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Remember when we had to look in the newspaper classifieds, ask a friend, or call a broker to find a vacation rental? Ugh. Today your next holiday rental is just an online search and click away via websites like VRBO (43), Airbnb (89), and HomeAway (59).

Let’s take a look at HomeAway’s recent performance in earned media, within the crowded Hotel & Lodging Brands sector.

  • Although down -1 pt. at 59, HomeAway’s topline media rating is above the sector average of 54. This is good.
  • The 4-year rating trend shows HomeAway maintaining a 60-point rating with few major spikes in either direction. The brand is still well off its January 2014 high of 67, so there is a lot of media upside.
  • There does appear to be a continuing decline in media momentum that went into negative territory, suggesting media growth and accumulated coverage is not keeping up with historical averages.
  • Media sentiment was balanced with strong positive sentiment of 25% and relatively low negative sentiment of 13%.
  • Media segments that are contributing most to the topline rating include consumer news at 90 (-1), industry trades at 85 (-1), and online search at 87 (-2). This is what you want to see — all consumer-centric segments are performing well, although down slightly over the previous month.
  • Under-contributing segments are online, including online news at 26 (-5), blogs at 33 (-1), Twitter at 38 (-3), and forums at 25 (-1). Assuming online segments are a good way to reach their customers, HomeAway needs to invest more here.

Bottomline, in a very crowded space, HomeAway seems to be leveraging earned media very well, and better than luxury brands like Loews and Radisson with lower earned media ratings and likely much larger advertising spends. The media upside lies in under-performing online media segments, helping move the topline rating well into 60s territory.