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The 5.0 scale rating system is a great way for potential renters to assess the quality of a vacation rental. In other words, the ratings scale system definitely provides a way for potential renters to ensure that the owner is honest and that the rental itself is as-advertised.
I wonder if a similar ratings system could and should be created to help owners assess potential renters. Would this type of feature make sense? For one thing, it would certainly help owners assess the honesty of potential renters - and whether they pay their bills!
I've had overwhelmingly good experience with most renters. I've met many nice people - and everyone has paid their rent for the vacation rental on time. But I have to admit that a couple of renters were "complainers" - people who aren't really people I would want to have back. Thus, a ratings scale for renters (as judged by owners) might just make sense. For one thing, it would allow me to communicate this feedback information I have about renters with other owners - something that I myself would appreciate in turn.
What do you think?
I think it could be helpful for homeowners if they were specific about the situation with that particular renter.
I've thought about such a list and wished I could warn other homeowners in my area on the rare occasion we have a difficult/destructive renter.
James, www.Guestchecker.com allows you to post reviews about problem guests AND post a compliment about good guests as well. The service is free and it works really well. I heard someone say they are working on an integration with VRBO software, but no word confirmed yet.
Not sure if this would be legal. Ratings on individuals is different than ratings on a home (object, not human).
Check with homeaway, they are working on a traveler profile that we will receive when they make an inquiry. Traveler fills out profile, lists past rentales and reviews.
I just came away from homeaways conference and saw tons of new features they are working on. Really fabulous for the vacation owner.
No, I do not work for homeaway.
Marilyn, I'm certainly glad to hear that HA is taking us seriously and addressing tthe fact that ALL negative reviews are not going to be accepted at face value. It seems as thought this is becoming the new "scam".
I think this is good news as well! This sounds a little like the Airbnb model. Airbnb considers themselves a "community" of travelers and hosts in which each has a profile and you can see who you're dealing with, where they've stayed and travelers rate hosts, BUT hosts can also rate travelers and it is encouraged. Were they clean, did they treat your home with respect, etc. The thing I DON'T like about Airbnb is that they insert themselves into the rental process - i.e. all transactions are done through them and you don't receive funds until the day after the guest checks in; blocking contact information until a reservation is made - bleh. It's just backwards. But, if there were a "happy medium" between the two entities (HomeAway and Airbnb) it might be a good idea. Thanks for keeping us posted on the summit. I'm looking forward to being able to go - hopefully next year if I can swing it!
Sounds exactly like airbnb. I also will not use them as I do not like the idea of someone collecting MY money. We also charge very high security despot between $2000 and $3000 depending on house. This is also an issue with them.
Homeaway is also working on ways to be imbedded in our business. They are creating a program to help us prevent being phished. Their program has us answering emails thru them and they then process our emails. They are creating a wall atound us. Hate the idea of big brother being inside my business. I would like to think that I am smart enough to catch someone phisihng inside my emails.
I am sure that homeaway will list on their website all they "sneaks" as they call it.
Some are outstanding. Some of no use to me.
I believe a ratings system would be an excellent idea! I just had a disagreement with a particular renter who had a few minor issues at our home to contend with. Mind you, I understand a minor issue for one renter is a major issue for another. During my conversations with this renter, however, I discovered he had a habit of writing bad reviews on rentals, which he would remove if and when the homeowner complied with his wishes. Consider this type of system in terms of eBay -- buyers and sellers are both subject to a rating. I believe this would hold renters accountable, just as it does the homeowner.
My feelings about renters leaving bad reviews or threatening a bad review to gain something from their host (generally a monetary concession after some disappointment with the rental) is best dealt with right where it begins. If not there, when the review comes on. We have the opportunity to respond to any review. that is enough.
At present I am debating the airbnb review of a guest who pulled the above on us. Their complaint was legit, and we dealt with it but could not be as on the spot as I wish as it came in late at night, after all had been fine earlier. Resolved in the morning, with monetary compensation back to guest. The guest however took advantage and has been non-responsive afterwards. After mentioning it would "all" go into the review. Somehow, I doubt the fact they shorted us on $$ owed after the rental will be mentioned. I hesitate to write a bad guest review, as to do so will surely invite retaliation from the guest. I would never rent to them again. But that is just my experience.
