Austin-based HomeAway moving up, not away
Executives with a homegrown business say they are doubling down on Austin.
HomeAway announced the company is expanding and plans to move into a new high-rise in the domain.
On any given day, the employees of HomeAway are busy coordinating vacation rentals.
Last year, $6-billion in transactions were process by the Austin-based web-based business. "And when you start thinking about the scale, we are one of the proof points that it can happen here in Austin,” said Company president John Kim. HomeAway is expecting an even bigger payout in 2017.
"If you have to think of HomeAway, its traditional roots, it’s been basically a U.S. focused company. But we are expanding globally, that’s our plan, that’s our route to multiple, multiple, years of tremendous growth, so, it gives us the confidence to double down on Austin,” said Kim.
The Company, in a very short amount of time, has gone from quirky, niche idea, to mainstream.
Three years ago, they expanded here to the Domain and now the company is looking to expand again, moving up but not out of the neighborhood. A long term lease was announced Friday for a 16-story office tower. When completed, in 2019, it will be the tallest structure in the residential and retail district.
It will be located in an open lot on the north end of the Domain, not far from the company's current location.
The move will be coordinated by Facilities Director Rhonda Stahl. She joined the company, as an office manager, ten years ago when there were more doubters than employees.
"It did occur to me, it was kind of funny when we built our location downtown, which was our world headquarters at the time, we moved in and had lot of extra space and was actually concerned I had worked myself out of a job. The fact is we filled it up really quickly, and I needed to get another space and we keep growing and growing, it’s just been crazy,” said Stahl.
About 15-hundred people currently work for HomeAway worldwide.
With the new expansion project at the Domain, the company wants to hire an additional 2-thousand people. "We are hiring across the board, so we are hiring everything from sales, to customer service to accounting and finance, design, engineering,” said Kim. The people to fill those jobs, Kim believes, are already in town, which is a big reason why HomeAway plans to continue to call Austin, home.