A Day in the Life of a HomeAway Events Specialist

Meredith’s job is unique, so unique in fact she refers to it as the “unicorn role.” Positions like this are posted few and far between so when she found out HomeAway was hiring for an Employee Events Specialist role she immediately envisioned herself in HomeAway blue. While most new employees hope for a relaxing transition and plenty of time to get acclimated, Meredith jumped in head first on day one. Why? One of our biggest events was right around the corner, Austin City Limits Music Festival. She’s sharing her experience coordinating the HomeAway Hospitality Tent at ACL and tips for scoring a dream job like hers.

Q: How would you sum up your role in one sentence?

MC: I plan activities and events that contribute to the many reasons why Team HomeAway wants to come to work instead of having to come to work.

Q: What types of events do you help with?

MC: My first two big events were Day of Caring and the HomeAway hospitality tent at Austin City Limits. Next up is the Level Up Games.

Since this is a new role, we’re still working out the events where I will take lead and/or collaborate with other teams like Diversity & Inclusion, Facilities, Expedia Group, etc. We’re also working on the 2019 calendar and hoping to add some new internal events and other engagement opportunities into the mix!

 Meredith and her manager, Jaime M. posing in the photo booth for Halloween.

Meredith and her manager, Jaime M. posing in the photo booth for Halloween.

Q: Give us two tips for someone wanting to start a career in events?

MC: First, volunteer to help out with as many events as you can! Then you’ll be top of mind if there is a need for an official events role. Second, no matter how much time and effort you put into producing an event, somebody has to get out on the dance floor to really get the party started. Don’t be afraid to be that person!

 First time visiting the Expedia Group office in Bellevue, Washington.

First time visiting the Expedia Group office in Bellevue, Washington.

Q: What’s been your favorite thing about working at HomeAway so far?

MC: ACL was hard work, but amazing! Both of Nelly’s St. Lunatics gave me high fives during his show on the HomeAway stage, so I think that officially makes me a St. Lunatic now.

I also enjoyed seeing all of my talented teammates who submitted videos to the HomeAway’s Got Talent competition. It’s the first time we’ve done a competition like this where employees vote on the different acts and the winners get to perform at our annual holiday party in Austin. I’m looking forward to the live performances and hope that we get to do something similar again!

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to be part of Team HomeAway? Follow us on social media or visit our careers page!

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My 5 TakeAways from the Texas Conference for Women

Written by Jennifer Haston, HomeAway Customer Support Supervisor

I was privileged to attend the 2018 Texas Conference for Women thanks to HomeAway. It's my dream to speak there someday, but one step at a time folks!

One of the many things I love about Expedia Group and HomeAway is their commitment to knowledge and learning. Many programs are offered internally that allow for professional and personal development. It’s such a joy to be able to take advantage of these programs and the opportunity to attend conferences like this. 

There were 7,500 people in attendance at this year’s conference. Take a minute, drink that in.

7,500 attendees (mostly women) and it was great to see some men as well! 

The day started with a breakfast session with (Anne Grady) about balance being bogus. It really set the tone for my day because my normal habit in an environment like this is to take copious notes (which I never look at again) and really MISS out on the opportunity to BE there.

 Luvvie Ajayi and I after her session.

Luvvie Ajayi and I after her session.

Anne asked us to think about what we would do to really BE at the conference. 

Some suggestions in the room were:

I was fed, motivated and ready to start the day.

There were so many takeaways from this conference, but for time’s sake I’ll share my favorite highlights.

  1. Always be early. This ensures that you’ll snag a good seat and it allows time to review the conference guide.

  2. "We need accomplices, not allies."- Luvvie Ajayi

  3. “Small Potential is the limited success we can attain alone. Big potential is what we can achieve together.” - Shawn Achor

  4. "Choose discomfort over resentment." - Brené Brown It's not comfortable to say no, especially for women. We want to do it all, have it all and be ALL things. If you say no, you will be uncomfortable in the moment, but you won't resent the person you shouldn’t have said "yes" to in the first place.

