HomeAway and Airbnb home in on Japan

Japan is emerging as the latest front in the vacation rental/home-sharing battle, with HomeAway and Airbnb taking advantage of an improved regulatory environment.

Expedia Inc’s HomeAway, which says that Japan is one of its largest markets in Asia, has started working with the destination marketing organisation for the region of Setouchi, listing historic properties in the area.

The tie-up aims to attract international visitors to the region, known as “Japan’s Mediterranean”. They have launched a marketing campaign across Asia, with a strong social component via the #gethomeawayinsetouchi hashtag and a microsite promoting the region and the properties.

Meanwhile, reports say that Airbnb is interesting in building its already strong presence in Japan via a partnership with online travel agency Evolable, essentially allowing the latter’s selection of luxury inns and hotels – known as ryokans – to be listed and booked on Airbnb.

Airbnb has also linked up with Pasona, a training and recruitment business based in Japan, and will offer workshops and training for Japanese people to rent out their rooms via Airbnb. It follows a similar move in China, where Airbnb is working with authorities to promote the social and economic benefits of listing rooms on its site.

In the year to end-March17,  Airbnb handled around four million overseas bookings for its Japanese properties, up 40% on the previous year according to reports.

And earlier this year, China’s Tujia set up a dedicated Japanese subsidiary and partnered with hotel booking site Relux in a content-sharing deal similar to Airbnb’s tie-up with Evolable.


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