I have not seen any bad guest reviews on Airbnb. Has anyone else?
So bottom line is I would rather not get into a bad-review contest with a guest. I cannot imagine any good coming from it. I question whether it is my duty to report this sort of behavior. I guess I would like feedback on this.
I think we would like like to have the opportunity (as you do) of not renting to these bad tenants as well.
If you don't tell us, unfortunately we will get to experience the same bad tenants.
If we are afraid to report bad tenants for fear of retailiation, we are being intimidated by our renters.
Not great!. These are our homes. These are our investments. The reason for this community is for all of us to band together and to exchange information.
I think this is a great idea.
i think this would be fair, it should be a two way street. i do keep a file called "epic fails" with pictures of various mess and damage made by guests. i have never published them, but i had very strong urges to do that...
Tenants should be just as accountable as homeowners. A rating system would help us all. Tenants would know they could not just trash a property and get away with it and homeowners would provide the best home to the tenants. This is a two way street.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE implement a renter rating system for owners!! Someone mentioned GuestChecker.com, but it is not well known, and ineffective for that reason. If HomeAway promotes a renter rating system they can notify owners of its existance, so it would be highly used. I have a list of guests from over the years that I would love to post, both good and bad.Owners are completely at the mercy of renters with the current review system, and some renters do know how to leverage it to their advantage, quite skillfully in fact. I think renters should know BOTH sides have the right to review each other, so they will hopefully think before acting, if they wish to be let into another vacation rental in the future. AirBnB is right on in that regard, even though I don't care for the rest of their business model.
I pay a lot of money for my ad. This would be leveling the playing field to a certain extent to help justify staying with HomeAway. Are you listening HomeAway???
This was discussed at the Summitt meeting 2012 and never implimented. Not sure why not. We all need this
Maybe HomeAway could give guests an opportunity to become "certified" or "trusted" by gettting a certain number of positive review from owners? I would be willing to give a discount to renters that I know are trustworthy. I think renters would be willing to jump through a few hoops to show that they are trustworthy and get some of incentives.
I would be in favor of a system much like Ebay. Both buyer and seller have a feedback area and each side understands that their rating is at risk. I think is a more balanced and fair approach. I know when I buy something on Ebay that if I don't make my payment promptly or communicate effectively with the seller I may get less than glowing feedback. And, vice versa the seller knows that if they don't pack the item well or if they don't ship the item right away or if the item isn't as described they too risk a negative feedback which in turn could damage their business in the long run.
I have had sellers include notes in their packages that say, "This is not my hobby, it's my business and please give me the opportunity to rectify any mistakes or problems before you register negative feedback."
I really like the idea. Just last weekend we said good bye to our first ever renters, and I can not stop crying over the state my house is in now. I wish I could warn other owners of this family.
brokenpineview, I'm sorry you had a bad experience with your first renters. This is my first year too and I've been extremely lucky with my guests. I had one renter's child stand on my dishwasher door when it was open and pulled it out of the cabinet but, other than that all of my guest's have been great. I'm learning to screen them very carefully, I've reduced the max capacity to six (the city permitted 8), and explain nicely that I don't rent my cottage to large groups or parties of any kind and I also keep my prices just above the local competition. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Thank you "mudstump" for kind words. Our house is of "higher end" property, and we charge a pretty high price. I just thought that it will keep the careless renters away... Mistake!
How can you screen potential renters? Would appreciate any input here.
Also,lowering number of guests makes sense too.
I absolutely would love to see a "Guest Rating" system. For the majority of my guests I would give them a positive rating. But, there are a handful that I feel should be put on a "Red Flag" list. I truly feel in my market that there are "professional" guests who may or may not trash your home, and then threaten to post negative reviews if you do not refund them their money. Each one of them has told me they are frequent VRBO travelers.