  5. Be bold and ask questions, it often leads to great discussion! This applies to individual networking, local meetings, and conferences.

If there is a conference for women in your state, I highly recommend attending. Also, encourage your company to sponsor employees to attend or sponsor a booth like HomeAway did at the 2017 conference!

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to be part of Team HomeAway? Follow us on social media or visit our careers page!

Fast Track Your Career From Entry Level to Next Level

Working at the front desk is the perfect career launchpad to many departments within HomeAway. Why? As a front desk assistant, you’re “in the know” with office happenings, open roles, and it’s a chance to connect with everyone from the president to the security guards. Kylie Saurage, Emily Swansey, and Tiffany Lee share how their careers have changed since working at the front desk and how you can take the next step too!

Q: What originally interested you in working at HomeAway?

 Kylie working at the font desk at our Domain office.

Kylie working at the font desk at our Domain office.

Kylie: The first time I heard of HomeAway was when we had a stage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2015. I started as a contractor picking up shifts for the front desk here and there. I thought the atmosphere, company culture, and the people were super rad.

Emily: I also started working at HomeAway as a contractor covering the front desk back in 2012. That eventually led to an opportunity to work for the HomeAway Software team. When my contract with HomeAway Software ended in late 2012, I was crushed because I genuinely loved working for HomeAway. I worked for another company for nine months, applying to various roles at HomeAway, before finally finding my way back as a full-time front desk coordinator.

Q: How did working at the front desk prepare you for your current role?

Kylie: It allowed me to interact with many different people at HomeAway so when I became a recruiting coordinator, I already had great relationships established with many of the hiring managers. There were also a lot of ad-hoc projects I worked on at the front desk that prepared me for all of the coordination I do now.

 Tiffany with another former front desk assistant.

Tiffany with another former front desk assistant.

Tiffany: When I was a front desk coordinator, we were still a small startup. We had 65 employees in Austin and had just acquired a company with 60 employees in another city. I was responsible for many things outside the regular duties of answering the phone, office upkeep, and greeting visitors. For example, I organized our first food drive by pitting different departments against each other. The result was almost four tons of food! We had to rent U-Haul trucks to get it to the food bank. Also, when there was an executive fire, I got to help put it out. The best though? Knowing everyone in the company. That visibility is how I transitioned into a marketing role in just one year without any formal marketing experience. Now I’m the Employer Brand Manager. The rest is history.

 Kat and team at Spredfast Summit in Austin.

Kat and team at Spredfast Summit in Austin.

Emily: It paved the way for me to transition to the social media  team at HomeAway. We have several offices in Austin and I think it’s easy for people to feel trapped and unfamiliar with other departments. Being at the front desk allowed me to network with employees and learn where my interests were, but the work didn’t stop there. I reached out to employees to get additional insight on their roles and departments. I also offered to work on side projects in my free time. In the process, I learned a lot more about the company and how genuinely nice and caring #TeamHomeAway is.

What are your tips for someone who wants to get a job at HomeAway?

Kylie: General tips for job hunting would be to make sure your resume is in tip-top shape. Bad grammar and spelling are red flags. Also, be courteous to everyone you interact with at HomeAway from your coordinator to the front desk person. Everyone will let the recruiter know if someone is acting up!

 Tiffany dressed up for her first HomeAway Halloween.

Tiffany dressed up for her first HomeAway Halloween.

Tiffany: Be diligent. Understand your skill set and how it might provide value to HomeAway. Be able to articulate that. Be yourself. If it’s not a fit right now, it could be later. Listen to the feedback and apply it to your next career move so you can come back with those skills and try again. Persist. Believe in yourself and the value you bring.

Emily: If you’re already working at HomeAway and you’re interested in another team, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Reach out and ask an employee to meet you for coffee or maybe chat over a bowl of snacks in the bistro. There is also an amazing mentor program available now that makes it easier to connect with other teams.

 Tiffany (center) showing off her t-shirt quilt made from HomeAway shirts she’s collected during her 11 years with the company.

