2 HomeAway Execs “Step Down” – Is Home Away Dying?

By May 11, 2015 Marketing

2 Top Level HomeAway Executives “Step Down” Stocks & Popularity Plummet


homeaway stocks falling

Many of you have shared that you feel your complaints fall on deaf ears at HomeAway and you can’t believe the way HomeAway treats their customers and even wondered “how can they stay in business?”.

I believe the impact of those owners and managers who have spoken up either with their voices or how they spend their vacation rental marketing dollars has really been felt by HomeAway.

If you haven’t yet heard, two of HomeAway’s top senior executives Co-Founder Carl Shepherd and COO Brent Bellm are leaving HomeAway, it’s been officially announced they’re “stepping down”.

Brent Bellm COO |President HomeAway

brent bellm homeaway coo leaving stepping down quiting

carl shepherd co founder home away

Carl Shepherd HomeAway Co-Founder

What could’ve resulted in such a dramatic removal of HomeAway’s head leadership?

You may remember Carl and Brent from the very heated debate I had with both a few months ago. This wasn’t just any debate, it became the biggest online argument involving HomeAway’s COO, Co-Founder and dozens of the biggest vacation rental property managers and professionals. This negative press has undoubtedly hurt HomeAway among these big players. The blog has been dubbed the most commented blog in the vacation rental industry

The announcement of these executives stepping down happened after reports of sinking HomeAway stock. HomeAway is failing to meet up to shareholder expectations and that’s a serious issue for them but is this a long-term problem?

HomeAway stock has been on a consistent downward spiral for over 200 days on Wall Street a definite sound of trouble in “vacation paradise”.

Why Is HomeAway Stocks & Popularity Falling?

One analyst stated HomeAway’s movements to rent vacation rentals with less friction is rubbing some users the wrong way.

There are many smaller property owners who insist on more time to properly vet prospective renters and they haven’t warmed to HomeAway’s approach.

The instant booking option that they’ve been pressing on owners and managers has affected HomeAway in a negative way.

Reverdy Johns the director Blueshift Research LLC went on record saying the switch in HomeAway’s original business model from subscription to pay per booking fees may have contributed to flat renewal charges for property advertisers.

They’re moving one way that’s upsetting some people as it’s brought more listings to the site,” he said. Property owners “are open to more options to list on more places than just HomeAway.” (I love to hear that last statement)

HomeAway’s biggest competitor is AirBnB. Most recently HomeAway has made AirBnB the center of their conversations in several interviews. In fact HomeAway went as far as to create a 2015 advertising campaign costing a 100 million dollars to show how HomeAway is different from AirBnB.

Could the competition of AirBnB be a contributing factor to these changes in leadership and or sinking stocks?

Is it all the new regulations being implemented on vacation rental properties that have investors worried?

Is it also being realized that it’s going to be harder than initially thought to hotelify vacation rentals?

Has it become clearer that it’s going to be even more difficult for HomeAway to be bought by a travel giant like Expedia?

Expedia and Priceline made it very clear that in order for them to consider acquiring HomeAway, properties must be bookable online. This is one big reason there is a huge push to make all properties instantly bookable.

What do you think?

One thing’s for sure red flags went up in April (just before the stocks tanked) when Carl Shepherd sold off 83,074 of his HomeAway shares worth around 2,590,330 U.S. That’s one big payout. Why did he do that? You don’t sell stock if you believe it’s going to increase, do you.

Is this insider trading? Did Carl know something others didn’t? Is the writing on the wall for HomeAway?

Whatever is going on this instability confirms how we can’t trust vacation rental listing sites blindly with our businesses.

We can’t have all of our eggs in their business. We can’t have them tell us what tools to use and separate ourselves from our guests. We need to continue to resist and reallocate some of our vacation rental marketing dollars in places other than HomeAway.

HomeAway and other large listing services have bought out all the sites that made the vacation rental industry diverse, dynamic and a wonderful place of growth and opportunity. Thats a monopoly and unfair to you.

HomeAway has wanted to make it “one way” by eliminating all of your options. If not HomeAway other giants will likely continue to buy out listing sites that excel but there is one competitor to their business model Home Away can’t buy out and that’s Google and other search engines.

In an interview Brian Sharples said HomeAway is focusing on advertising using SEO, email marketing and search engine marketing, the same things I’ve urged everyone here to do.

You can and should be following that model for your business as well. If you don’t think a little guy like you can compete with HomeAway read how one of many owners like Pepe get their vacation rentals on the top of Google.

To read more about how to leverage Google and online marketing and never have to worry about HomeAway hurting your business read the article I wrote about content marketing called “HomeAway ain’t the only way”.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts you (owners and managers) used to be HomeAway’s primary customer but that switched to shareholders over the years but now their primary customer is not satisfied because you’re standing up. Could this change their approach to focus back on giving owners and managers better customer service in order to please shareholders?

I’m not so sure. Brian Sharples recently said he expects all listings to conform naturally to online bookings and if they don’t by mid 2016 he will enforce it.

It would be wise to begin investing your marketing dollars in your vacation rental business not just in HomeAway.  I’ve said it before if you want to get them to hear you “hit them where it hurts… their pockets” and you do that by spending your money elsewhere.

Where do you think HomeAway is heading?

I had someone ask me about this so I’ll ask you…

Would you ever buy HomeAway stock? Have they hit the bottom and If so is now a good time to buy?

Lots of material here. Let’s talk, what are your thoughts on all of this?

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