhaps seeing a bit of a renaissance? It just may well be so if the activity of the past few weeks is anything to go by.

Yesterday the Daily Mail & General Trust, owners of Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and the London Evening Standard, splashed out £3 million to buy a 50% stake in Villarenters.com, a web resource for private holiday home owners.

Where a few years back the likes of DMGT and Trinity Mirror, owner of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, crawled over one another snap up recruitment websites, it seems travel could be the next area of focus.

“The acquisition of Villarenters.com adds to Teletext’s portfolio of online and TV travel businesses and continues the group’s strategy of increasing its presence in the online travel advertising sector,” DMGT said yesterday.

So what is it about holiday rental sites? There is a general feeling that the quality of a high number of holiday rental sites follow this thread on Travel-Rants recentlyis on the negative side of mediocre.

Texas-based site HomeAway invested heavily in Holiday-Rentals.co.uk last year and is now beefing up the search capability of the non-US sites.

And now Teletext Holidays, the division of DMGT that will run Villarenters.com, has got its hands on 10,000 properties.

What this will undoubtedly mean is that, with the backing and resources of big name media and travel companies, holiday rental sites could improve dramatically in terms of quality and functionality.

There is an equally valid argument, however, that if larger operations start to dominate the market, the smaller, independent companies that have created successful rental sites and survived on a combination of their wits and innovation, could find life far more competitive and subsequently struggle to surive. Which would be a shame...

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


hols said...

completely agree. the decent holiday rental sites will be forced to up their game and it will be a survival of the fittest. but let's not beat around the busy here: a HIGH number of sites really are cr*p and are deeply damaging to the rest of the sector.

Darren Cronian said...

The .com boom is certainly upon us! ;) It's great news that sites like Holiday Rentals & Villarenters are getting exposure in the press - this will only help a sector already undervalued by the travel industry.

Whilst they are a VERY VERY HIGH number of sites that are crap, they aren't necessarily all damaging the industry.

Whilst the holidaymaker's requirements for travelling has changed, and rental sites, just like travel agents need to change, people forget about holiday homeowners.

The requirements of the holiday homeowner hasn't changed - they simply want bookings to make their financial acquisition profitable.

Give them bookings and they will be happy, even if the site is a 1989 nightmare.

It'll be interesting to see who is still around in five years time - I've seen rental sites come and go in the past four years - one certain US cruise company delved into the sector, and lasted 9 months, when they started to get annoyed holiday homeowners shouting down the phone! :-)

CarolK said...

Agree..holiday homeowners need good sites to help them pomote their rental property for which they have made a significant financial investment.