HomeAway Review

Now that we’ve told you what HomeAway is and how it works, as well as how you can stay safe using it , it’s time to break down the pros and cons of HomeAway. Consider these pros and cons of HomeAway before deciding if you should sign up, or use another online property rental booking website.

Pros

  • Save Money – Using HomeAway instead of booking your vacation accommodations with a standard booking site — or directly with a hotel — can save you a lot of money. Because the properties are often owned by everyday people, your fee for staying there is typically much lower than elsewhere.
  • Secure Booking and Communication – HomeAway offers secure and confidential ways of communicating with your host or guest.  This ensures that you can get to know them prior to your stay, and learn any necessary information. Payments are also made through HomeAway’s secure online system, and payments not made in this way are discouraged.
  • Insurance and Guarantees – HomeAway offers many forms of traveller’s insurance, as well as several guarantees to its hosts and guests.  This ensures, to the best of their ability, that no one is a victim of fraud or loses money through their website. For more information on the guarantees offered by HomeAway, visit our tutorial on how to use HomeAway safely.
  • Rating System – HomeAway has a two-way rating system where both host and guest rate one another after the stay. There are thousands of reviews online for properties and guests, so if you’re a guest, you can make the right decision about where to stay.  And if you’re an owner, you can decide if should accept a guest, prior to booking.
  • Number of Property Listings – In terms of online property rental websites, HomeAway has one of the largest collections of listings (with over 1 million). With HomeAway, you are getting a significantly larger number and variety of options for your stay than you can get with any website like HomeAway, except for Airbnb.

Cons

  • Security – Though HomeAway takes many measures to ensure your safety and security while using their website, it is still possible for someone to create a fraudulent account in order to scam another user or steal their money. Always be sure to exercise caution when using HomeAway or any website like it.
  • Hosts Can Reject Guests – Unlike with a typical hotel or traditional booking website, hosts can reject a request to stay at their location. This means that, even if you really have your heart set on a particular listing, you may not be accepted to stay there. In addition, if you are trying to book something last-minute, relying on HomeAway may not be your best option for this reason.
  • No Method of Comparison – Unlike with other booking websites, HomeAway does not offer users any means of comparing their listings with other websites.   This means that you really can’t be sure of how much of a deal you are getting, unless you are looking at similar listings on other websites. If you are concerned about how to get the best deal on a rental property, check out Tripping.com.

The bottom line: 8/10

HomeAway is one of the largest online rental property booking websites, and offers its users over one million listings to choose from. It is often a cheaper alternative to traditional booking methods, and offers many guarantees to users who choose to book with HomeAway. With a two-way rating system and 24/7 customer service, HomeAway can give any user a great experience with travelling.  They can often find the perfect rental with exactly what you’re looking for, and often at a bargain, too.

When using HomeAway, however, you need to be cautious and make educated decisions about the property that you want to book. Read as many reviews as possible, and find out as much as you can about the property and the owner prior to booking; this helps to ensure your safety during your stay. Make sure you also consider looking at other websites to compare prices of similar listings.   Finally, it’s a good idea to utilize HomeAway’s travelling insurance and guarantees if you run into any trouble while using the website.

 

Did you like this HomeAway review and think you may want to start using the service to book a place to stay on your next vacation? If so, check out our next tutorial on how to sign up for HomeAway.


Is HomeAway Safe?

Booking a vacation rental property through a website like HomeAway can save you a lot of money when compared to booking a standard hotel.  However, there are a few differences between booking with a recognized hotel and staying at someone’s personal home for a vacation. Though booking a stay at a person’s home can be much more comfortable than a hotel room, there are some reasons to be concerned when it comes to your safety when using a website such as HomeAway.com or VRBO.com.

In this article, we’ll help you determine if HomeAway is safe to use, and give you five tips for staying safe while using the vacation property booking service (if you choose to).

So, how safe is HomeAway?

HomeAway is as safe to use as any other booking website that allows you to book a stay at someone’s dwelling.  In fact, it is perhaps safer than other websites due to their property damage protection, insurance, secure communications, fraud protection, deposit protection, and 24/7 customer service.

HomeAway offers many ways to protect your money, as well as your personal safety. As long as you use reasonable precautions, it is unlikely you will experience a safety issue. Try using these six tips to help make sure you stay safe when using HomeAway.

6 safety tips for using HomeAway

1. Do your research, and read as much as you can about the property

It is never wise to book a vacation on a whim, even if the price seems too good to be true.  Oftentimes, there’s a reason a price is so low. Make sure you always take the time to view a property listing in full before booking. The website offers a breakdown of all amenities and everything included in the price of your booking, as well as reviews from previous guests.

You should always read as much as you can about a property, and even compare it to other similar properties in the area.  This helps you figure out if the property is being accurately represented by the owner. It is always a good idea to do as much research as you can on a property that you like, including seeing if the property is listed on other websites, and reading as many reviews of the property as you can – especially recent reviews and poor reviews.

2. Make the property owner accountable for your safety

Researching the physical property is not enough – make sure to research your host as well. See if you can find any of their online profiles, and check to make sure that the information they provided is consistent. Be sure to ask your host as many questions as you feel are necessary to feel safe before your stay. If you see a negative review of a host or their property, ask them about it.  If anything about the host seems strange to you, contact HomeAway’s customer service to report suspicious activity.

3. Always use the HomeAway website and its secure services

Never, ever, offer to pay a property owner outside of the website, and do not arrange to contact them using a method other than what is made available to you on HomeAway’s website. If a host is asking for money without using the secure payment system, it is likely their listing is a scam. There is never a valid reason for requesting payment outside of its secure server, so never agree to this.