I am in complete agreement with SueTahoe. A 5 star rating system of tenants is more than fair. A 5 star system tenant rating system would be different and considerably better than Ebay. I also think it would HELP PROMPT TENANTS TO WANT TO RECIPROCATE IN THE FORM OF A GOOD REVIEW, if leaving a good review about them. People appreciate kind words. Good reviews help us to move up the list in prospective areas. Here are other beneficial points that owners should consider:
When both sides have the ability to be scrutinized, it puts everyone on their best behavior, taking away the ONE SIDED THREAT, and balances the playing field.
Tori Cole - The Historic Balch Retreat on Hood Canal
Toricole: Isn't it just the number of reviews, not the star ratings, that counts in the Homeaway sort order?
SueTahoe said "Each one of them has told me they are frequent VRBO travelers". I wonder if anyone ever asks inquirers who say this for the email or phone of a prior owner as a reference? If they refuse to provide it, big red flag! I am hesitant to ask for references for fear of chasing away renters, but if it were common practice, I might do so.
Addressing Carol's question regarding number of reviews vs star ratings in sort order. HomeAway states that amount of reviews boosts sort order, but is so minute, it is not worth mentioning. However, the QUALITY of those reviews is what ACTUALLY affects sort order.
As an example, the vacation rental next door has 11 reviews with a 4.81 average quality star rating (per HomeAway customer service). I have a 4.72 review avg and 34 reviews. We both have platinum listings. The other vacation rental stepped into first position, even though it has been with HomeAway less than a year, and way less reviews. I have been with them for 3 years. Don't be fooled by HomeAway that seniority has anything to do with sort order as that is DEFINITELY not the case, but is also another story. We both update our calendars daily, and verified through HomeAway that we were doing everything identically, except I didn't have a pin point locator. So.......it all comes down to REVIEW QUALITY if you are in a competitive market, which I am. HomeAway confirmed this with me on 2 different occasions. I was informed by them that it was the REVIEW QUALITY that put me in second position by a small fraction of a percent. The only thing that put me back in first, was adding the pin point locator on the map. So much for seniority, and amount of reviews. I am VERY careful about which tenants receive a review request.
ALSO, IF YOU ARE IN ANY WAY WORRIED ABOUT BEING SUED FOR REVIEWING A TENANT, THEN DON'T WRITE ABOUT THEM! Please don't attempt to sabotage a potential review system that countless owners feel would be VERY HELPFUL. If this idea is not for you, merely remain silent. HOMEAWAY IS OBSERVING. Also, your vacation rental homeowners insurance steps in and fights legal issues, on the one in a million chance someone attempted to sue. If it is not legit, its thrown out of court (I have a legal background in real estate).
I would like to add another two cents worth to this discussion.
I worked for many years in another sort of life altogether, chasing down white collar criminals. In the course of that work, a few things became very clear to me.
First of all, most people are not dishonest. If we as hosts are straighforward about what offer, we will draw to us people who appreciate what we offer, and all will go well.
Second, into every bowl of cereal some dust will fall. We go ahead and eat the cereal anyway. It is pretty much the same with our guests. Every once in awhile someone will choose us and discover they have erred. Some will leave a bad review. Other guests will see that the bad review is not about the place they stayed but is about their experience. They will filter what they read through their own sensibilities, and make a decision. In that sense, all information is good information.
Finally, yes, there are some dirty do-ers out there. When we cross paths with them, and they target us, our best possible defense is to say no to them, and then ignore them. It is tempting to want to publish their names. And sometimes that is appropriate, but I would say never when we have contributed to their negative experience through confusing information or inadequate attention. We all make mistakes, guests included. Even when they are aggravating, it is important to weigh every aspect.
The idea of a guest "bad list" leaves a bad taste in my mouth as a host. I don't believe the names of "bad guests" should routinely be published. If anything, have a "report board" and if the same guest makes it onto it twice, then consider publishing their information, but carefully, including what went wrong. At 3 mis-deeds, their identifying info goes up, along with what they did or failed to do. This list would be a short one. And in it would tend to be those who threaten a bad review while they are present on the property, making complaints that are sketchy.
