Having long argued that Airbnb isn’t a competitor and operates in a different market, HomeAway is suing Airbnb over their use of a birdhouse in their latest national marketing campaign—something HomeAway says infringes on their trademark. The battle between the two companies has seemed inevitable to many, and has certainly just increased a notch (or 10) with the news of the lawsuit.
Airbnb has made a significant dent in the hotel market, building on strengths that every vacation rental has—whether they use the rental site or not.
Vikram Singh of Skift says brand loyalty has lost its power; people care most about location, value and good reviews.
He also notes that transparency helps build trust and community: “The host is the brand, and you have access to him at every stage of your travel experience.”
If foreign tourists like to visit to your community, 2014 is a great time to consider what you can do to get them to book with your vacation rental.
Foreign tourism is expected to increase 26 percent over the next few years: tourists from Canada and Mexico will continue to be the largest groups, but there will be significant growth in visitors from South America, Asia and the Middle East.
The vacation rental industry is in hot competition with the hotel industry, both vying for travelers looking for a more intimate and unique travel experience.
Citing two recent surveys, Matt Landau highlights three key themes: travelers want authenticity and more family time, and they use the Internet as a key source for inspiration.
“High demand and not a lot of choice created a market that didn’t require a great deal of attention or work,” Heather Bayer remembers of the vacation rental industry 10-15 years ago.
Now, she says, the whole concept of customer service has been turned on its head. Citing a book about customer experience, Bayer offers tips to encourage more loyal guests by ensuring that everything you do makes life easier for them.
Is there any industry news that we missed? Tell us about it in the comments below.
photos by [Daniel Zedda](http://www.flickr.com/photos/astragony/6192158335/ ""hotel" by Daniel Zedda on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)"), [Andrew Magill](http://www.flickr.com/photos/amagill/111870822/ ""Airport pan" by Andrew Magill on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)")
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