Tiffany (center) showing off her t-shirt quilt made from HomeAway shirts she’s collected during her 11 years with the company.

How does the position you’re currently in resonate with your skills?

Tiffany: I love connecting with employees and potential employees to share the mission, goals and values of HomeAway and Expedia Group. Talent Brand offers many channels for me to help employees tell their HomeAway stories and to make those connections with people considering HomeAway for their next career move.

 Emily’s creativity and love for social media extends beyond her role at HomeAway. View her photography on  Instagram .

Emily’s creativity and love for social media extends beyond her role at HomeAway. View her photography on Instagram.

Emily: As a millennial, I’ve always had the internet at my fingertips. I grew up in a small town where there was very little going on and the internet, specifically social media (hello MySpace and Friendster), was an awesome way for me to connect with people in other states or countries. When the opportunity opened up on the social media team, I knew I had to jump on it. I handle all of our-day to-day conversations with travelers and partners on Twitter and Facebook. It’s so interesting to see how people interact with us as a brand.

Want to join Team HomeAway or learn more about our benefits and perks? Visit our careers page!

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8 Things You Missed at Grace Hopper 2018

We’re all settled back into our offices and finally getting a chance to reflect on our inspiring weekend in Houston for the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration. If you’ve never attended GHC, just imagine thousands of women clad in sneakers and t-shirts running between panel sessions, career booths, and coffee meetups. With 20,000 attendees, things can get a little chaotic and it’s easy to miss small details from the week. These are the eight things you might of missed from GHC 18.

1. The energizing keynote from Jessica O. Matthews who tested out her Pulse jump rope invention in heels. Girl’s got major skills.

2. Forget headshots, how about latte art with your face!


3. HomeAway Senior Data Analyst, Nikole Phillips’ first time at GHC and getting an incredible selfie with Anita Hill.


4. Sock giveaway at the HomeAway networking lounge! Because who doesn’t need socks with birdhouses on them?

5. HomeAway Software Engineer, Kuldeep Chowan, sharing his experience about going serverless during his panel discussion.


6. So. Much. Swag. From custom printed phone cases to tech tacos, there was no leaving Grace Hopper empty-handed.

7. Exploring the digital map of people’s dream travel destinations at the Expedia Group booth.

8. Meeting up with friends from other Austin companies like Indeed! Grace Hopper is the perfect opportunity to catch up with people in your network.


How My Job Helped me Score the Ultimate Gig

In 2016, Pete Parsons visited the HomeAway London office and took an unexpected weekend trip to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The festival was simply mind-blowing and returning to Edinburgh became Pete’s ultimate goal. With a little help from friends and Team HomeAway, he performed at the festival two years later. Pete is sharing how staying passionate about your hobbies can help you achieve a better work-life balance while keeping your personal brand on point.


Q: What is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and how did you get to perform?

Pete: “It started when I visited the HomeAway office in London for a couple weeks and I heard about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from a coworker so I decided to go for the weekend. It’s the largest performing arts festival in the world with over 3,500 performances in August and after that visit I knew I wanted to be part of it. The application process was pretty easy, I just had to pitch my performance to sponsors and wait to see who would pick it up.”

Q: How did you get your start in improv and theater?

Pete: “I’ve been doing comedy since I was in high school and I’ve continued acting in my free time. The comedy show I have now is called “Secret Mountain,” it has a “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” flair, but my show is geared toward adult humor. I also teach improv locally. I ran a few workshops at the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas, Austin and I led a session with our President’s Apprentice group at HomeAway. It was cool getting to share the art of improv with people at HomeAway because I feel like there are many positive elements that can help within the workplace.”


Q: Was it difficult coordinating international travel for a large group?

Pete: “It was a little difficult to coordinate because I had to bring multiple casts from Chicago and the Austin improv community because not everyone has the same number of vacation days. We also had to raise funds to help with transportation and lodging while we were there. My HomeAway team was very supportive with that endeavor. They donated to my fundraiser, hung up “Secret Mountain” posters around the office, and even came to some of my local performances.”