I agree that a "bad guest list" is a negative thing. Yet, if there are strict guidelines to the rating system, it could be a good tool. Only paying members of VRBO/HomeAway would have access to it, so it is a private paid for list.
Would you want this guest to return? After check-out guest informed me that my property was completely unsuitable for her non-ambulatory elderly parents, one of which needed a wheelchair. If I did not return her money, she would post a negative review.
In all our multiple email communications, she never once mentioned a wheel-chair. She even knew there were stairs as they were mentioned in several emails and the photos on the VRBO site indicate stairs. Had she mentioned the wheelchair, I would have advised her to seek an alternative property.
This guest checked in early when I had specifically asked her to adhere to the check-in time due to a turn over on that day. My housekeeping crew was still there when they arrived. In fact, my housekeeper left and then returned to finish up something after they had settled in. My housekeeper never saw a wheelchair. There was no mention of unsuitability at that time or at any time during their stay, when it could have been addressed. I refused to return her money, she posted a negative review, and a complaint to VRBO. I responded to her complaint and was successful in having her negative review pulled as she blatantly was using "blackmail by review".
I think you handled this fine.
No way will any system result in no unhappy experiences.
Overall I love what we do. Our ratio of unhappy guests to happy is about 1:400. I will not let this fractional minority cause me the unhappiness of taking them to task, reporting them, or trying to make them see the light.
The Dalai Lama says it is more useful to be aware of a single shortcoming in our own selves than a thousand in other people. If we know we are doing the best we can, offering up the best guest experience we can provide, the rest will take care of itself. The key here is stepping up when things go wrong and doing out best to make it right. If a guest still wants to complain, the 399 I mentioned above will see right through them.
On first glance, a review system of tenants seems great. But I'd worry about getting sued if I posted negative comments, even if true. There is a difference between a bad review of a person versus a property. It's the tenants that mistreat your property that may not be very rational & try to sue. Even if they have no chance of winning a suit, who needs the hassle & expense? I'd prefer a system only available to owners and managers that have a listing on HA or VRBO.
I doubt if this will ever happen, but one solution might be for whoever is maintaining the list to charge a fee for reporting a bad guest. The money could then be used to defend any suites, and counter-sue.
AGAIN....If you DON'T submit a tenant review, you have ZERO risk of legal suits related to them. Down playing a rating system that some of us have wanted for YEARS to protect our properties, and that you would receive the benefit of viewing DOES NOT HARM YOU IN ANY WAY. PLEASE DO NOT RUIN IT FOR THE REST OF US, AS I'M SURE HOMEAWAY IS MONITORING.
Here is a quote from Edmund Burke "EVIL PREVAILS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING". We would no longer be completely helpless and at a tenants mercy if we choose not to be. You may like to be a sitting duck, but I certainly don't.
Of course, we could avoid all the hassles with reviews of bad renters if we had a system of reporting GOOD renters. If I found a prospect on the list, it wouldn't be a guarantee of good behavior, but I'd be very grateful for a recommendation from another owner. And if a renter is not on the list, I'd be extra careful.
That's a great idea, Carol. Why not have a 1-5 system + comments.
But, I wouldn't put any import on someone not appearing on the list. Like most guests, most owners will not bother to leave reviews.
Yes, of course VRBO and Homeaway need a rating system where we property owners have "equal" rating opportunity -
this likely would provide incentive to renters to be "good renters" and take care of the property, make payments on time, leave the property in good condition etc - - -
I see few problems with this system, and generally, a benefit to good renters - - - - just a s good property reviews are a benefit to owners!
I disagree with the majority of other owners who believe a renter review system would be a good idea.
I think it would be perceived negatively by renters and could result in potential guests returning to traditional vacation lodgings.
How would renters be reviewed? By whose (and what) standards? Cleanliness? Noisiness? Politeness? Timeliness of payments? Attitude? I think such a review system could be considered an intrusion and put travelers off vacation rentals.
