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I'm trying to get some clarity on the VRBO (only) review process.
I've recently requested (via VRBO's online process) reviews from 2 renters. One never responded and one did ( 50% seems pretty good in my experience). When the review was made I was notified - as in the past- by VRBO. I can't recall if I had a right to deny the review- as in the past. But, since I'd talked with the renter (I alway try to make an exit interview call or email), I didn't worry.
Does VRBO automatically send my renters a request for a review, or do they (renter) only receive a request if I initiate it?
I recently stayed at a VRBO .. beautiful Watercolor Cottage in Santa Cruz.
Much to my surprise, a few days after my stay, I (the traveler) received a message from VRBO in my inbox. I had sent inquiries to a couple of properties, and I guess VRBO didn't know which one I had stayed at (or if I had stayed at any of them) .... however, VRBO sent me a message with pictures of the properties I had inquired about ... and it was asking me if I had stayed there, and would I like to submit a review?
I must say, that made it very easy for me to submit a review.
So, it's a very handy thing, from the traveler's perspective.
But ... this answers an important question for property owners ... Is VRBO directly soliciting guests for reviews? Answer: YES, they are.
Just so you know!
VRBO has no way of knowing if I (the traveler) had a positive or a negative experience, so ... for the home owners, please be aware of that. You may decide not to specifically ask the guest to write a review, if the guest happened to have been one of those fussy complainers ... but most likely the guest will receive a review request directly from VRBO anyway.
As sfvacationhut experienced firsthand, yes VRBO.com does send out an automated email with a list of properties that a traveler has inquired on, asking them to review any property they stayed at. Travelers receive this email about one week after the travel dates they indicated in their inquiry.
I hope this information is useful and please let me know if you have further questions.
This , in my opinion, is not a very good business practice. It seems to me to be similar to the dreaded "phissing" scams.
VRBO must realize that their income is generated from the individuals, or property managers who pay to advertise on your sites ( Your CEO stated this fact in a CNCB interview recently).
I have a few questions (as a paying VRBO advertiser).
What gives VRBO the right to solicit comment about MY rental from someone I never had contact with? ( a renter who sends mass emails to many properties). I spend time researching inquiries, and choose who I will respond to.
What happens to MY personal request for a review? If VRBO is sending a generic request for review, why would my renter respond to my request?
Do you have a way to guarantee a renter has actually STAYED at a certain property before you solict a review?
Why was I not notified when my contract regarding this matter changed? VRBO obvoiouly has email addresses of it's PAYING customers, and those travelers. you send requests to.
With all due respect- no one is too big fail. Not in this day and age.
I repeat, this a bad buisness practice. Your advertisers are your source if income. Travelers are OUR source of income, not yours. Vacation home owners compete with each other for renters, but until recent changes made in VRBO's policies we have been able to work with one another in offering our properties. I've often referred inquiries to OTHER prperties in my area. I now find myself having to pay eevr increasing costs to move up the LISTING, and compete with those who have $800 or more dollar a year to advertise on VRBO.
I kniow it's BIG buseness these days, but VRBO should rethink how it treats it's advertisers.
I’m sorry to hear you feel this way. The email we send to travelers, reminding them to write a review, is an effort on our part to help homeowners increase the number of their reviews. Users of our sites can choose to opt out of receiving these emails at any time.
As always, a traveler must have stayed at your property to submit a review. If you’d like to get more familiar with the requirements for posting a review, please see our Content Guidelines.
You can also visit our Terms & Conditions at any time to know more about what is involved with using our site. I hope this helps.
I am shocked to hear what Travis has confirmed. I have chosen to Opt out of Reviews so to accomplish this we have incorporated a Non-Disparagement Clause into our rental agreement. I cannot believe this advertiser is placing my guests in a compromising situation by going behind my back and asking a guest to write a review when we have specifically told them that they cannot write a review Good or Bad. HomeAway/VRBO is interfering with the business arrangement by sending these emails out as they are causing confusion with the guest as the terms of my rental contact states the business relationship is to remain private. What on earth is the HomeAway Emprie thinking not every guest is going to be a perfect guest. Sending an email to a guest that I may have blacklisted and told them they are not welcome back to my home is really bad business practice!
The "new and improved VRBO" has been guilty of making many decisions without including us, the Owners, in the process. That is an extremely poor business practice. Change is one thing. Covert operations is quite another. Transparency is not a negative issue, unless one has something to hide. What does VRBO gain by not keeping its Owners informed of any and all changes pertaining to their paid listings? Surely VRBO has the wherewithal to spend a few moments on "Owners' Updates to System". Our having to negotiate the system and find out about the changes by default is not acceptable.
I think I am not alone in requesting that VRBO institute such an update system, effective immediately.
Wow - I'm surprised too! I thought there were essentially three prongs to the review process - that owners could submit reviews; that we could ask our guests to submit reviews, or that guests who actually stayed at our homes could submit reviews. This fourth method sort of irks me, and that has totally been my beef all along - that we have lost control over the review process. I understand that a guest may take the initiative to do so, but it really seems more than a bit intrusive for VRBO to seek them out on its own, with no input from the owner....
Obviously I am an idiot - inspite of having been Chief of Staff in a State Senate office and years as a Corporate Relocation Specialist .I'm reveiwing my contracts from VRBO - again. I'm looking for change notifications.
Thanks Travis-- I hope to find the answers to my previously posted questions somehwere in the documents you referred me to.
Hey, infostay. Nope. Just my orginal agreement. No contacts re:mandated changes, etc. Of course, the orginal agreement is SO loosey goosey. But,,, we "vote with our pocket books", don't we?
I am trying to take all of your feedback below and anywhere else I can find it and build a vacation rental website we would all love. In fact, I am documenting my journey doing this. I would love more of your feedback at www.vacationwebsitereviews.com please.
Having many rentals, we too are put into the position of extortion several time a year by renter who have damaged the property and then write a bad review if we try to withhold cost of damage from their deposit. Our properties are all high end and all are valued at several million dollars. We employ a full time property manager and cleaning staff who reply immediatly to any and all problems and requests. Despite this, We too have added a NON~DESPARAGEMENT clause to our contracts.
We have used it successfully twice now when a guest threatend a bad review for no valid reason other than they were angry about being charged for damage. We send them a freindly reminder of the clause in the contract and also remind them that any litigation would take place in our county. (Typically quited a distance from where they reside).
Both times the guest decided not to post a negative review.
We are currently working with an attorney to tighten up our contracts, but we are still shocked to find that the HomeAway family is soliciting reviews on our properties when our contracts disallow them without written approval from us. It seems that this is direct interferance in our business model and I would like Someone from HomeAway to explain this. HomeAway is an advertizing venue and I pay to advertise. I am not sure why they feel that they have the right to solicit anything from MY customers.
Somehow I missed out on this thread and I was not aware that Homeaway/VRBO were soliciting reviews from inquiries I get on the site. I too find this type of business practice an extremely poor one. If I want or solicit reviews from my customers should be my decision solely. I pay to advertise to get customers, not for VRBO to engage in my customers or business.
There was a news article in the SF Chronicle (April 20, 2012) about non-disparagement clauses for vacation rentals.
We've got a discussion about the news article, as well as opinions / feelings about non-disparagement clauses, going on over here.