TechWeb Challenges AirBnB & HomeAway/VRBO, Offers Similar Services but for Free

Jan 17, 2012 (03:01 PM EST)

DENVER, Jan. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Recently launched, a short term housing website lets property owners earn money by listing and renting their place online with functionality similar to AirBnB or VRBO, but charges no fees or markups to travelers or property owners.


Online vacation rental websites are not a new idea, but offering these services for free is untested water. Sites like craigslist have been available since 1995 which offer basic listing services for free, but they do not give users advanced search or online reservation capabilities.

The 28 year old founder, Elia Wallen says he's not sure if his Denver based startup will ever turn a profit, but he wants to build an amazing site for travelers and vacation rental managers.  He believes site traffic will be the key to the company's success.

The startup enters a crowded market with AirBnB and Homeaway holding the majority of the market share. AirBnB's recent $1 billion valuation and investment from Ashton Kutcher along with HomeAway's $216 million IPO in 2011 are clear signs that the online rental market is heating up.

When asked why he launched a short term housing rental website into a crowded market, Wallen responded:

"People are paying for online rental listings and I wondered, why?  Would you pay to create a Facebook profile? Probably not. So, why are people paying to create a profile of their home on a property website? Because it's the only option. So, I created an alternative,, and we live by three rules:

  1. 100% free for property listings and reservations. No hidden or back end fees.
  2. Open communication for everyone. Let visitors communicate on their terms.
  3. Adapt if a visitor suggests a change to the site, listen, and if it makes sense change.

AirBnB and VRBO are great sites and very useful, I just don't think it should cost money to create a profile for your home.

At the end of the day entering a crowded market is challenging, and we could fail miserably, but Facebook came in late and overtook Friendster and MySpace, so I'm hopeful."

Here's a short comparison of the services offered by the three online rental websites:


Property Manager Fee:  3% collected for payment processing  

Guest Fee: 6% - 12% service fee
Communication: Must be logged into AirBnB to communicate with travelers
Listing: Restrictions on listing property owners phone number, website or email
Example: For a property rental that costs $12,000/year, fees total $360 - $1,440

Homeaway / VRBO 

Property Manager Fee: $349 to list

Guest Fee: $0
Communication: Direct contact through phone or VRBO's online form
Listing: Restrictions on listing property website or direct email
Example: $349 flat fee per year regardless of the rental rate charge

Property Manager Fee: $0 
Guest Fee: $0

Communication: Phone and email allowed
Listings: Provide personal email, phone and website 
Example: $0 per year regardless of rental rates

Media Contact: David Folwell, 877.592.9444,

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