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I've read a couple posts mentioning this, but I didn't see anything like that on my listing. Aha! Now I know, and I'm really NOT HAPPY! I did a test inquiry on my listing, and as soon as I hit the Submit button, there was a list of links to10 other houses in Duck, NC, with 4 bedrooms. Now I don't know what the owners of these cottages pay VRBO, but I'm paying the max with 16 pictures. I DO NOT APPRECIATE my listing leading my prospective renters to somebody else's house.
HomeAway/VRBO: PLEASE remove this "feature" from my inquiry submit page.
I'm so upset about this that I'll break with protocol and post in another forum, possibly more if there are appropriate forums. I want to make sure the powers that be see this, and I want to make sure everybody who lists on VRBO realizes what's going on. Like me, most people with listings do not realize this since they don't send inquiries to themselves.
They won't stop doing this. Owners have been expressing how this has hurt us and the traffic to our ad pages [we paid for]...and they simply do not respond .... Owners have been chatting about this for weeks, now. There are dozens of posts on the Community here. It's so silent "out there" in VRBO offices...you can hear a pin drop and echo all the way to their BANK.
You're so right. VRBO should not be making suggestions to prospective tenants about similiar rentals. Two other advertsing things VRBO does that are wrong: At the top of the page for rentals in the city where mine is located, sometimes there is an ad at the top of the page for another resort town. Gee, thanks, VRBO. I get a prospective tenant to at least consider renting in my town and you have an ad suggesting another town.Also, when I clicked on the public site of my calendar a few days ago, there was an ad within the calendar section for a hotel chain .I don't mind ads for related products like security locks or insurance, but please, VRBO, don't have competing city or hotels ads.
Anybody listening at VRBO? I'm payiing almost $500 for my lisitng. Please don't direct potential tenants to other options.
Totally agree and no one is listening!
They are not listening to Owners. The reason is because HA-VRBO does not consider the Property Owners to be "their customers". Their customers and their "first in line to be served" are --- The Travellers. This is in their public statements. So, they have geared the websites to provide "choices" for Travellers.
Flipkey also suggest similar properties.
I've only just noticed these "Sponsored LInks" at the bottom of every search result -- they're sending OUR customers to competing websites !!!! Not affiliates inside the HomeAway family, but other companies who offer the same kind of properties for holiday rentals in our own markets. This is ASTOUNDING. We pay HomeAway, then they pick up a few extra bucks by encouraging our visitors to LEAVE the HomeAway website and go rent someone else's home. Surely there is some duty of care called for here. My complaint to the London office got the reply that "it's the Americans selling those ads." NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I will escalate to the top Amerians asap -- will others join the clamour, please!?
This place is run by a bunch of clowns. If they could or wanted to do better...it would be different. They don't care and they prove it daily. A restaurant that serves bad food won't last. This restaurant has great food but they don't pay for the ingredients and they could care less about the suppliers of the ingredients. There are no more ingredients readily available!! There are rats in the kitchen and food quality is slipping and the maitre d' thinks everything is fine and dandy.
Amazon does the same thing to their sellers, as does EBAY, there is nothing we can do to stop it as long as it increases profits for them. All we can do is to hold our pricing and not fall in to a downward spiral of price wars because the potential renter is shown many more alternatives than he would otherwise have found on his own. As far as supplying links to outside competing web sites, that is morally wrong since we have paid premium money to have higher positioning within HA/VRBO and to send them away from these sites to a competitor is a deeply flawed practice. But that is corporate america, none of us property owners are beginners at life and deep down we know they will screw their own grandmother to make more bank... the management of these complanies have no moral core.
Yeah you are right but may be competators in other part of the world in travel industry may not be that harmful to you.I have been working with Barcelona Bed and Breakfast Apartments in spain and i can safely say that If some one is providing quality services then prices dont matter much.Quality services to the travelers is key t success and d keep some human element while dealing with them.You will go viral
I fully agree with you on this.. my business is doing far better than I expected exactly because of the things you pointed out.. personal service, i always answer every email with questions within hours, and my place is way nicer outfitted than anyone in my area, and spotlessly clean with every necessary amenity. I have been doing this for 4 months and I have 13 5 star reviews and the most anyone else has in my area is 6 and who have been doing the vaca rental for years. The reviews are starting to separate me from the pack as more and more of my inquiries refer to them. I was only agreeing that if we pay marketing fees then their loyalty should be to us and not to the traveler, but as they say, it is what it is, and all we can do is be better business people and as you say, provide superior service.
at the end of it all ******** about HA/VRBO policies will bring us the same result as ******** about our government..
HA/VRBO make the bulk of their money from paid links - yours! Wonder what would happen if everyone failed to renew their add (for a certain time period) - would that make them look up?
To say we the homeowners and paid subscribers are not their customers is plain wrong. We are their customers and that's why they have added extra services like reservation services and credit card processing.
They think they are too big to concern themselves with the money engine of their entire business - us!
I remember VRBO from back in the late 90's when it was run by a couple who did not accept outside advertising on their pages nor offer rental alternatives to inquirerers.
Those were the good old days I guess. Nevertheless, there is plenty of power in numbers.
VRBO hasn't changed any of its practices since these postings.
It doesn't take a genius to see that sending potential customers off the VRBO website to a local competitors website is a BAD IDEA.
If you are as angry about these cusotmer unfriendly practices as I am about this TELL VRBO ABOUT IT
SEND AN EMAIL TO
Here is text to COPY AND PASTE in your email:
To Whom It May Concern:
I do not agree with VRBO showing targeted sponsored ads for local competitive rental and hotel websites next to my highly paid VRBO rental listing. These sponsored ads are proposing local hotels and other non-VRBO affiliates to potential renters and are potentially compromising my rental ability by introducing unneeded competition. This is not in the best interest of me, your customer.