I don't think a renter rating system is a good idea for growing vacation rentals, once you begin to consider the details.
I agree with thaxterlane. I believe that allowing owners to post reviews about renters would have a chilling effect on most potential renters. I am an owner with a listing on VRBO. I am also a renter who uses VRBO. (In fact, I am currently staying at a property in Florida that I rented through VRBO.) I think that qualitatively there is a huge difference between a renter giving a vacation property a poor rating and an owner giving a renter a poor rating. I take a lot of pride in my rental property and would be very upset if I received a poor rating. My property, however, is just a house.
My good name and reputation are much more important to me than my vacation home. As a renter, I would no longer utilize an internet site such as VRBO if it meant that a property owner could post negative comments online about me. I would not open myself up to the risk of being pilloried online by some quirky owner. Remember, not all owners are above reproach.
I'm confused...this topic has been talked about for over 2 years, and still nothing has been done? What good is a community of information if the information goes nowhere? YES, WE NEED RENTER GRADING SYSTEM...
1. Cleanliness of tenant
2. Items lost or stolen
3. would you rent to tenant again?
EBAY figured this out YEARS ago, a community that shoes the cards of all players is a system that everyone benefits from. Can we expect VRBO.COM and HOMEAWAY.COM to follow suit?
As a former employer and a landlord of "regular" rental properties I really see no downside in providing some kind of clearing house or referral system. I wouldn't even mind if there was a way for Travelers to provide references, but I imagine many Owners wouldn't want the hassle of this.
A simple "would you rent to this person again" , with a way for an Owner actively screening someone to contact the previous Owner would be okay with me, both as a Traveler and Owner.
Tenant and employment laws prohibit me from providing specific negative information to potenital landlords or employers, but a simple "Would you rent to this person" Or" Would you rehire this person?" are legitimate responses.
I know my own state's law's do require me to disclose the fact that I provide notification in my Contract that I particpate in a reference clearing house . BUT, that is why Guestchecker .com has that requirement, and allows the tenant to dispute any "bad review".
just my 2 cents
Some owners have cited eBay's feedback for buyers as showing the merits of allowing reviews/ratings of travelers. These owners must be thinking of a bygone era, and eBay's experience should be a warning to those who advocate for feedback of customers.
Once upon a time, eBay did permit sellers to post neutral or negative feedback for buyers. eBay changed its policy in 2008, however, and now sellers may post postive feedback for buyers, or may post no feedback at all. See http://pages.ebay.com/help/feedback/howitworks.html
Why did eBay change its policies to prohibit criticism of buyers? Too many sellers were abusing the process, intimidating buyers by threatening, or giving, negative feedback in retaliation for neutral or negative feedback to the seller, even when the seller's performance fully deserved negative feedback by any objective standard. Some sellers threatened, and gave, negative feedback to buyers who complained that purchases were not delivered, even sellers who could not show that they had shipped the purchase.
The legitimacy of the feedback received by sellers became questionable because the most abusive sellers were those most likely to intimidate their customers through the threat or use of negative feedback. As a result, those bad sellers tended to have more favorable feedback than those sellers deserved, while honest sellers, who occasionally made a mistake and received negative feedback as a result, often appeared to be worse than the truly bad sellers because the honest sellers were not using buyers' feedback as a weapon against their customers. Buyers began avoiding eBay because of the hostile, adversarial atmosphere arising from sellers' use of feedback.
For several years I worked mediating disputes arising from eBay transactions. A large part of my business included feedback issues. I had many repeat "customers" who were sellers who slapped negative feedback on buyers at the slightest provocation. Invariably, doing that alienated the customer and the larger dispute could not be resolved. When sellers had not given negative feedback to the buyer I almost always could help buyer and seller to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. From my experience I have to say that publicly criticizing a customer is a sure way to make a committed enemy.
