VRBO, the vacation rental brand that sits within the HomeAway empire, looks set to continue as a standalone service following investment in a new look and tools for customers.
The pair's mothership, Expedia Group, is "doubling down on what made the business successful," HomeAway president John Kim says, almost 25 years on from the service's launch in the United States.
VRBO, now to be pronounced "Ver-boh," the company says, will feature in a new national television and digital ad campaign to support the rebranding efforts.
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Part of the new look (including a logo, etc.) will be the introduction of features to make it easier for families and friends to search and book properties on the platform.
Trip Boards will allow people within a group to select their favorite locations and properties, with a voting system put in place to determine the most popular.
The site will also introduce virtual tours on the site. There are currently 15,000 360-degree "virtual walkthroughs" available for visitors.
The decision to rebrand and back the service comes almost a year after Expedia Group president and CEO Mark Okerstrom admitted there was some "degree of complexity operationally" with having two vacation rental brands in the portfolio.
The disadvantage was offset with knowing that each brand had a loyal customer following and there was no overall detrimental impact on being able to grow the group's full vacation rental business.
Okerstrom added at the time: "But certainly if we were able to concentrate all of our marketing dollars and all of the customer and supplier-side loyalty in one brand, it would be a simplifier in our life, and I think could be a benefit."
Eleven months on, Kim says the site is committed to "helping connect vacation rental owners who rent their homes, cabins and condos to people who want space to drop distractions of everyday life and simply be together on an unforgettable trip."
He adds: “We’ve focused our technology and talent on improving how families and friends travel, making it easier, more fun and more engaging.”
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