In mid-May we announced the move to HomeAway platform (the “upgrade”) and the decision to ultimately move to HomeAway branding in New Zealand. It’s a big change for you and for us, so it’s worth taking some time to explain the rationale behind why we’re doing this.
Last October marked 17 years since Bookabach first launched. If you’ve been listed with us for a while you’ll be familiar with how the website has changed over time. Over the years we’ve needed to evolve both technology and business model in response to the changing expectations of both travellers and bach owners.
To put this change (and our age!) into perspective it’s worth reflecting that Bookabach started off as a simple subscription based holiday home listing website. Smartphones didn’t exist. Very few people used internet banking, and entering your credit card details into a website was considered extremely risky behaviour. Today, travellers expect to be able to search, book and pay online for all manner of travel - and do this using their mobile devices. Over the years Bookabach has evolved from a simple listing website into a fully transactional, online bookable, ecommerce marketplace. Today over half a million people book and stay through Bookabach each year. We process millions of dollars worth of transactions and our marketplace protections benefit both travellers and bach owners.
Bookabach partnered with HomeAway at the end of 2013. As a business, we knew that the long-term sustainable future for Bookabach relied on either becoming a global business, or being part of one. With market-leading websites across the world and over two million unique places to stay across 190 countries, HomeAway had technology at scale, and global distribution. When HomeAway was acquired by Expedia, one of the largest travel companies in the world, in 2015 it validated our choice of partner. So, our move to HomeAway platform and brand is a result of plans we put in place over four years ago to leverage the scale of the business and bring you world-class technology and distribution.
Over the past and coming few weeks you’ll see us:
- Launch HomeAway NZ - our very own local HomeAway website for the New Zealand. Initially HomeAway.co.nz will sit alongside Bookabach.co.nz and show all our NZ listings in addition to the international inventory.
- Upgrade all our bach owners and property managers (partners) to use HomeAway’s partner tools. This involves transitioning almost 8,000 bach owners and property managers (our partners) across to using HomeAway.co.nz as their primary listing and booking management system moving forward. HomeAway provides a significantly upgraded user experience from what our partners have today on Bookabach, especially on mobile devices.
- Move to a 24/7 Customer Support model. Our Auckland-based call centre has had a massive upgrade, plus we get the assistance of HomeAway’s offshore global customer service teams. This allows us to move from 5 day / business hours support to full 24/7 support for HomeAway platform.
Eventually, HomeAway brand will replace the Bookabach brand - and we’re not alone on this brand consolidation. Stayz in Australia, OwnersDirect in the UK and Homelidays in Spain and Italy, are all undertaking the move to HomeAway at the moment. Giving up Bookabach brand will be contentious. However, there are many benefits to being on a single brand, globally. The team in Auckland see it as the next chapter of the Bookabach brand story rather than the “end” of Bookabach, and we look forward to making the HomeAway brand mean something special to Kiwis and making HomeAway our new home and yours.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When I move to HomeAway (upgrade) will I still get enquiries from the Bookabach website?
Yes. When you upgrade to HomeAway.co.nz your listing will be distributed back in to Bookabach.co.nz. The Bookabach website knows you’ve moved across and switches over to using HomeAway for your listing content, pricing and availability. Any enquiries/bookings you receive on Bookabach from that point on will come through the HomeAway platform. Only your legacy bookings remain on Bookabach.
I’ve made the upgrade, but I’m not seeing many listing page views and search impressions in my HomeAway ranking metrics?
Don’t be too concerned if you’re not seeing a lot of page views on the HomeAway platform as the lion’s share of traffic is still happening over on the Bookabach website. Any enquiries/bookings you receive on Bookabach will come through the HomeAway platform. The traffic on HomeAway NZ will build over time as we ramp up our marketing efforts on this website.
Why haven’t you moved my bookings from one platform to another?
Unfortunately it just isn’t technically feasible or practical to move existing bookings and payments from the old Bookabach platform across to the new HomeAway platform.
When will the Bookabach brand go away?
We don’t really know how long the Bookabach brand will remain in market. It depends on how quickly we can build up HomeAway brand awareness. We’ll share our plans on this brand development work shortly.
Why are subscriptions going away?
We’ve been signaling the end of life of the subscription product for some time. In fact, we stopped selling subscriptions to new customers well over a year ago. The biggest problem with subscriptions is that it makes us care about subscription sales and renewals rather than bookings. The pay per booking product insures our objectives are aligned with yours. If you have a subscription listing on Bookabach, the remaining time on this subscription will be honoured on HomeAway, after which you’ll need to switch to pay per booking to remain listed.