I do understand how it could be tempting to smack a guest with puclic criticism when that guest has caused probems or posted a less than glowing review. It might help to ease the anger an owner may feel when there has been a problem. But the hostile atmosphere would pervade the site, and we could expect to see travelers take their business elsewhere just as buyers cut back on eBay purchases prior to the ban on neutral/negative buyer feedaback.
There still are eBay sellers who call for a return of the policy that permitted neutral or negative feedback to buyers, but any honest assessment needs to conclude that eBay sellers, as a whole, are doing better business under the current policy than they did just before the change was implemented.
There are other sites, such as guestchecker.com mentioned by Debj, on which owners can post information regarding guests. (Likewise, there are sites to collect complaints relating to eBay buyers.) Those who want to criticize guests may use those sites.
eBay learned that feedback to purchasers can cause far more problems than it solves. I would hate to see HA fail to learn from eBay's experience.
You start out with a logical thought, negativity doesn't help out! I agree. But your thought process takes a turn that doesn't help out your stoic, wise advice.
Ebay is a community of NONE licensed individuals who are working in the "wild west" slinging guns left and right, or using threats, to gain power over the buyer. There is no "law" protecting either party over use of language on thier responses. BUT Landlord tenant law's in most states would have protection for the tenant, so the Abuse potential is shall we say, minimal. Not to mention, an owner who complains about tenant after tenant, is going to be "seen" as probably an owner NOT to work with, so in this instance the negativty can work against an owner.
Secondly, you state it is a BYGONE era...And I had to look again at my ebay account because it has been awhile since i last sold or bought something but sure enough there is still a Postive, Nuetral, and Negative ability of grading, yes, you are right it is only for sellers that can be given a negative grade? What you forgot to mention is, if you are buyer on Ebay, and seller after seller leave "NO" feedback, this lowers your percentage of positive ratings. Ebay, figured it out; by taking the ability to Abuse out of the hands of the abusers....Simply Percentage of "positive" still indicates if you are a good or bad buyer to work with...
KISS...a five star rating of
1. on time payments
2. number of complaints/requets while a guest
3. cleanliness when vacated
4. check in/check out timeliness
5. Left the place as they found it
AND have NO ability to "write" damaging, hurtful words about a tenant....Take the "power" or "potentail for damage" out of the hands of owners.....BUT allow them to rate guests....in a decade of doing this, I have had 3 guests I would never rent to...99.4%, have been wonderful...BUT i promise you those few bad apples make everyone's life horrible who they rent from...in fact two of them I heard others complainging about at community pool months after. They didn't use names, but they spoke of exactly same problems i had, and I just laughed knowing that I turned that guest away, and he made someone else's life in the community horrible...but my neighbor said she would never rent to him again and she warned her friend she was chatting it up with at the pool. Wish there was a "warning" system on Homeaway...But i guess for now I will just check out Airbnb.com since it sounds like they have a system owners desire.
Lastly, I have to laugh because at the top of this Page there is a "report abuse" section....so it's good enough for the like minded community but it's not good enough for the "world" in which we do business...too funny.
That would be an excellent thing to do. That's why I love AirBnb. It gives both the hosts and the renters a sense of responsibliity to 'do their job' and not abuse the review system.
Being new, (owner) I'd like a somekind of rating system also. If I were a renter with real good rating, maybe owners would desire some of these high stared rated renters and even offer them a discount. I know I would, as to avoid or reduce problems.
So I recently found out about guestquery.com and it lets vacation owners add and search for reviews of renters. I actually found out about it from a recent guest who had a profile on there and asked for a discount for having recommendations from previous trips. I haven't had much luck finding existing reviews on people I get inquiries from so instead I have been asking them to sign up on the site and get recommendations from other vacation owners so I know they are trustworthy. Hopefully if more owners get on the site the number of reviews will increase and it will be more valuable for all of us.
Why is everyone suggesting we go to another Site to do the exact thing we want on Homeaway? It would seem, since other sites are providing this service, that the "industry" is ok with it, so it throws out the Ebay concern....and why is everyone who responds in an attempt to get us to go somewhere else for this service always out of Hawaii area?? For 2 years this discussion has gone on, apparently everyone else just goes to a third party site, instead of encouraing homeaway and vrbo.com to "improve" thier product offerings...
