As you probably know, HomeAway’s mission has always been to make finding and booking a vacation rental as easy as booking a hotel. With our latest product release, I believe we’ve made great strides towards achieving that goal and am pleased to announce the introduction of online booking on HomeAway.com and VRBO.com.
With online booking, travelers have the convenience of paying securely online, and the booking process is more streamlined for both you and your guests. While we are aware that this particular release isn’t a “win” in the innovation category, it is a relatively new offering in the vacation rental industry and will indeed be a game changer for some guests.
As we’ve posted in the past, the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we do business. We demand speed and convenience, and the ability to pay online by credit card makes booking a vacation quicker and easier. Plus, it enables travelers to finance vacations, accrue credit card reward points and feel confident in their purchase. Online booking delivers this to the vacation rental category.
Because we know conversations between owners and travelers are so important to the reservation process (in fact, 70% of travelers said it was the best part), we made sure to include a review period so there’s time to answer any questions they have about the property or questions you have of them.
The product is an extension of ReservationManager™, which enables you to accept credit card payments and eChecks through our secure interface. Online booking is a free service, but because we understand you demand choices in terms of how you want to manage your rental business, it is not automatically added to your listing. However, you can easily sign up through the owner dashboard.
The Nuts and Bolts of How it Works
With online booking, prospective renters click the “Book It” button on a listing, which instantly generates a detailed quote and enables travelers to agree to your rental contract (which you store ahead of time). Travelers then submit their payment information directly from your listing and you are notified about the request. You have up to 24 hours to accept or decline it.
When you accept a reservation, the payment is processed immediately and your availability calendar is updated accordingly. Any additional payments are automatically scheduled and invoiced, reducing the manual work involved with confirming a guest.
If you aren’t able to confirm a booking within the 24-hour period, ReservationManager will automatically decline the reservation request and the traveler will not be charged.
To learn more, check out the video below:
Again, while it’s not a required service, I highly encourage you to take a look at the product and see if it’s for you. We know travelers want a simpler, easier way to book a vacation home and online booking solves that problem. Ultimately, we believe it is the right choice to delight travelers, simplify the booking process for you, and make the entire vacation rental category more efficient and competitive. As always, we welcome your feedback.