It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing, and always changing industries in the world. The year 2015 didn’t show any signs of that changing especially with some major moves made throughout the industry. With new companies such as Airbnb entering the travel space, it was time for some major brands to make moves to keep pace with what has proven to be a major competitor in travel.

Expedia acquires HomeAway

As a heavy-hitter in the vacation rental space, there was plenty of buzz surrounding HomeAway throughout the year. Since HomeAway owns a portfolio of websites including VRBO.com, VacationRental.com, BedandBreakfast.com, and a multitude of similar sites outside of the United States, (1) it is clear why more than one company would like to have HomeAway under their belt, and add their services to broaden their travel arsenal.

As a direct competitor to Airbnb, Expedia owns sites like Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, and added the $280 million purchase of Travelocity earlier in the year (2). They were looking to expand with a competing service and HomeAway was the perfect fit. After much discussion and anticipation, November 4th brought us the news we had all been anticipating. Was it going to be Google, TripAdvisor, Expedia, or Expedia’s arch rival, Priceline Group that would end up acquiring Homeaway?

$3.9 billion later Expedia and HomeAway agreed to the second biggest deal in travel tech this decade. Hindsight, it is not hard to see why Expedia came out on top of others in this acquisition. They’ve had a distribution relationship for over two years. (3) Both sides seem extremely pleased with this acquisition, HomeAWay CEO Brian Sharples took to the media and stated, “We’re eager to benefit from Expedia’s distribution, technology and expertise, which will allow us to provide an even better product and service experience for our owners, property managers and travelers” (3)

Marriott acquires Starwood

When thinking about hotels, Marriott and Starwood have completely different identities. Marriott shows a strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as convention and resort segments. While on the other hand, Starwood emcompasses the lifestyle as well as interanational footprint that Marriott has been missing out on. (4)

So what happens when Marriott acquires Starwood? You get the world’s largest hotel company. With more than 5,500 properties and 1.1 million rooms. The presence of the Marriott/Starwood merger will be seen in over 100 countries. (5) The small details are still in the works, but with this transaction expecting to close mid-2016, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this “mega company”

Speaking of the future, the combined company is looking forward having a broader global footprint, strengthening Marriott’s ability to serve guests wherever they travel. As well as the ability to be in more places, the combined company will have increased efficacy with their shared reservations, procurement, and services. (4)

Grow, Change, Learn

Throughout the year, we have seen the second biggest travel tech transaction of the decade, as well as the world’s largest hotel company come about. While large and impactful, these are just two of the many ways the industry has changed throughout the year. It’s important to take everything we can from these changes, and continue to learn from all that is happening in the industry.



  1. TechCrunch – Expedia Acquires Airbnb Rival HomeAway for $3.9B
  2. Tnooz – Expedia Acquires HomeAway for $3.9 billion
  3. Fortune – Why Expedia’s HomeAway Purchase Could Have a Huge Effect on Travelers
  4. Marriott – Marriott International to Acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Creating the World’s Largest Hotel Company.
  5. One Mile at a Time – Implications of Marriott Buying Starwood