Just as customers have a number of choices to find a rental property, I as an owner have a choice of where to advertise my rental. I can go to FlipKey or B2B Air or any a number of other websites.
Stop your greedy and selfish interests of increasing your revenue at the expense of your customer. I urge you to abandon showing targeted sponsored ads for local competitors websites next to your customer listings. This is unaccepatble behavior and represents a serious conflict of interest!
Hello. I have been a VRBO memeber for 2 years. I don't understand what the problem is, to be honest. If you were shopping for toothpaste in a store, you'd want to see more than 1 brand of toothpaste, even though you usually buy the same toothpaste every time. If you are shopping on Zappo's or Amazon, it's helpful to see similar products to the item you're shopping for. I do not understand why you feel so vulnerable. As part of VRBO/HA, you are part of the ecommerce machine, and this is how it works.
I've been watching the discussions from the sidelines for quite some time. Jumping in now because I am sitting on a plane and have time to do so, and, because frankly, I'm alarmed at the stance homeowners are taking against VRBO/HA.
Wow. I didn't think you could make me any more suspicious! If you had really been reading owners' posts, you would be more alarmed at VRBO/HA than at homeowners! Who are you really?
I'm a photo shoot producer, a mother, a gardener, and a homeowner with 3 properties in LA. Your energy is misdirected.
I too find it hard to believe that you're not on the HomeAway payroll! How can you not understand the harm being done to you? I'm now getting 10% of the inquiries I was getting this time last year! Nothing else has changed, I've just been sold down the river by HomeAway.
I originally started posting to say thanks to vrbo for hosting the summit. I truly feel grateful and wish to express that. I am sorry to hear things are not going well for you.
And yet again, I am amazed at the mean spirited and uncalled for attacks/comments on other posters and the outright hostility and hatred toward vrbo/ha on these forums.
It's really simple. If you don't like what they are doing, then you have other choices. This is America. We have freedom of many many things and you are not obligated to use them as your advertising choice if you don't agree with them. There are numerous other companies that are willing to take your money. If you say though "Well I get more business through ha/vrbo", then you really have no basis for your argument. If you aren't getting business, then you need to find other advertising companies and change the way you do business.
You really can't tell them how to run their company or what you think they should do. What you can do is NOT renew your subscription at renewal time.
As to the links that show up on your listing page, just remember that on your competitors page, YOUR property is showing up on theirs! I wasn't particularly pleased when I saw this, but anja is correct, they are not going to change it.
Let's play nice people....I hate coming on here and always seeing negative rants and attacks toward other posters.
*I am in complete agreement with Sofie... Amazon does the exact same
thing.. if you click on a toaster you will get many other toasters.. its
the way online marketing is done these days.. I think it promotes our
business in general to give them choices, and I know my home is a cut above
the rest so i welcome the competition. If they are looking for a place
that is a cut above they will return to me and book.. if not they were
just shopping on price or not serious and why waste my time with sending
them a quote?
Precisely, cpnmikes. The new shopping experience on VRBO is in line with ALL of the other internet shopping experiences that travelers have. It makes the search process more efficient and more convenient for the traveler. In a store, you want to see options on the shelf, as well as store-recommended brands. It's how we as consumers are accustomed to shopping. Regarding the review requirement, I am completely in favor of that, and again, it updates the internet shopping experience. Current reviews are key. As a host, I have never had a bad review, and if I did, I'm sure the response would help others understand the issue. Changes in demand have as much to do with the overall economy and the increasing supply of vacation homes in the market than it does with any policy change at HA.
Now that VRBO has added the "filter by" feature, customers can do their own search for similar listings by the features that are important to them. When submitting an inquiry, VRBO then lists "similar" listings to consider, however the homes listed are many times already booked for the dates requested, so there is no "intelligence" built into VRBO's system of providing customers with other homes to consider other than "sleeps #". This wastes customers time and only leads to confusion and frustration.
What you are describing is what happens on airbnb as well. Travelers are used to it.
Listings on AirBnb are free, while we pay for our listings on HA/VRBO. Should we accept sub-par performance because other sites are? I'd rather focus on exceptional service, ways VRBO can improve the traveler experience to encourage more visitors, and to also provide the best service to their "paying" customers, the owners.
For one thing, airbnb still costs $. Secondly, I don't consider the similiar listings feature, even without availability info, to be sub-par. I consider it a step in the right direction for VRBO so that they can compete with airbnb and everyone else who's marketing products and services through the internet.
I have less of an issue with VRBO proposing other alternate VRBO properties as to them showing targeted ads on their website for non-VRBO properties like local hotels and sending people off the VRBO site altogether. Doesn't VRBO make enough money from homeowners listings not to put paid advertising for non-VRBO customers like competing local hotels and other rental groups on their site? This does not seem to be in the best interest of any VRBO customer to send vacationers off the VRBO website to a competing local hotel or rental chain. This is not like Amazon proposing other products to you that Amazon can also sell to you.
And I disagree that the best solution to address issues with VRBO is just "not to renew your subsciption". When consumers complain companies are supposed to listen to what they have to say and if enough complain companies should adjust their practices. I have complained to VRBO about my grievances and I encourage others to do the same if you have an issue with VRBO their email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I see your point about the sponsored links to non-VRBO rental options.
I couldn't agree with you more, Sophie. Well said.
But I do think HA/VRBO somewhat hypocritical. It's Ok for me to pay to advertise and they supplement my ad anyway they wish, but if I want to include a link to my website and my website site contains a unit not on HA/VRBO, or it's own calander, or own reviews, that's a big no-no, unless of course that link in to a PM site.