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127812 Views 275 Replies Latest reply: Nov 2, 2012 7:51 AM by j4922 RSS Branched to a new discussion. Go to original post 1 ... 11 12 13 14 15 ... 19 Previous Next
  • info@stayattremblant.com Active Contributor 543 posts since
    Aug 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    180. Dec 4, 2011 1:58 PM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    pinecreek>> I am not one to do a lot of complaining.

    pinecreek>> If I don't like something I just don't do it anymore.

     

    Hi Pinecreek,

    The implication of your statement appears to be that this forum is full of lazy owners (implied in several of your previous posts) and complainers (implied in the post above).

     

    Again, I couldn't disagree more.  We are owners who are sharing well thought out opinions & experiences and trying to effect change that would benefit all owners, property managers and even the HomeAway group themselves.

     

    If HA keeps going down the path they are going now they may find themselves without a sustainable business -- it might just be time for them to listen to some of the opinions in this forum and, I'd suggest, you could also lend a sympathetic ear to our concerns.  You may not be impacted by the same things that affect some of us but that in no way diminishes the issues we bring forward.

     

    There is nothing that we owners can "just not do anymore".  Thinga are being done to us; not by us and we have every right to seek change or restitution.

     

    P.

  • bobbie32 Senior Contributor 1,084 posts since
    May 21, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    181. Dec 4, 2011 2:31 PM (in response to frustrated)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    Where are we headed? (altered from something found online)

    Staying with HA/VRBO is like entering into a franchise arrangement in which you no longer have a privately owned vacation home, but become one of their franchise locations to generate money for them. In return, and at their prices, they give you the tools to make that money. It means that you become just like the local Holiday Inn Express owner down the street. Think about it...consider that most vacation rentals are headed there: HA/VRBO has a central website showing rentals all over the world; you will soon book with them and transact with them through their credit card processing service. Marketing of individual locations will continue to be controlled by them on the central website and in search engine paid placements. Criteria will be controlled via the review system, which is now out of your control.  They know when you are booked and when you are not through THEIR availability calendar tool. 

    What began, as a cooperative marketing vehicle for individual privately owned vacation rentals has become an aggressive money-sucking octopus whose reach will eventually insinuate into every part of your business. 

     

    Can vacation homeowners wean themselves from working for others? Or will they soon be sporting the same branded signs – a VRBO property? Do vacation homeowners want to give up all the website maintenance, social media management, reservations and booking hassles in exchange for 50% (or whatever %) of their income? No longer would there be a reason to look for: booking or accounting software; marketing companies; web designers or marketers; SEO specialists; etc. New vacation homeowners would only have to financially qualify to be a HA/VRBO partner and have everything provided - including finding a housecleaner.  Competition could be managed by HA/VRBO as it is now - owners that pay the most would be promoted more, and with a few changes the company could limit the number of vacation homes in any one area by refusing to accept new franchisees.

    Food for thought…

     

  • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
    Aug 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    182. Dec 4, 2011 4:57 PM (in response to devinitra)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    Hi "devinitra',  I agree with you {and thanks for the info on AVVO}.  I believe it's time for a "journalist" interested in travel writing to look into this...perhaps some wider exposure beyond this Community Forum could create an interest among "users" and affect, at least, a dialoge between HA/VRBO and Owners ...their paying clients.  I am not a journalist....and I do not know any personally. I wish I was / did.  But, I have been hoping that someone in this Community is / does.  I also believe that I have already lost some business because my "prospects" have been redirected to other properties in my area...although I can not prove that I would not have gotten the booking, anyway.  We just do not know....but we do know what we pay for....and the odds that have been intentionally placed against us.  This is not TripAdviser.com....where I am listed for "free".....so they can "challenge" my advertisement with other offers by other Owners.  I do know that I have not  had a "booking" with VRBO in months...that I know for certain.  I have had inquiries coming in...{spammed} and I've sent my well-formulated, thorough repsonses....into the black hole.  No responses back. I work from home...{website designing}...and I answer every inquiry immediately...within minutes.  My rates are great for my area...my amenities are abundant....nice location....popular area for visitors....etc..   Actually, I am booked up for most of the winter season, already...I have 6 nights to fill in March.  The rest is booked until end March. I am now taking reservations for the late Spring / Summer......BUT none of those bookings came from either VRBO or the other website that is owned by HA....that I am on. I got ALL of my bookings through my own website...which has been online since year 2000.  I upgraded to the 16 photos on VRBO, as well....I'm postioned as first on the list in my area....didn't help.

  • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
    Aug 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    183. Dec 4, 2011 5:41 PM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    Hi pinecreek,  Kindly re-read my post.  I actually wrote that I thought you belonged on VRBO, as a private Owner of 4 cabins....I have no issue with you as a property manager on VRBO....as I stated, earlier.

  • New Member 18 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    184. Dec 4, 2011 7:07 PM (in response to anja)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    I really don't need to defend myself to anyone. I am what I am. When I first started reading this forum it was stated that they thought that VRBO should not cater to managers. That's what got me started and then I fell into defending VRBO as a business out there to make money. Just like we all are.  I guess I was just trying to tell everyone that there is a need for managers and that I represent all my home owners just like I actually own there homes. And if I didn't put them on this web-site the owners probably will. Also in order to be on Google you have to try and get to the top with paying more money. I have 5 photos. What is nice about VRBO they let me link to my main web site unlike trip advisory which I am also on. Someone said they do not pay to be on trip advisory I paid and I pay to be on several others. But I still have to admit VRBO is the # one site I get almost all my bookings from. Sorry but sometimes things are misunderstood through emails.

  • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
    Aug 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    185. Dec 4, 2011 7:32 PM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    I don't think you need to defend yourself either. Of course there are Property Managers that care for homes, "as if it were their own".  An acquaintance of mine manages her own rental and two others that she does not own...because the folks live too far. She does list on VRBO and HA....using the 2 links she is permitted so people can visit her two other websites to see the two places she does not own. That was my initial  point.   I read this Community Forum and sometimes it's hard to imagine how badly guests behave in peoples' homes...and how badly managed some rentals seem to be. I also read the Traveler Forum -- to get their point of view. And, I do believe there are some Private Owners that are great at it...and some not so great.  And, so many Owners need rely on people like you, the local  Property Manager...to be on the spot to help them manage.  This is precisely why I am "on the fence" about P.Managers listing on VRBO....because so many Private Owners need people like you to help them with their rentals because they live so far away.  I do not need you...I self manage because I live in my area.  But, if I did not....I would want someone like you to help me. The lable "vacation  rental by owner" is applicable to you, as well....you have 4 cabins that you own and advertise as such....and you have a few friends and family members that you "take care of" business for.  I don't see you, pinecreek, as the proverbial 'mega property' company dominating the websites pushing the other "Private Owner" down the list.  In principle, and  in practice, I think the latter is what can be the most upsetting for the Owners that object to P.Managers on the same website as they are on.  You don't seem to be in that category of P.Manager Company.   If you own your property, you should be on VRBO.....no need to defend yourself for doing so.....at least not to me.

  • New Member 18 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    186. Dec 5, 2011 11:41 AM (in response to anja)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    You know it is nice to talk to someone who has a good head on there shoulders. Its hard enough being in business and competing with people like you who do there own managing. We need to have an advertiser out there as much as anyone else and VRBO is the biggest one so that's why I am there. I do advertise through other sites but they do not even come close to what VRBO does. It's sad to hear others have had such bad experience so maybe that is why they should hook up with a management company. We handle it all for a small fee and then they just collect a check at the end of each month. I know a lot of it has to do with where there property is located. Where I am at it ranks high for mountain tourism. I think like 3rd in the United States and is one of the top destinations for outdoor mountain weddings. So I do have an advantage. But the one thing I have never gotten is an inquiriy not referring to one of my properties as others have stated. Have you?

  • Contributor 40 posts since
    May 17, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    187. Dec 5, 2011 11:53 AM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    Pinecreek, I'm not sure who you were addressing, but I sent myself an

    inquiry to find out what happens and found out exactly what occurs. What you get

    as a potential guest is:

    after you already pick out the one property you want from the website and

    make an inquiry, then immediately you get ten other options given to you with

    photographs and descriptions of the properties from your area. Others have

    said the alternatives   had varying numbers of photos. Mine all had 16, as

    does mine.

  • New Member 18 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    188. Dec 5, 2011 12:11 PM (in response to devinitra)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    I don't agree with that pratice either. You should be the one to send them to another cabin in your area only if yours is already booked. But someone mentioned that they felt when a potencial guests asked about there cabin it doesnt even sound like they are talking about the right cabin. I don't know how that can happen. I noticed if you have to long of a write up about your cabin that guests won't read it all. So I believe short and to the point is the best way to avoid a lot of questions.  Also they stated they were getting spam mail from VRBO. Haven't experenced that either.

