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~ UK market leader first to offer free guarantee in rapidly growing holiday rentals market ~

Travellers booking private holiday homes direct from owners on Holiday-Rentals.co.uk can now do so with increased confidence and protection, thanks to the new ‘HomeAway Rent with Confidence Guarantee’.

With this guarantee, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk sets a new industry standard by becoming the first holiday rentals website in the UK to offer travellers protection against payments made to advertisers on its website, free of charge. Currently listing over 40,000 properties worldwide, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk is the UK’s largest and most trusted holiday rentals website. As demand for holiday rentals continues to grow, the HomeAway Rent with Confidence Guarantee represents the next step in Holiday-Rentals.co.uk’s ongoing commitment to provide the safest marketplace for holiday home owners and travellers alike.

Private holiday rentals are a booming trend because they provide space, privacy, flexibility, authenticity and up to 40% savings on travel agent prices. Last year nearly a quarter of all overseas holidays were taken in private holiday homes, most booked direct with the owner online2. Holiday-Rentals.co.uk owes its leadership position in great part to its ongoing commitment to ensure the legitimacy and quality of properties advertised on its site. However, as with all e-commerce, some consumers have reservations about trading online. The Guarantee provides tangible assurance that they are covered for up to £2,500 (€3,600) in rental fees per holiday home booked in the unlikely event the listing is not legitimate.

“At Holiday-Rentals.co.uk, where we have a large staff dedicated to assuring the legitimacy of properties and maintaining the highest levels of trust and safety on the site, we know that fraud is extremely rare and are happy to provide peace of mind to travellers with this additional guarantee” says Alexis de Belloy, managing director for Holiday-Rentals.co.uk.

In addition to offering the Guarantee, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk recommends travellers take a proactive approach to protecting their travel investments. De Belloy adds, “There is no better way to avoid surprises than asking the holiday home homeowner plenty of questions. We also recommend that renters use safe methods of payment and insist on contracts that clearly specify deposit and cancellation policies.”

To benefit from the HomeAway Rent with Confidence Guarantee, all travellers need to do is register their trip via Holiday-Rentals.co.uk after they have found, booked and made a payment for the holiday home of their choice. Terms and conditions apply and are detailed on the website.

Holiday-Rentals.co.uk’s parent company HomeAway, Inc. has also launched the HomeAway Rent with Confidence Guarantee on its leading websites in the USA (HomeAway.com), France (Abritel.fr and HolidayRentals.fr) and Germany (FeWo-dirket.de). HomeAway, Inc. is the world leader of the online holiday rentals market. Together, the HomeAway websites list over 240,000 properties worldwide and attract over 100 million travellers each year.

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Notes to Editors
The HomeAway family of websites includes:
In Europe: Holiday-Rentals.co.uk (the N°1 site in the UK), FeWo-direkt.de (the N° 1 site in Germany), Abritel.fr (the N°1 site in France), HolidayRentals.fr, HomeAway.es, HomeAway.it, HomeAway.pt, HomeAway.nl, HomeAway.se, HomeAway.dk, HomeAway.no and HomeAway.fi.
In the U.S.: HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, VacationRentals.com, GreatRentals.com, CyberRentals.com, TripHomes.com and A1Vacations.com.

Some useful facts and figures on the holiday rentals market

There will continue to be growth in the purchase of second homes (and) financing the purchase of these homes will generate further growth in the self-catering holiday rentals market.1

Self-catering holidays are growing at a faster rate than overseas holidays in general. The growth in popularity of self-catering holidays is linked to the independent / DIY / low-cost trend and the growing need amongst travellers for authenticity, local interaction and gastronomical experiences. 2

In 2006, nearly a quarter of all overseas holidays were taken in private holiday homes, most booked direct with the owner online.2

As far as the organisation of travel is concerned, traditional travel agencies continued to lose ground in 2006. Advanced bookings through the internet were up 21%, with those ‘direct to accommodation suppliers’ up 11%. 3

20% of internet users (4.1 million adults) taking a main holiday and 18% (3.5 million adults) planning a short break in 2007 intend to visit ‘other accommodation sites’ (i.e. not hotels). 4

9% of internet users (0.9 million adults) plan to book a villa or apartment online for their main holiday and 4% (0.8 million adults) for a short break in 2007.4


About Holiday-Rentals.co.uk
Based in London and founded in January 1996, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk is the UK’s largest and most trusted holiday rentals website, currently listing over 40,000 properties worldwide. The Company was acquired in 2005 by US-based HomeAway, Inc., the worldwide leader for online holiday home rentals. Led by an experienced team of online and travel industry experts, HomeAway is funded by leading venture capital firms Austin Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, American Capital, Institutional Venture Partners and Trident Capital. Each year, more than 100 million travellers visit the HomeAway sites, which represent more than 240,000 paid holiday home rental listings across 100 countries. Holiday-Rentals.co.uk has many years’ experience successfully marketing holiday rental properties online and has won a New Media Age Award for Effectiveness in Travel.

Media contact:
Sarah Chambers
Tel: 020 8846 3430 Mob: 07739 033132
Email: sarah@holiday-rentals.co.uk

Sources:
1 European Tourism Commission: Tourism Trends for Europe – Megatrends, 27 September 2006
2 Mintel: Self-catering holidays UK, February 2007
3 European Tourism Commission: European Tourism Insights 2006 and Outlook for 2007
4 Continental Research: 2007 Online Holiday Planning Report

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