Airbnb and HomeAway are in a tight race to the top of the vacation rental industry, and they seem to be neck and neck. Both rental sites made recent announcements of shifts in their offerings, cutting slightly into the others’ territory and showing that tense competition in home sharing is as evident as ever.

Airbnb and HomeAway are in a tight race to the top of the vacation rental industry, and they seem to be neck and neck.

Both rental sites made recent announcements of shifts in their offerings, cutting slightly into the others’ territory and showing that tense competition in home sharing is as evident as ever.

As tighter government restrictions cause headaches for Airbnb, the company released a statement that it is currently developing software to break into the professional vacation rental sector to complement its peer-to-peer sharing philosophy that has catapulted the 6-year-old website into superstardom. The software is expected to make it easier for property managers to feature their spaces on the website.

And while it is still in the developmental stages, HomeAway has launched its fully integrated HomeAway City Guides powered by Gogobot; the guides will feature everything from top attractions to app integrations with Uber and Instacart.

HomeAway is officially expanding its property availability to big cities throughout the nation in hopes of making a strong name for itself outside of the typical small-town vacation home rental it has been known for.

The new Cities home page and landing pages are fully redesigned for the top vacation rental hubs, such as Los Angeles, Rome and New York City. These cities are among destinations that have seen nearly twice as much demand in the past 12 months than others throughout the world.

The City Guides are created with help from fellow travelers and vacation rental owners to assist visitors in finding the top-rated attractions, restaurants and activities in the area, which are accompanied by a star rating system.

Guides are broken down by neighborhood and type of activities — such as family-friendly, outdoors and food — and an intuitive map of available listings helps users find the exact location in which they are interested.

While regulations are causing Airbnb to pump the brakes in cities like Los Angeles as of late, travelers are not slowing down in their interest to visit. HomeAway is also aiming to make it easier for families and large groups to reserve an entire home instead of a small hotel room in metro destinations throughout the world and further compete with Airbnb.

Email Kimberly Manning.

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