In addition, the communication methods provided by HomeAway are for your protection and the protection of the property owners. To prevent things such as fraud or identity theft, the secure HomeAway communication system is what you should always use to contact your host. HomeAway will also provide your host with the information they need about you, so beware of giving out additional information if a host requests it. Try contacting its customer service team first to see if the host truly needs that information.

4. Purchase insurance and utilize HomeAway’s guarantees

HomeAway provides two guarantees for its guests, and offers its own brand of insurance to protect your money. It is always wise to purchase insurance for your vacations, as you never know what could happen before or during your stay. This allows you to protect yourself from problems that are caused by your host, or things that could happen that are simply out of anyone’s control (such as a natural disaster).

Also remember that you can also contact its customer service team and fill out a form to request the “Basic Rental Guarantee” or the “Book with Confidence” guarantee. See “How Reliable is Booking on HomeAway?” below for more information about these guarantees.

5. Connect with your host and be courteous

Make sure to utilize HomeAway’s secure forms of communication to make a connection with your host prior to your stay. Not only can you let them know things that could be a necessity to your stay, but you can develop a personal relationship before arriving.  This helps to ensure you will be safe while staying at their property. It is likely that hosts would want to get to know you, too, so beware of hosts who refuse to answer any of your messages or make any kind of connection with you prior to your visit.

6. Let someone know where you are staying

When using a website like HomeAway, it is always wise to inform a family member or close personal friend exactly where you will be staying, and for how long. Give them as much information as you have about the property owner, and then check in with them periodically – especially when you check in.

How reliable is booking on HomeAway?

HomeAway is a reliable website to book a stay at an owner’s location, as it offers its users many guarantees to help protect their money when booking with HomeAway. The “Basic Rental Guarantee” and the “Book with Confidence Guarantee” both protect the investment of the guest in case of cancellation, fraud, and more.

Here are some of the service’s best features that ensure your booking can be made with confidence:

The “Basic Rental” Guarantee

Similar to typical traveller’s insurance offered by many websites, the “Basic Rental” guarantee gives every guest of HomeAway confidence in their booking.  It protects payments, deposits, and rental fees up to $1000 for any property listed on the website. If you incur a loss of funds due to internet fraud, and are not reimbursed by the property owner or your bank (or payment provider), then you may request the “Basic Rental” guarantee.

The “Book with Confidence” Guarantee

Once your stay has been accepted by the property owner, you are eligible for the “Book with Confidence” guarantee.  This entitles the user to protection from many possible issues that could go wrong before their stay. If you have reserved a stay using the HomeAway checkout, and have paid using an acceptable form of payment, you are protected from/entitled to the following:

  • Your full rental payment is protected against internet fraud, phishing scams, wrongful denial of entry, and misrepresentations of the property
  • 24/7 customer service to assist with any issues the guest experiences prior to, during, or after their stay
  • Rebooking assistance to assist the guest with finding a suitable replacement for their stay, should it be cancelled by the owner last minute
  • Security deposit protection if your deposit is wrongfully withheld from you

With this guarantee, you can feel confident that your booking will be honored, or refunded if there are any issues. HomeAway still encourages guests and owners to help each other with issues, but guarantees a refund for the guest if any of these issues occur before or during the stay.

 

As with any booking website, there are potential dangers associated with booking a stay at a person’s residence. But by using these tips and accessing the HomeAway guarantees, your experience should be easy, and (hopefully) without any loss of money. Now that you know about staying safe with HomeAway, check out our next tutorial: a review of HomeAway to see if it is the right booking website for you.


What Is HomeAway?

Today, there are many websites that offer alternatives to traditional hotels, for those of us who are on a bit of a budget. It has now become more common for homeowners to list their own properties on websites, and then rent those properties for a short period of time (such as a vacation) to a network of people created by a website. One of the most popular services for this is HomeAway.com, but what is it exactly, and how does it work?

HomeAway is an international residency booking service that allows users to list their own properties, or to book a stay at a listed property. The properties traditionally have greater appeal than a hotel because of location or available amenities, and are often cheaper than a hotel or a resort.

How Does HomeAway Work?

HomeAway is a website that has listings for over one million homes in over 190 countries. As a user, you can visit the website and start browsing through available listings. Owners list their properties on HomeAway and users and book stays at the locations. The website can be used as often as you want, and is free to use.

Users pay fees based on the property owners’ desired earnings for the time stayed at their property, which is pre-determined before the stay is booked. All amenities, appliances, stipulations, and additional fees are outlined prior to booking. The HomeAway website also includes millions of reviews, so you can make an educated decision about where to stay.

Search for available listings on HomeAway

Begin by entering your desired destination, your travel dates, and your party size, and then filter and browse through available residences.

Search for properties on Homeaway

Enter your information to reserve a booking

From there, simply fill out your personal information, review the terms and policies of your stay, and then wait to see if you have been accepted by the renters.

Book a stay at a Homeaway property

Sign up for a free account

You can also create a free account to better manage your vacations and remember the places you’ve booked with.

Sign up for a free Homeaway account

Make money by listing your own property as an owner

If you have a place you may like to rent out to others through HomeAway, considering signing up as a renter and listing your property.

List your property with Homeaway

 

There is so much you can do with HomeAway, and so much to be learned! Now that you know a little bit about the vacation rental booking website, consider checking out the rest of our HomeAway course, where we’ll review HomeAway, teach you how to sign up for an account, show you how to book properties, and much more. Start by checking out our next tutorial where we go over HomeAway safety tips!