AUSTIN, Texas, May 28, 2015 – HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ:AWAY), the world leader in vacation rentals, today announces its $2 million minority investment in Flat4Day, also known in Turkey as Hemenkiralik, the country’s largest vacation rental website. HomeAway led the round of fundraising with participation by Istanbul-based venture capital fund 212 Ltd.
Flat4Day lists nearly 30,000 properties, the vast majority of which are entire homes in Turkey and other popular destinations such as Southern Europe.
“Istanbul’s rich culture makes it one of the most exciting destinations in the world,” said Brian Sharples, HomeAway cofounder and chief executive officer. “We are thrilled to help travelers experience all that Turkey has to offer, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean coast, while enjoying the space, privacy and comfort that only vacation rentals can provide.”
The Middle East has strong potential for tourism growth, according to market research firm Euromonitor, thanks to relatively high Middle Eastern spending on domestic travel. Outbound travel tends to be amongst larger groups and for longer periods of time, and an estimated one in six travelers book their trip online. Euromonitor cites “visiting family” as the number one reason for travel across United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia(1).
“The number of travelers visiting Turkey is growing twice as fast as hotel capacity in the country, and this investment will help us close the gap between supply and demand,” says Flat4Day Managing Partner Rina Onur. “About 60 percent of secondary homes in Turkey are vacant for 10 months of the year. In Turkey and the Middle East together, there are an estimated half a million-plus professionally managed vacation rentals, and we’re eager to add that inventory to our site.”
Flat4Day offers listings in multiple languages, including Turkish, Arabic, English, Russian and German, and provides flexible payment options. For those who do not have access to online payment methods, the company integrates with Arabic travel agencies. Its Turkey-based team also conducts in-person verification for the majority of properties listed on the platform.
Through a pre-existing partnership, HomeAway already lists the majority of Flat4Day’s properties on its sites.
The company was founded in Istanbul in 2012 by CEO Remi Onur, Managing Partner Rina Onur, CMO Mehmet Ulku and CTO Alper Kaya. To date, they have raised over $6 million in venture capital and employ 35 people.
“Ten years ago we set out to make every vacation rental in the world available to every traveler in the world, but I never imagined we’d reach so many countries in such a short time,” added Sharples. “I’m delighted to seize the opportunity in the Middle East and extend HomeAway’s market-leading position.”
(1) According to Euromonitor’s November 2014 blog post, The Impact of Technology on Travel and Tourism in the Middle East
Flat4Day, locally also known as Hemenkiralik, is the leading network of vacation rentals, holiday homes, furnished apartments and villas in Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East regions. You can instantly view and book out of thousands of available vacation homes in over 71 countries around the world, including Turkey, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, England, Russia, Ukraine, Croatia, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, Malta, Germany, Austria, Morocco and UAE. Flat4Day is backed by 212 Ltd and Aslanoba Capital.