Something of a trend is emerging in the online house-rental / sharing realm, as TripAdvisor this week snapped up U.K.-based holiday rental marketplace HouseTrip for an undisclosed amount.
Founded out of London in 2010, HouseTrip grew to offer around 300,000 properties across Europe, with a smattering of abodes available in North America too. The company had raised approximately $60 million in funding, however its last round was way back in 2012, which suggests that its investors were starting to consider an exit to a bigger company over going all-in and chasing an IPO.
The move echoes a number of similar deals of late. Earlier this month, hotel group AccorHotels acquired Onefinestay, a “sharing economy” startup that lets homeowners monetize their premium houses while out of town. And back in November, travel booking behemoth Expedia acquired Airbnb rival HomeAway for $3.9 billion.
Though TripAdvisor came to the fore as a travel website for user-generated reviews, a natural extension of this is to provide mechanisms to book accommodations, and acquisitions have proven pivotal to its growth. The Massachusetts-based company has bought a number of vacation rental portals in the past, including HolidayLettings and Niumba.com, and HouseTrip fits neatly into this plan. “We’re committed to growing TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals and providing travelers the best possible selection of high quality homes, no matter their destination or budget,” said Dermot Halpin, president of TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals.
Moving forward, HouseTrip’s inventory of properties will be funneled into TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, though it’s not clear what kind of notification existing HouseTrip hosts will receive. The HouseTrip brand will also continue as part of TripAdvisor.
The HouseTrip acquisition means there’s one less independent startup operating in the competitive house-rental market. But perhaps more than that, it’s a sign that Airbnb’s growth is too much to contend with.