TripAdvisor buys vacation rental platform HouseTrip
04/28/2016|9:52:47 PM|Tnooz

Further consolidation in the rental sector with TripAdvisor today snapping up UK-based HouseTrip for an undisclosed fee.

The company is expected to sit within the Vacation Rentals Group of TripAdvisor, alongside the likes of FlipKey, HolidayLettings and VacationHomeRentals.

HouseTrip had managed to secure almost $60 million in funding since its creation in 2009, but it has been hit with a number of problems in recent years.

Signs that the business had not managed to accelerate as quickly as the likes of Airbnb and OneFineStay came in 2014 when its founder and CEO Arnaud Bertrand stepped down.

He was replaced by chief operating officer, George Hadjigeorgiou, who is officially still overseeing the business.

The management switch followed a decision to axe all private rooms from the portfolio, at that stage losing around 5% of its product.

TripAdvisor says it is currently carrying out an “in-depth analysis of its structure and resources, including personnel”, so no decisions have been made as to the fate of the company’s management or staff.

In September 2014, around a third of the company’s workforce were laid off in a major restructuring of the company, with Bertrand (who had stayed on initially in a presidential role) and co-founder/CFO Junjun Chen also leaving the business entirely.

The shenanigans of 2014 came less than two years after the $40 million cap-raise from Accel Partners, which itself was only 11 months on from a $17 million Series B round from Index Ventures and Balderton Capital.

A TripAdvisor official says HouseTrip currently has around 130,000 properties on the site. Around 300,000 homes have listed on the site during the course of the brand’s seven-year history. The startup has only generated 8 million in bookings since it launched, compared to Airbnb being forecast to help host 129 million guests this year.

HouseTrip will continue to operate as a standalone brand, but its inventory will be shared across TripAdvisor rental sites.

Dermot Halpin, president for TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, says:

“We’re committed to growing TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals and providing travellers with the best possible selection of high quality homes, no matter their destination or budget.

“HouseTrip brings valuable choices to our travellers, particularly those visiting Europe, and we’re excited to continue expanding beyond the nearly 800,000 properties we list now.”

TripAdvisor is getting a company that claims to have made a couple of promising innovations. In recent months, HouseTrip has experimented with “using neural networks for ranking search results.”

Its programmatic email campaigns report above-average results for the industry, too. In February, Housetrip told MarketingWeek that its email campaigns, powered by Criteo’s systems, are responsible for 2% of total bookings in Britain and Spain and regularly reach 600,000 unique users.

Meanwhile, in a message to HouseTrip members, the company says today:

“With TripAdvisor’s holiday rental expertise, we’re certain that this move will be highly beneficial for all our hosts.”

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