  • Contributor 40 posts since
    May 17, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    189. Dec 5, 2011 12:13 PM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    So far no one has said they agree with the practive of VRBO offering other

    properties to potential guests after the guest has already chosen yours.

  • bobbie32 Senior Contributor 1,084 posts since
    May 21, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    190. Dec 5, 2011 12:55 PM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    When someone makes an inquiry for any rental they can send the same note over and over again without re-writing.  So if they are inquiring about a condo and say something like "I found your lovely condo" and it goes to an owner that has a cabin or cottage, it is obvious that they are checking many properties, not just yours. I will not even respond to someone that makes a statement about a property that is obviously not mine. 

     

    I also believe in "short and to the point", which is why I try to get people to click on the link to our website.  I like bullets rather than paragraphs. 

     

    Lots and lots of spam, but I have no idea what host site generates the spam. 

  • deb.hawkinshouin Contributor 36 posts since
    May 21, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    191. Dec 5, 2011 1:18 PM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    Oh I have horror stories of managment companies! I am now on my 4th one in 5 years who just takes care of the house and I take care of the bookings. I am sure there are good ones out there but I sure didn't find them! One didn't pay the bills on time, one was putting bookings in without my knowledge but got caught and I could go on and on but this is not the place for that. So for me I will not trust anybody else with my bookings. It's very hard when you have a full time job and you get inquiries from someone who have no idea who they are inquiring. I too did a fake inquiry and found other properties with less photos pop up after I did the inquiry to my house. I am getting discouraged with VRBO/HA but I don't have a lot of time to seek out other options. I guess they have me as a hostage.

  • New Member 9 posts since
    Dec 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    192. Dec 5, 2011 3:42 PM (in response to devinitra)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    I agree with devinitra - the discussion has moved off the main point.

     

    Selecting a property is already a difficult process - and many feel uncertain, especially as they will be parting with a lot of money.  Therefore, sending a list of ten other properties at the point when someone has settled on a rental means that VRBO - which we all pay for - is causing confusion and increasing the likelihood that the person will not stick to his or her original choice.

     

    An additional point is that this process bumps up the number of enquiries received without the chance of increased bookings.  Therefore, it benefits VRBO and not the owners.

     

    Finally, this process is likely to lead to renters seeking to beat down prices - as they will feel that it is a buyer's market.

     

    In summary, VRBO needs to abolish this new system and go back to what pertained before .... before it is too late.

  • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
    Aug 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    193. Dec 5, 2011 11:46 PM (in response to pinecreek)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    This is in reply to "pinecreek".  You said: "It's hard enough being in business and competing with people like you {meaning me, anja} who do their own managing."  I can appreciate that thought.  In fact, I never even thought of it that way:  We [the Owners] are the competition for you [the Property Manager].  We are all competing with each other, on all levels, to get business......but I never viewed it from your side, until you stated it that way. Thank you for that comment which helped me understand this controversy.  I speed read through the posts in this thread because I had not been involved in this issue.  I understand better, now, what the Self-Managed Owners have been feeling against the Property Managed Owners together on the "vacation rental by owner" website  -vise versa from your viewpoint. I believe it's the 'mega" agencies that are the bigger problem for the S/Owners more...than someone such as yourself {????}.  But, I understand the controversy better, now.  I think that there is at least one partial solution...and it was someone else's idea in this Community who once suggested that perhaps VRBO should be split into 2 separate sections....the 2 sections would have to be very distinguishable on their HomePage, for the Traveler to choose from. I'm not certain that would appease the S-M/Owners. It does suffice to clarify the two choices for a Traveler. And, in my opinion, it would "justifiy" the presence on VRBO of Owners who must depend on PM / Agency services, to survive....there are thousands of such Owners who need it. And,  there are certainly Travelers that want {even prefer}...or don't mind....renting through a PM.  Are there awful rentals because of bad P.Management?  It seems so, by the comments on this thread.  But, it is the good PMs that will garnish the best guest feedback, for their clients/Owners. The others will suffer the bad reviews....and those Owners would have to find another solution...find another local  P.Manager who'll do a better job for them. {I apologize to all who think I simplify the situation....it must be very hard, by trial and error, to find a good PM who will care for your place as you do.}  I know how much work we do ourselves {myself + husband} to stay on top of our 2 small rental cottages .... we "wear all the hats" ...it's a big investment for us in time and other resources $$$$ . We love doing it...and therefore do it ourselves.   But, I read mostly negative experiences with PM rentals in this Owner Community thread [and the Traveler Community section}. But, there certainly are very positive experiences, for Guests that we are not hearing about on this Community.  It seems so much passion is involved by both "ranks" of Owners.  Here's what troubles me:  when I think about the strife between those two types of Owners,  I 'kinda' feel it's for naught --- even though I get their 'beef' from both sides.  I have been more concerned that we, as providers in the visitor industry, are more threatened by what lies 'outside' our ranks. We all suffer from the same odds that are being put before us...and against us, as Private Owner Rentals.  Here are just a few that worry me:  State / County / Housing Associations which impose not only local ordinances and LAWS that do not favor Private Vacation Rentals  --- which limits their function and even causes them to shut down, in some locations.  There are residents {neighbors} that lobby against their neighbors' rentals.  It has also become harder for us to cope with the "Advertising Webites" that impose "practices" and "mandates" which directly affect Traveler/Owner communications,  position Owner -against- Owner  {instead of just facilitating "traffic" to our advertisements so we can do our business w/o interference}.  I am also concerned about the advertising on websites -vs- "privacy" issues, for our private properties.  That is a tricky one...we want to stay "safe" while we want to be "visible" and keep a measured distance from the "bad class" of unwanted visitors {crime} . The Internet is a double-edged sword, in that respect when I consider Google Maps, Google Earth, for example. [I wondered how they got their street level visuals...until I recently stood in front of one of my rentals, doing landscaping, when their "image" van drove slowly up my road...passing me...filming every house. Do you think I am going to be making an appearance on Google Earth, in front of my house,  in the next update for my property's road? ]  Those are just a few of the most pressing issues that I see all Owners, both ranks, being faced with, now and into the future. The other stuff like 'what color towels are best' and 'welcome basket content' are so much FUN to share here, but we Owners are really up against some policies that dearly affect our success and survival. We are all in the same situation  ....and we can only have a chance to do something about those threats if we are aware of them, and  compose ourselves as a strong,  like-minded "Owner" industry...not a fractured one among itself.  I'm just a small [very] business person that wants us all to flourish, unhampered, so our services as "vacation rental by owner' are not diminished. Too much inner-rank controversy among us weakens our position as Owners who really need to awaken to the fact that there are people 'out there' --- some of whom are your "elected officials" and some  your "neighbors" who want to limit us...and even shut us down.  I guess that is one reason that I have not paid much attention to the 'inner rank" controversy of which type of Owner should advertise, where....whcih is another area that HA/VRBO should really take up, among others like "reviews", "inquiry spam"...etc... when they have their next "seminar". I can not attend that seminar.....I hope other Owners can. I would like us, Owners, on the other hand, to be focused among themselves, to communicate,  to  keep  abreast of the real "threats" outside us,  and network to help each other.    P.S. pinecreek:  yes, I have seen "competing" offers with all of my inquiries...and the "spam" is what we call the "untargeted inquiry" sprayed by one Traveler to MANY different Owners...without reading any advertisements.

  • bobbie32 Senior Contributor 1,084 posts since
    May 21, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    194. Dec 5, 2011 5:28 PM (in response to traffic)
    Re: VRBO not what it used to be...too bad!!

    dogwoodridge...

     

    Wow, you have a lot more faith in people who rent vacation homes that I do.  My husband and I have been at this since 1995, and rarely do we get an inquiry when someone does not ask about rates even though they are clearly stated on our website.  Most recently they state...what is the best rate you can offer?  Location is also a typical question that we expect, as well as available dates even though ALL of this info is available on our website.  So I have a pre-written response that gets sent to everyone - I just change the dates, note the nightly rate for the desired timeframe and give them a total amount that includes tax and cleaning fee plus the security deposit.  The pre-written response also answers all the typical questions that a possible renter will ask.  I suspect that 90% of potential renters don't read the info available to them or are just too lazy to read the info. Same goes for people not reading the rental agreement before signing, which is their choice to make.  Frankly I get irritated when someone will not click on the link to our website that has sooooo much more info including FAQs.  I will not book to someone until they have visited our website.  I keep the info on VRBO to a minimum to drive people to our website. 

     

    Yes, it is frustrating dealing with the majority of potential renters.  But most turn out to be good renters and good guests.  Its the handful of lemons that drives us nuts. 

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