Company offers entertainment-linked listings
Businesses have long tied in with celebrities to sell consumer products. Now even the vacation rentals biz is turning to Hollywood to increase bookings — and offer studios a new space they might want to enter, given its growing revenue potential.FlipKey, a division of TripAdvisor, recently added a listing of homes to rent that have appeared on TV shows like MTV’s “Real World,” films like Summit’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” the James Bond actioner “Quantum of Solace” and “Scarface,” or homes in which Orson Welles and rock stars Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop once lived. As the site says, “real life isn’t like the movies, but then again, a vacation is an escape from real life. Next time you travel … you can skip Hollywood’s celebrity homes tour in favor of actually living in a celebrity’s home.” The rentals aren’t cheap, though. Twi-Hards who want to slumber in the Brazilian honeymoon beach house where Bella and Edward celebrated their nuptials in “Breaking Dawn” will have to pony up $4,000 to $9,000 a night for the six-bedroom casa. A minimum two-night stay is required. Bond fans can stay at the four-bedroom Villa Talamone, in Italy’s Tuscany region, for $2,323 per night. But take note: 007 never stayed at the seaside retreat in the film; it was the residence of his friend, Rene Mathis. And for something more local, “Real World” fans can rent out the massive eight-bedroom Key West residence at a cheaper $1,500 to $2,000 a night. The oceanfront home, with a 30-car garage, still features the original colorful decor from the 2006 season of the show, including jacuzzi. A note: FlipKey says the home is “suitable for the elderly.” Other rentals are a little misleading. The “Guns of Navarone” house isn’t from the film but is a modern structure that happens to perch above the picturesque St. Nicholas Bay, in Greece, where the war pic was lensed. And Miami’s Carlyle Hotel, seen in “Scarface,” “The Birdcage” and “Bad Boys 2,” isn’t a hotel anymore but a refurbished apartment complex with 19 residences. FlipKey offers apartment 4F, a one bedroom facing Ocean Drive and the Atlantic Ocean for up to $250 a night. Some listings are obscure, like the five-bedroom Hawaiian home used to film the Morgan Freeman and Owen Wilson comedy “The Big Bounce.” Weekly rental price: $17,427. So far, FlipKey offers just 20 entertainment listings among the more than 200,000 vacation rental properties in its roster. But it’s looking for more. Although not heavily promoted, the new listings could prove lucrative for TripAdvisor, which itself was spun off from online travel agency Expedia, and give it an edge over other sites like Otalo, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk, iStopOver.com, HomeGetaways.com, Niumba.com, RedAwning.com, SkipJump.com, and PerfectFloridaVillas.com. TripAdvisor-branded websites globally receive more than 50 million unique visitors each month, and have 20 million members. The company’s revenue has grown 30% over the past several quarters. The vacation rental market grew to $85 billion in 2010, according to Radius Global Market Research. How much of that is due to well-off movie buffs vacationing in Orson Welles former pad is anybody’s guess.