Q: That’s great your team was supportive! Were you nervous about being away from work for two weeks?

Pete: “My manager was supportive from the beginning and never discouraged me for taking that amount of time off. I even offered to work remotely and they were like absolutely not you’re on vacation!”


Q: What was the highlight of your experience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival?

Pete: “The highlight for me was just actually accomplishing my goal and getting to the festival. When we plugged in everything for our rehearsal and they started playing the theme song for our show it really hit me that I made it. In the beginning of the week there were just a few people in the audience, but as the week went on more people began to show up and some even came back for repeat performances.”

Q: How did HomeAway and your team play a role in this experience?

Pete: “Without a doubt this would not have been possible without the resources HomeAway offered me such as sending me on my first work trip to London two years ago and being able to take that much time off. It was so nice being able to take two weeks off and not have to think about work at all. I feel like I’m encouraged to pursue my passions in and out of the office. By the end of the festival, I was ready to return to work and my normal schedule. I couldn’t wait to get home and share my stories with my teammates!”


Q: Any advice for someone who wants to take their side hustle or hobby to the next level while working a full-time job?

Pete: “It's important to use your vacation days to enjoy culture and immerse yourself more in your hobby. If you can’t take an extended amount of time off, just take a break and go to an art exhibit, see a local play, or attend an event that’s related to your hobby. I highly recommend going to this festival though if possible, it's truly a fascinating global event. It's great to see so many countries coming together to celebrate art.

You can find Pete at Fallout Theater on Saturday nights performing with improv group “Sweet Lightning.”

Want to join Team HomeAway or learn more about our benefits and perks? Visit our careers page!

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The One Benefit HomeAway Parents Love

All new parents know the excitement, anxiety, fear and lack of sleep that comes with bringing a baby into the world. Team HomeAway is made up of a lot of parents and one of their favorite benefits to talk about is HomeAway’s generous parental leave policy. Alanna Dayton, our Culture & Inclusion Specialist, just returned from nearly five months of maternity leave and she’s ready to share her story.

Q: What was your maternity leave like with your first child at your previous company?

AD: My manager and team were supportive, but the company wasn’t progressive when it came to parental leave. I was able to take off 12 weeks total, but six of those weeks were unpaid. It was definitely a debate about what to do, but I also thought to myself I only have this time once. My husband and I had to discuss if we were in a place financially that allowed us to take that time off. It made me realize that many people are faced with that decision and some aren’t as fortunate to be in a position to take that time. Add in medical bills and new baby costs and it can be tough to pull off.


Q: What are your views on parental leave in the general workplace?

AD: I think there is a lot of confusion about it and not many time-off benefits at some companies. After my first leave, it was important to me to find a company that supported parents during this life change. I feel lucky that I was able to find a great job where this benefit was available, and wasn’t in a position where I had to make a choice between spending time with my new baby or going back to work earlier for financial reasons. I have empathy for those who aren’t as fortunate, and have to go back to work earlier than they desire.. At six weeks I could have gone back to work, but the sleep deprivation alone would have made me less productive since the baby was still only sleeping 2-3 hours at a time!

Q: What was your maternity leave like with your second child since you’ve been at HomeAway?

AD: Coming back to work was easier because I knew what to expect having been through the transition before. What was different though was the extra time above the typical 6-12 weeks that is common at most companies. That extra time allowed me to feel more refreshed and energized as I prepared for my first day back. I was able to experience more milestones, and be there for those “first moments” with my baby Sam. Of course there were a couple of tears my first day back when I said goodbye to him in the morning, but I was fine once I got to my desk!


Q: Now that you’ve experienced two maternity leaves, what are your recommendations to companies who don’t have a solid parental leave program in place?

