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Here's my take on these subscription levels.....it's exactly the same to me as list ranking according to number of pictures that you've purchased, so it really doesn't make much difference to me. However, now I will not even have the advantage of more pictures than those who pay less than I do.
I will probably drop back to a low subscription level in the future, and HERE'S THE REASON:
If I pay the max, I'll probably get an inquiry before someone with five pictures (or lowest subscription level). And I'm paying an extra $300 or so for that "honor". Now, as soon as that person sends me an inquiry, he gets blasted to a page that contains 10 MORE LISTINGS. I tried it myself. Here's the breakdown:
7 of the 10 were AGENCY managed, 3 were owner managed
2 had paid the same as I, 16 pictures (highest subscription level)
1 had 14 photos (about $60 less than I paid)
2 had 12 photos ($120 less)
1 had 8 photos ($240 less)
4 had just 5 photos (about $300 less than I have paid)
So 8 of these "freebies" paid less than I did, but the prospective renter sees them IMMEDIATELY after sending me an inquiry. WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! This totally defeats the subscription level intention.
BTW, HomeAway's stock has dropped by about 50% in the past 6 months or so. So I'm sure that we owners are not the only ones who have been bitterly disappointed with HomeAway.
HOLY C___! I just figured out that it will now cost me an additional $250 per year to stay where I am currently!!! And for that price I now have the pleasure of competing with whomever else VRBO decides to throw at anyone making an inquiry to my home?
This must make the investors happy, but this advertiser is not going to play this game!
Take a look at this. I just did a test inquiry to myself. As soon as I submitted, I got 10 more listings.
8 by rental agencies
AND Tah Dah! Half of the had only 5 pictures, paid half what I did.
I DO NOT LIKE SUBSIDIZING MY COMPETITION!!
HA/VRBO PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS AND TRY TO JUSTIFY IT TO ME!!!!
Great point. WHY on earth should we pay more to advertise when others in OUR area are paying less and yet are being marketed to our interested customers by VRBO for free?
Since it seems that everyone and their brother now has a 2nd home they want to rent out as a vacation rental, and most real estate companies are now banking on income from such (instead of selling homes) AND it seems every potential renter is being over marketed to it appears that Big $$ ( and Wall Street) has ruined this niche market for everyone-- travelers AND small owners.
Watch HA's share strength closely and I think you'll see that greed will bring them (and us, in the long run) down. So very sad.
>> I DO NOT LIKE SUBSIDIZING MY COMPETITION!!
This phrase caught my eye. I've said it a few times in other forum threads, but you have summed up how I feel too but for a completely different reason. I pay the same fee to list my one-bedroom property as others do to list huge villas that rent for 20 times as much.
While they're not MY competition per-se, I don't like having to punch above my (financial) weight and, effectively, support larger properties by paying the same fee as they do. It's simply not a fair system.
I may have to disagree with that. We are paying HA/VRBO for a service, and that service is the same no matter what we charge for rent. But then even that falls apart when they tack "comparables" of lower subscription levels onto the end of inquiries. Now if the electric company charged me the same as they do the 12 BR MacMansions, I'd definitely be upset.
Yes, but when we one-bedroom owners can no longer afford to subsidize the larger properties and we move on to other advertisers, your costs will go up. Best to offer fairness now, I think. The difference in electricity is that it's a consumable and a large mansion will consume more than a condo -- I'll admit to not having understood the analogy.
Better to look at how e-bay works. They have enabled a business model where one can sell a $2 widget or a $30,000 whatsit. Both sellers get the exact same service but they pay commensurate to the ROI they receive.
Anyway, I'm just throwing that out there... I guess I understand why larger properties such as yours would disagree with this approach -- currently their ROI is much, much (much) better than mine and we small property owners are punching above our financial weight here and subsidizing the ROI of the larger units (IMO).
The net price change for VRBO customers who remain at their current level is $50. For example, the VRBO Classic subscription rises from $299 to $349. Each additional level costs $29.99, which is from the same as 2011 prices for additional photographs. I can have a customer service representative get in touch if you have any questions about your subscription price for 2012. We’re not sure how you reached a $250 difference, but we want to make sure you have accurate information on your current level.
VRBO customers have always paid for placement by purchasing photos. The goal for the new subscription levels is for ALL listings to have the benefit of 16 photos as well as thumbnail, location map and video tour. We’ve been told over and over by travelers that photos are one of the most important things they look for when considering a vacation rental, so we want all of our owners to have that benefit.
Carl Shepherd, one of our founders, has written a blog post that may address other questions you might have about the pricing and subscription changes on VRBO.
I hope this answers your questions – we’re here to get you as much information as possible to make your vacation rental a success.
Interestingly, I thought when I received this email that VRBO was making an effort to be more competitive with FlipKey allowing more photos, video, and maps at no additional charge. I was thinking it was a good thing. But for those of you that are in highly competitive markets you are getting the screws put to you. Sorry to hear about the downside of these changes.
Meredith and all readers,
Okay, although I'm not overjoyed, I've accepted the changes. The increase in cost at all levels is ridiculous and way above the annual rate of inflation. Yes, we're getting more but without a choice of whether or not we want it. I wouold like a way of knowing where we would be listed for each tier level.
What I don't and won't accept is that anybody is apparently able to list their property where they want, even if they're not where they say it is. I offered to cull the listings and didn't hear back from VRBO. The city mailing address of the property should determine where the property is listed, not where the owner wants it listed. I don't like being listed lower against of the properties aren't in the same town.