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HomeAway Insights - News from the Birdhouse
8

Online Booking is Live

Posted by brian.sharples Nov 1, 2012

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.

0

Why Reservation Manager?

Posted by patrickduncan Jun 2, 2011

ReservationManager™ is HomeAway’s new reservation management software designed for individual homeowners. Visit www.ReservationManager.com for more information.

 

eCommerce-enablement

A few weeks ago at the annual HomeAway Summit, I had the opportunity to meet with homeowners and property managers and I posed a simple question to the group: how many folks paid for their hotel stay with a check? Other than a few quizzical looks, the room was filled with a deafening silence.

 

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we do things. We’ve come to expect the efficiency and convenience of shopping online and booking travel accommodations is no exception. Popular travel sites such as Expedia and Priceline.com have made the process of selecting and booking hotel accommodations simple and fast. The ability to pay online by credit cards enables travelers to finance vacations, not to mention accrue credit card reward points.

Rez.jpg

To help travelers discover the benefits of vacation rentals, and thereby maximize the results we deliver to your rental businesses, HomeAway believes we must “eCommerce – enable” our category. This translates into providing your guests the option to make easy and secure payments online.  In fact, this initiative is so important that we’ve made it one of our strategic priorities for the coming years.

 

We Listened

So you might be thinking, “Okay, accepting traveler payments online is certainly easier and faster than waiting for checks in the mail, but my booking process is where I need the most help. And I don’t want to pay more than 3% for credit card processing! How will you HELP ME?!”

 

Good question.

 

Over the past 3 years, I’ve heard from thousands of vacation rental owners via market research surveys and focus groups, HomeAway Seminars, and 1x1 interviews over the phone, email, and in person.

 

Here’s what you told us about booking guests:

•    Turning inquiries into bookings takes a lot of time and effort: you’d like to simplify the booking process

•    You want tools to decrease “busy-work” (data entry, reminding guests of payments due, etc.), increase your productivity, and keep you organized

•    You’d like to provide a more professional and consistent guest service, while maintaining control of the booking and screening processes

•    You want to spend less for online payment processing - or figure out how to accept online payments in the first place, and

•    You’d like a consolidated view of guest and reservation information across all HomeAway, Inc. marketing sources (HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, etc.)

 

We’ve heard your needs and ReservationManager is our solution.

 

ReservationManager

ReservationManager is meant to simplify your overall booking process by making it easy for you to respond to inquiries, generate quotes and rental agreements, and offer online payments to your guests. In addition to simplifying your booking process, we’ve used our scale to deliver standout pricing, saving you money:

 

•    2.5% Visa, MasterCard, and Discover card processing

•    1% eCheck (ACH) processing

 

And it’s important to note that neither the credit card nor eCheck payment options involve hidden costs – no set-up, no monthly or per transaction fees, and no long-term commitment.

 

ReservationManager is now available to all U.S. homeowners who list on HomeAway.com, and we are working to enable online payments for non-U.S. homeowners. And while we don’t yet have a specific date, we plan to offer ReservationManager to VRBO.com homeowners too.

 

Visit www.ReservationManager.com to learn more. And, if you'd like to see how ReservationManager works, join us for an online product demonstration followed by questions and answers with the ReservationManager product team. View upcoming dates and register now.

 

I look forward to receiving your feedback and suggestions on ways to make ReservationManager even better. If you have questions, suggestions, or simply want to continue the Reservation Manager conversation, please check out these discussions:

 

ReservationManager Discussion or E-Payment Discussion

 

To stay up-to-date on new ReservationManager features and enhancements please join the ReservationManager Group.

 

As always, we’re here to serve you – our success depends on it.

 

Best Regards,

Patrick Duncan

 

Director, ReservationManager Product Marketing