AD: Talk to women or other parents who have gone through this. At HomeAway, no matter how you have a child you get 12 weeks of time off. There’s no doubt that it’s a big investment, but I think it shows in the culture at HomeAway where children and other life events are not only supported, but celebrated. Comparing photos of my baby at three months old and five months old, I noticed a difference in him physically and recognized how special it was that I got to be there for that extra time. For example, some of my favorite moments during my leave were eating breakfast together with both of my kids. It may seem simple, but I realized how much I value a strong work-life balance and being completely present with my family when the work day is done.


Want to learn more about the benefits and perks of working at HomeAway? Check out our Glassdoor profile!

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Team HomeAway’s Take on the World Cup

The World Cup may be over and France fans are rejoicing, but Team HomeAway is sad to see the festivities come to an end. For the last month employees around the world celebrated their favorite teams in unique and passionate ways. Here’s a peek into how our football (or soccer) loving employees watched the World Cup.

1. Team HomeAway Sydney team built the ultimate “Snackadium.”

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2. The Partner Success team in Madrid toasted to France after the big win.


3. VP of HR, Ana Mitrasevic, and Social Media Ad Specialist, Diana Nogueira, posing for a friendly rivalry photo during the Serbia v Brazil game.


4. Getting crafty and making a flag double as a cape.

Screen Shot 2018-08-14 at 2.52.12 PM.png

5. Taking the game to the next level with a World Cup foosball tournament.


6. When the U.S. isn’t in the World Cup you need a team to root for. The marketing team from Austin rooting for Iceland during their visit overseas.


8. Taking an espresso break during work, but staying committed to watching the games!


9. The Portugal fandom is strong in our global offices.


10.  Decorations on point in our HomeAway London office.

Want to join Team HomeAway or learn more about our benefits and perks? Visit our careers page!

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7 Ways HomeAway Celebrated Pride Month

The HomeAway offices are buzzing every June with tons of Pride events. While we strive to make every month just as colorful, our HomeAway Pride Affinity Group just naturally shines brighter during Pride Month. Here are a few ways we celebrated this year:

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1. We hosted one day of the Maven Youth Tech Camp in Austin at our Domain office. Maven Youth Camp works with LGBTQ+ youth to provide a pathway to a tech career. Members from HomeAway Pride volunteered and shared their career stories with Maven campers.

 Maven Youth campers and HomeAway volunteers kicking off the day at the Domain.

Maven Youth campers and HomeAway volunteers kicking off the day at the Domain.

2. The second-annual Startout Hackout Weekend, the only LGTBQ-themed hackout, was held at our Domain office with over 85 attendees from around the world. Hackers got to bond over paddleboarding and happy hour and then dive into the logistics of actually creating a startup.

3. It wouldn’t be Pride Month without rainbow desserts! Layne Box and Gretel Perera cut into a rainbow cake in Austin and Holly Wolford enjoyed colorful cupcakes in Bellevue.  

4. Employees learned fun facts about LGTBQ rights advocates from our office wallboards (TVs that display announcements and news).

5. Our beloved birdhouse in Downtown Austin gets a makeover during Pride Month! It’s hard to miss the rainbow lights when you’re driving to and from the office.

 Photo courtesy of Lenny Tropiano, Fly the Sky Drone Productions

Photo courtesy of Lenny Tropiano, Fly the Sky Drone Productions

6. This year HomeAway walked in the London Pride Parade for the first time! Layne Box, our Talent Acquisition Events Specialist and HomeAway Pride member, flew to London to help make it a success with custom Pride shirts and decorations. 

7. This year we also hosted our first internal “Be Yourself, Be Brave” LGTBQ panel in Austin and London where our employees talked about inclusion in the workplace.

“The Be Brave panel was a rare opportunity to shine a light on a taboo topic in the workplace. Everyone who attended came with an open mind and was eager to learn. While panel questions were personal and tough to discuss at times, I believe we all walked away with a greater understanding of one another and will continue to keep building a more inclusive culture here at HomeAway.” - Juliana Leon, HomeAway Pride Leader

Learn more about the HomeAway Pride Affinity Group and join Team HomeAway in the Austin Pride Parade on August 11!

Want to join Team HomeAway or check out other cool perks we offer? Visit our careers page!

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