Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Super Bowl bound -- HomeAway online rental network to buy ad spot

The competition for second-home and vacation home rental listing must be getting ferocious. One of the largest web conglomerates, HomeAway.com, announced today it's going to kick off its most extensive national advertising campaign yet with a spot on the Super Bowl 2010 telecast Feb. 7th.

HomeAway (that's its logo, above) has consolidated a number of popular vacation home rental sites under its wing -- including VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and VacationRentals.com -- to become, according to its own literature, "the worldwide leader of online vacation rentals, representing more than 425,000 vacation rental home listings across more than 120 countries."

No matter what other TV spots it might buy, this surely will be its most expensive entry ever into national markets. In recent years, a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl has cost in the neighborhood of $2.5-million to $3-million. One Website that has made a Super Bowl appearance for the past five years is the domain name host and Internet registrar GoDaddy.com.

For mom-and-pop outfits that buy into the HomeAway.com network in hopes of getting better visibility for their services, the Super Bowl spot may or may not translate into more, or more easily convertible, clicks by consumers. However, the HomeAway announcement sure raises the stakes for all Web-based vacation home market sites.

Less than a year ago, HomeAway made a splash with the announcement of an infusion of $250 million in private financing. The Austin-based outfit says that private home and condo rentals is the travel industry's fastest-growing segment.

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