updated January 29, 2010
HomeAway, the Austin TX based company who owns most of the major Rent-by-Owner websites (HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, VacationRentals.com, etc.*) will have an ad in the 2010 Super Bowl!
Finally, vacation rentals will be on the scoreboard!
The ad features Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo reviving their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold in the 1983 movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation” about a family on a vacation to “Walley World” (a great movie!).
Brian Sharples, founder and chief executive officer of HomeAway® says: “We’re going to use the Super Bowl broadcast to launch an exciting campaign highlighting the benefits of vacation rentals to reach more than 100 million people.”
Look for their ad on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, 2010 on CBS.
Update: The ad will be a “trailer” for a 15 minute web movie, starring the Griswolds, that they will have on their website. They expect five million visits in five minutes and have spent over one million dollars upgrading their hardware to handle the load.
Vacation Rentals Are a Great Travel Accommodation
I am a long time lover of vacation rentals as an accommodation choice when traveling in North America and Europe (and other places but I have not been to those other places – yet).
I started the Slow Travel website and community in 2000 to share my love of vacation rentals with other travelers. Over the eight years that I ran that website, thousands of people joined the community, posting on the forums and writing reviews and trip reports. Many of them were new to vacation rentals, but many, like us, had been traveling that way for years.
Steve and I stayed in our first vacation rental in the summer of 1988 in Grindelwald, Switzerland. Since then we have stayed in 57 different vacation rentals (103 weeks) in Europe – almost two years of vacation rental travel! And that does not count our North American vacation rentals in Hawaii, California and Arizona.
Vacation rentals have been popular in Europe for decades, but they are new in North America. We have always had vacation rentals in a modest form – summer cottages you rented in the countryside, motels with individual cabins, condos for rent in Hawaii – but it was only with the popularity of the Internet and the birth of these Rent-by-Owner sites, like the wonderful VRBO.com, that the idea of vacation rentals as an alternative to hotels broke through in North America.
The HomeAway Empire
You know the business is a big one when they advertise during the Super Bowl. In 2006 HomeAway acquired most of the major Rent-by-Owner websites, starting with the biggest – VRBO.com. HomeAway took a scattered bunch of Rent-by-Owner websites and turned them into a coordinated vacation rentals empire.
HomeAway do not own the places you rent – you deal with individual owners – but HomeAway made the process of finding and booking vacation rentals directly from the owner much easier than before.
Next Time Let’s Feature European Vacation Rentals!
The second film in the National Lampoon Vacation series is “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, so maybe the HomeAway ad campaign, which will continue after its launch at the Super Bowl, will get to vacation rentals in Europe.
My new website, Slow Europe, is all about finding vacation rentals in Europe. I list my favorite vacation rental resources – local agencies, Rent-by-Owner websites, US agencies – by country and region. Want to spent a week in the Tuscan countryside? Here is my list of recommended vacation rental resources.
If you are new to the wonderful world of European Vacation Rentals, read my Slow Europe Vacation Rental Guide. It tells you everything you need to know to find, book and enjoy vacation rentals in Europe.
Let’s Not Forget the Vacation Rentals Agencies
Because of the popularity of the Rent-by-Owner websites, we sometimes forget about vacation rental agencies. Not every owner wants to list on a Rent-by-Owner website, correspond with travelers and do their own bookings. Many turn to reputable vacation rental agencies who do this for them.
Vacation rental agencies are popular for European vacation rentals. Some are based in the US and work with local European agencies or directly with owners. Others are based in Europe and work locally with owners.
Personally I like to deal with an agency who has many good vacation rentals to choose from, who makes sure their properties are in good locations and in good shape and who can give me good advice for making my choice. I also rent directly from owners, especially if in an area that I know well from previous trips.
- HomeAway.com – Find vacation rentals around the world.
- Press Release – HomeAway Gets in the Game as First-Time Super Bowl Advertiser, October 20, 2009
- AdLand – Holiday season means Super Bowl commercials are coming soon, November 28, 2009
- Wikipedia – National Lampoon’s Vacation
- Update: Austin News KXAN.com – Local co. buys Super Bowl commercial – National Lampoon’s Vacation provides inspiration
* The HomeAway websites include: HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, VacationRentals.com, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk, OwnersDirect.co.uk, FeWo-direkt.de, Abritel.fr and Homelidays.com.
Thank you HomeAway for putting vacation rentals on the scoreboard!