Vacation rentals are big business. HomeAway, which owns a dozen or so vacation home listing sites, just raised $250 million in a venture round that values the company at more than $1 billion.
But listings are spread across lots of sites – what the industry needed was a good central search engine for all those vacation home rentals. It’s also a pain to do lots of searches on different sites because you have to enter where and when you want to go, making it a lot more complicated that a standard search engine query.
That’s just what Otalo, which just launched, is doing. They are starting off with 200,000 listings. The company was founded by Michael Giles (the founder of Furl) and Baer Tierkel. The name Otalo comes from the Zen symbol enzo – “O” – with the Finnish word for house – “talo.”
The company will earn commissions from the referral of customers to the various vacation rental sites. By the way, if you always stay in hotels on trips, you should try renting a house sometimes. It’s much calmer and usually a lot cheaper. You can also get great deals at the last minute.