7 Takeaways From Online Travel Agencies Slugging It Out on Mobile

Skift Take

Once dismissed as a commission-free loss leader, flights are a new battleground as Expedia and Hopper compete over keywords and customers on mobile.

Online Travel This Week

There were winners, including Vrbo, Hopper, and Expedia, and losers such as Airbnb, in the first half of 2022 in the U.S. as online travel agencies competed with one another via mobile app updates; Snap, TikTok, and TV marketing campaigns; and other forms of paid search spend.

Here are seven takeaways from Apptopia’s U.S. app download findings (see chart below) among online travel agencies in the first half of this year:

1. It’s Good to Have Vacation Rentals
Apps that offers travelers vacation rentals generally have more traction than apps devoid of vacation rentals. Note to hotel chains such as Hilton and Hyatt that have largely abstained from vacation rentals: Get in the game. OK, we hear they are indeed readying a debut in vacation rentals, as is American Express Fine Hotels.

2. Vrbo Was Most Downloaded App
Fueled by doubling its growth rate in the U.S. in 2022, Vrbo was the most-downloaded app with 10 million downloads. Vrbo was #4 last year so it overtook , Airbnb, and Hopper to achieve its #1 status so far in 2022. Airbnb fell from second most-downloaded app in the U.S. in 2022 to fifth in the first half of 2022.

3. Airbnb Spent Marketing Dollars to Counter a Vrbo Organic Advantage
Vrbo was the top organic result for the keyword “vacation rentals,” which may be because it has always focused on and been known for whole homes. Airbnb invested in paid search for the keyword “vacation rentals” in Apple’s App Store in April, as well as for “vrbo” in a bid to topple its rival,

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For vacation rentals, a step toward ‘good neighbor’ status | Guest Opinions

Last year, two of the biggest players in the short-term rental industry promised to deal with the disruption their customers were inflicting on communities across the country. People in the greater Orlando area—which represents the industry’s No. 1 destination for family groups and topped search requests for the July 4 weekend—knew what they were talking about. They’d seen the peace of too many neighborhoods shattered by non-stop noise and traffic. In extreme cases, third-party promoters would turn residential properties into venues for drug- and alcohol-fueled bacchanals, charging entry fees and packing dozens of people into a single home.

Airbnb and Vrbo, the top two rental platforms, joined forces on a promise to do better. Last month, Airbnb, the nation’s largest vacation rental platform, adopted permanent changes that will make it easier to identify irresponsible users—renters and property owners alike—and shut them down. The new policy includes a blanket ban on “disruptive parties,” but goes beyond that to address patterns associated with bad behavior. For example, over the July 4 weekend potential guests without any positive reviews were blocked from booking one-night stays of homes. And Airbnb says it was on the lookout for last-minute bookings by locals as well.

In addition, Airbnb has set up a portal that lets nearby property owners register complaints about disruptive listings at www.airbnb.com/neighbors. And they are putting these policies into action. Over 2021, Airbnb suspended more than 6,600 guests for violating the party ban, says company spokesman Haven Thorn. “We don’t tolerate when people violate our policies,” he says. Year-over-year, Florida has seen a 67% drop in party-house complaints on Airbnb.

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High Gas Prices Won’t Get in the Way of a “Close-cation” With Whimstay, the Industry Leader in Last-Minute Vacation Rental Deals

SAN FRANCISCO, July 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Staycations are boring, but Whimstay, the industry leader in last-minute vacation rental property deals, offers fantastic options– close by – for a “close-cation.” Traveling by car offers savvy and spontaneous travelers the flexibility and the ability to seize the best deals on last-minute vacation rental stays to avoid high airline fares, packed planes, and canceled flights, and provides a smaller travel footprint.

Whimstay.com offers up to 60% off vacation rentals for last-minute travelers for last-minute travelers” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/cWdgNKFMsX.LIKv3qFC63A–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTUxMQ–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/cWqBGnUzDJzcfnedLR76uw–~B/aD0yOTA7dz00MDA7YXBwaWQ9eXRhY2h5b24-/https://media.zenfs.com/en/prnewswire.com/39351e9889a82a4cf3b47f9f0ca768a4″ class=”caas-img”/

Whimstay.com offers up to 60% off vacation rentals for last-minute travelers

Whimstay data shows more than 70 percent of Whimstay’s customers are looking to book travel within the next seven days and are searching for 3-night, last-minute stays on average, which aligns with the company’s offering of the best last-minute deals for vacation rentals. Whimstay offers a best-price guarantee; if a traveler can find a lower advertised price on any major vacation rental site, Whimstay pays for their trip.

“There are hundreds of vacation rental options within driving distance of most Americans. When thinking of where to go, start with a 300-mile radius and get creative – think mountains in the summer or hit that small town with hidden gems you have been itching to explore,” shares Whimstay Chief Executive Officer Ben Jamshahi.

“Next-gen travelers tend to book spur of the moment, and with Whimstay, this spirit of spontaneity can also be rewarded with massive savings. We see a lot of travelers searching off the beaten path, leading with curiosity and embracing a sense of adventure. Thanks to digital media, we now have guides, tips, and awesome suggestions for activities readily available to us – making it easier to explore new destinations or discover something surprising about a place we’ve visited before,” says Whimstay Chief Experience Officer Noël Russell.


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