America, once had a theory that we build a "BETTER PRODUCT" and continually improve upon that we will have customers for life! What happen to that America? Last time i looked, all my friends Foreign vehicles were run down, beat up, thrown out in 3-5 years...i am still driving a 2001 Ford Pickup, with 280,000 miles... on it, so Some company's haven't lost the American ideals..
I'll attempt to address some of your questions.
I'm not convinced that a reviewing/rating system for guests is in my interest. I am an individual property owner - I have one house that I rent on a weekly basis. It's a seasonal rental in New England.
I think that your your point of view on this subject, driven by your needs as a property manager, is going to be different than mine. I'll assume you may have many properties that are year 'round rentals - a very different rental responsibility and process than my simple vacation house.
I am concerned that reviewing guests would drive business away. I do not know of any service for purchase of goods or hire of services where buyer/clients are reviewed and the information shared amongst all service providers.
I have several steps to screening potential guests, and tools in place for limiting the potential for "problem" guests (how does one define a problem guest?), that have worked for me over the years and that I would trust more than an unknown owner's opinion of a guest.
I don't use a third party site. And, I'm not in Hawaii.
I don't favor reviewing/reporting on guests' behaviors. I think a review system could have a chilling effect on inquiries. I think buyers/clients are likely to see a review system as disrespectful and demeaning. I would.
As a traveler, I would not agree to stay in a property that might lead to a "rating" of me as a guest. It's an intrusion that I would not be willing to risk as it would leave a mark of sorts on my personal record ONLINE. A review, whether true or false, could live forever. I think a review/report system poses a risk to all travelers' reputations and the few "problem" travelers that are avoided through such a system are not worth the overall risk.
If an owner or property manager is having frequent difficulties with "problem" guests I suggest they first seek to eliminate risk by examining their screening process and putting in place procedures that help uncover these guests before a rental agreement is signed. I know it's not easy, and I don't intend to suggest it is. But, attempting to catch the "problem" guests by subjecting all guests to a review system is not an appropriate nor reasonable answer.
Do you drink Alcohol? I don't, but every time I go the the grocery store, there it is, one isle of wine and one isle of cold beer. It is there for those who choose to use it and it does not effect the quality of my grocery shopping experience. In fact it enhances my experience.
What's my point, just beacuse the system is there, doesn't force you to use it. HA, odly, your rentals sound exactly like mine, vacation home properties. Doesn't "Homeaway" suggest, Vacation properties, and isn't VRBO an achronym for Vacation Rentals By Owners....What it that term sounds like Long term year round rentals?
If you think it would be an advantage for you to not use the rating system great, use that angle to grow your business. Again, we are talking about less than 5% of the polulation that causes headaches...I promise you those 5 percent cause enought head aches that they are likely a voice not heard amongst friends, so the "Fear" or loosing potential guests, just seems far fetched to me. I have only been doing this for a decade, just about the time the little old family started up VRBO, and in that time I have never had a problem renting out my property 100% of the Season...I just don't see the fear motive.
hosueguy, I think we have reached a point in this conversation where we should agree to disagree. Best, thaxter.
hosueguy, I agree it would be nice if HomeAway would offer this feature but what's the problem with going to another website like GuestQuery or GuestChecker? It takes me almost no time at all to switch over to another browser tab and look up information on another site. Plus, since these companies specialize in letting us review guests I'm guessing they will always have HomeAway beat on features in that particular specialty. I find it more annoying when HomeAway forces you to use their system and services for things because I can usually find another service that is better and done on my terms instead of HomeAway's. It really doesn't seem worth complaing so much about.
I think a rating system might be useful, but not a review system. In other words, nothing negative or positive could be written about the guest. HA/VRBO could just ask for a number of stars and some very basic yes/no questions, like: Did they pay on time? Did they check out on time? Those could then show up in the owner's dashboard with that guest's inquiry, but nowhere else.