VRS102 – Expedia, Home Away, Airbnb and Giving Back with Matt Landau

It wasn’t unexpected.

The acquisition of Home Away by Expedia should not have come as a surprise, but for many owners and managers, the announcement delivered a wake-up call. And who better to ask about the impact, repercussions and potential fallout of this than Mr. VR Marketing himself, Matt Landau.

Fresh off an interview with the prestigious Huffington Post this week – where I discovered Matt’s connection with Einstein – Matt has had a busy week but took the time to explore a range of current issues with me.

We kicked off with his recent, and exclusive, interview with Shaun Stewart, Airbnb's Global Head of Vacation Rentals where Matt was able to deliver ‘hot off the press’ information on how Airbnb is re-engineering its approach to whole-home rentals.

tweetTweet: OK. Who saw the @Expedia buyout of @Homeaway coming? @Cottageguru talks with @BookMoreNights http://ctt.ec/eRedJ+ pic.twitter.com/iQYG2WI5ww

By simply asking the question, ‘What are the reasons you don’t use Airbnb?’, they were able to establish 16 of the most critical arguments owners and managers raised in response. These are topics we are all familiar with such as cancellation policies, low cleaning caps and lack of support for dynamic pricing. Matt’s post on his interview shares some of these.

Of course, the acquisition news was the major topic of conversation and Matt’s take on it is refreshing and enlightening as he encourages us to use it as a springboard to take action.

As always when I talk to Matt, I ask about his Esperanza project and we finished our session sharing ideas about how we can all give back to our communities in some way or another. There’s a couple of links below to give some examples.

Links to sites mentioned in this episode:

Matt's Interview With Huffington Post
Airbnb CEO Speaks at Fortune Global Forum
Matt’s Interview with Shaun Stewart of Airbnb
Expedia Buying Home Away Should Inspire (Not Frustrate) You
Sun Realty Food Donation Programme
Esperanza gang reintegration programme
Listing Site Independence Workshop with Matt Landau

Julia Hill

I see a book in the making Creating Exuma !

Matt’s discussion with and about Air BnB is encouraging. Air BnB’s approach is much more of a “hand shake” than the “hammer” approach of HA. If they can truly overcome many of the objections expressed in the survey the platform will gain great traction with VR Owners. IMO.

Change is inevitable the trick is adapting and adjusting and of course keeping an open mind. Fear can be a fantastic motivator when the energy is channeled into meaningful discussion and forward progress. When we stop making forward progress we become extinct. I’m jazzed by the opportunity to explore new opportunities. The reality: this dynamic shift will eliminate many from the market place. It’s no longer a space for hobbyist. I don’t mean to say you can’t be a VR hobbyist, but being relevant and successful will be extremely difficult.

Keep doing great work! And seek out new opportunities – My mantra for today!!

Thanks for all your good work,



Interesting conversation. But obviously if you have 90% returning in a very successful VR your needs on marketing and independance are minimal. I think that the words VR cover a lot of different situations that have specific needs and face different challenges. I will visit Panama in December and go to the San Blas islands. Well if you are a Kuna and rent lodges on an island you are not in the same position than Matt in Panama City. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that VR “pros” have indeed to compete with an increasing number of hobbyists that are not really looking for profit. These are the small rivers that build giants like Airbnb and HA. That’s the base of our challenge.

    Julia Hill

    Point well taken. Successful VRs who have built a strong base are in a different position. The segment most troubling is the “condotels” developers buying entire buildings and controlling the market. Certainly we’re in for some interesting times ahead.


      Well not exactly. The condotels are hotels. I think that it has been on the market for a long time. Vr are, to my eyes, single units, larger than what hotels can offer and decorated in an unique way very far from the standard decos you find in hotels and appat hotels. You are right, the sharing economy is changing everything. For me, only the upper part will continue making profit and indeed it will require more work.

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