As you might recall, a while back I talked about the Hotpads Search Engine when it was launched. As summer approaches and families begin to plan their vacations, more and more are bargain hunting in this sour economy. Recently, HotPads.com, the housing search engine, introduced a new way for cost-conscious shoppers to plan their next vacation with an interactive, map-based Vacation Rental search.
With this launch, HotPads provides vacationers the tools necessary to make the most informed decisions when deciding on a place to stay. Not only can vacationers compare vacation rentals’ pricing, but can now conduct their search by real estate’s most important attribute: location. Vacationers are now able to see rental homes and condos around the United States on a full-screen map, revealing their exact distance from the beach, ski-lift, or the golf course.
This is the first map-based vacation rental search engine. There is nothing more important to vacation homes than location.
In this sour economy, people are looking for alternatives when it comes to vacationing. Vacation Rentals often offer a cheaper alternative to hotels for families and group vacationers. This launch makes it as easy to find a vacation home as it is a hotel, bringing down some of the barriers for vacationers.
For Comparison purposes – As you may know (or might not), HomeAway, the leader in vacation rental search, raised $250 MM in capital last November. This is on top of another $160 MM they raised in 2006. There have been no challengers to HomeAway (at least none that HomeAway does not now own). Even with all this capital their search interface is stuck in the 90’s and we do not know why (vrbo.com). Consumers want a dynamic interface that gives them all of the information they need when looking for a vacation rental, just like they do for regular housing. HotPads’ map-based search gives consumers the tools necessary to find a vacation home that is right for them.
In this economic downturn, those caught with second homes from the bubble are looking to get additional cash flow, and many are turning to renting out their vacation homes.
HotPads is launching its vacation portal with 20,000 homes and condos for rent. Visitors can type in a location and travel dates, and then click the matching listings to see prices, pictures, and availability. Many listings can be booked with a credit card directly on HotPads..