The two firms partnered in March in a deal that saw some 14,000 rentals from Travelmob feature on NASDAQ-listed HomeAway’s site, and it seems that the experiment went well enough to merit a buy-out. The HomeAway service lists more than 740,000 rentals from 171 countries.
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HomeAway says it will pump $2 million into Travelmob to expand its business in Asia, giving it a stronger foothold to go after the lucrative market there. That is what market leader Airbnb did last year, when it expanded to the region and set up an office in Singapore and local customer support teams in an initial four countries.
Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway, said of the deal:
We view Asia as a region where we can build tremendous incremental value for our shareholders and existing customers over the next several years. Given this opportunity, we’re excited to work with the experienced Travelmob team to address today’s market needs in Asia — where vacation rentals are mostly new, but alternative accommodations are not — to build scale and accelerate the development of the vacation rental industry.
The addition of Travelmob will beef up HomeAway’s existing presence across Asia Pacific. The company already has an Australia business — located at the HomeAway.com.au domain — and last year it invested in Chinese rental site Tujia.com. That’s in addition to partnerships with Ctrip in China, Singapore-headquartered Wego and Tripvillas.com.
HomeAway followed Airbnb’s footsteps in April 2013 when it opened a sales office in Bangkok to help service Southeast Asia and the growing market in Thailand.
Speaking to TNW last year, Airbnb co-founder and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk said that Asia has huge potential for the online travel rental industry. Blecharczyk expects that the number of Airbnb rentals in the region could top 2 million, increasing from just 20,000 in 2012, and it seems that its competitors are also focused on that potential.
Terms of the HomeAway-Travelmob deal are undisclosed and the transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks. Travelmob’s founders will retain a 37 percent share of the business.
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