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19483 Views 41 Replies Latest reply: May 13, 2012 1:21 PM by lkbeason RSS Branched to a new discussion.
New Member 5 posts since
Oct 28, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 28, 2011 1:28 PM

Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

I am very upset with the new requirement to have travelers,  who are nice enough to take time to submit a property review, be asked to register with Homeawy first. I have many many reviews which I value, and prospective travelers value, very much.

 

Strangle, but the last 6 review requests I send  out to past renters were not replied to.. KnowI know why. This is becasue of this added rewuirement of HA to have travelers REGISTER themselves with HA.

 

My same 6 travelers  who I asked to submit to HA accepted my FlipKey Review request and kindly submitted a nice review. This is is very telling. I am VERY CONCERNED as is the Homeaway COMMUNITY that this new requiremnt of HA  is having a large negative impact on review submissions. This will cause many folks  to rethink the value of Homeaway both from a advertisers and from a travelers perspective.

 

PLEASE I ask that HA remove this new requirement and have the value and ease of adding reviews by travelers back to what it was.

 

Help,

Lisa - Marco Island

  • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,353 posts since
    May 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 28, 2011 2:39 PM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    I'm having the same problem. Folks write nice things in my guest book, and are agreeable to write a review when I do my followup phone call-- but then nothing happens.  Most people are now savvy enoughto knwo that by signing up for something they'll get spamed to death.

     

    The new system is NOT working - at least for owners. I will say it again--- Why fix what is not broken? Please, VRBO bring back the old system.

    • kristin.r Contributor 116 posts since
      Jun 1, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 28, 2011 8:16 PM (in response to msdebj)
      Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

      I was just realizing something because of our other discussion on "VRBO is not what it used to be -- too bad" I couldn't understand why I was receiving a lot of advertisements at work from HA/VRBO.  But I have realized when I created a fake inquiry to myself (Sally) I have been getting a lot of spam from HA. Our poor potential renters must be inundated with this junk.  So in a nut shell they are getting spammed anyway once they have inquired about your property. Kristin

  • marym Active Contributor 463 posts since
    Feb 10, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2011 7:45 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    It's always been my experience, that if I'm asked to join anything over the internet, I'll just blow it off!  As a consumer, I HATE when I'm asked to do that and just move on.  I'm certain our guests feel the same way.

  • Contributor 86 posts since
    Oct 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 31, 2011 11:05 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    I am also very frustrated with this new requirement for guests to create an account just to provide a guest review on the HomeAway site!  For the past month I could not figure out why guests were no longer entering guest reviews.  I had several guests that indicated that they would but never received them.  Then today, when a returning guest went to create a guest review she emailed me and told me that she could not unless she set up some kind of account.  So, I went to the HomeAway site and tried myself.  To my surprise it was now requiring an account to be set up.  Again, HomeAway makes changes without notify us!

     

    I called customer service and asked them about this new policy.  At first the said that it was always that way.  Then when pushed, she finally said, oh yeah, that was changed about a month ago.  I told her the negative impact that it has and asked if there was somebody else to talk with.  Since I live in Austin I even volunteered to come to the HomeAway office to discuss my concerns with somebody.  She told me that all I could do was go to the HomeAway site and click the feedback button.  Great Customer NO service!

     

    HomeAway should immediately change this new policy back to allow guests to provide their feedback without haveing them set up an account!  Guest reviews are very important to my listing. 

  • travis HomeAway Employee 325 posts since
    May 2, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 31, 2011 12:37 PM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    Hi Lisa,

    Here’s a detailed outline of the review process for HomeAway with screenshots of what your guest sees when submitting a review. We also have a video if you’d like to see the process. The only change is the guest now has to enter a password, which eliminates the need to click on a link in their email confirming they submitted a review.

    I hope this information is useful and please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Travis

    • Contributor 86 posts since
      Oct 31, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 31, 2011 2:03 PM (in response to travis)
      Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

      Travis,

       

      I think you have provided a very good company response.  However, you are not listening to what we are trying to tell you.  You make it sound like you are doing the guest a favor but not having them click a link in their email.  You might be if you were not now requiring them to now set up a travelrers account.

       

      If you want to help, give them the option to sign in or create a new account but don't make this a requirement.  A lot of guests do not want to set up an account, they just want to simply provide a guest review.

       

      I have missed three guest reviews in the past month because of your new requirement!  We appreciate that you are trying to make things better.  However, you need to listen when your changes are not working!  This one is not working!

       

      Randy

        • Contributor 86 posts since
          Oct 31, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Oct 31, 2011 5:32 PM (in response to lisaleb)
          Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

          Here is the standard response from HomeAway customer service (see below).  I guess we must be making up the negative impact this is having on receiving guest reviews!  After all if you read below, “it is no different than the previous review process” and “the total number has held steady”.  Of course we know for a fact that it is different (you now have to create an account) and we know our guests are not creating the account and they are not leaving us guest reviews.  The customer service representative states that they “will continue to actively monitor the impact of this change”.  I am sure they will keep us all informed on how it is going!  Yeah right!

           

          Dear Randy,

          Thank you for contacting HomeAway Customer Support. While we are now asking for travelers to login to submit a review upfront, it is no different than the previous review process in which travelers were required to submit an email address, name on rental contract, and location to submit a review. In fact, traveler accounts streamline the process for travelers to write reviews. Travelers are asked to set up an account once and then moving forward, they may simply login the next time to leave a review. While we are now asking for a password to finish the review, we have reduced the overall time to submit a review by removing a number of fields such as nickname and city.

          Here are a few other reasons we’ve implemented a traveler login:

          1. Traveler accounts help us identify travelers so that we can protect owners from bogus reviews or help resolve review disputes.

          2. Traveler accounts enable travelers to “favorite” a property, write a note, or send a property to a friend.

          3. The information we capture from the traveler account is not shared with third parties, nor is it made public or used to “spam” the traveler.

          We’ve heard concerns from some owners that the traveler accounts may discourage travelers from writing reviews. We have compared the number of daily reviews received prior to implementing the traveler accounts, and the total number has held steady. We will continue to actively monitor the impact this change has on review submissions.

          For helpful vacation rental tips and advice from other travelers, visit Community at community.homeaway.com.

          If you need further assistance, please feel free to visit our Help site at:
          http://www.homeaway.com/info/about-us/homeaway-faqs

      • New Member 13 posts since
        Aug 31, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Dec 6, 2011 12:45 PM (in response to pcb-randy)
        Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

        I agree completely!  I wondered why I haven't received any reviews from the last 5 rentals!  Great notes in our guest book, but nothing on our webpage.  What good is that to any of us?  HA please listen to us!!!

         

        HA just wants to get everybody's e-mail to send them SPAM.  Not a good business model in my opinion.  Just ticks everybody off, including me.  I've been investigating other places to advertise and have signed up with two others.  HA/VRBO is getting too big for their britches and has lost it's appeal for a lot of us.

      • New Member 1 posts since
        Mar 19, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        May 13, 2012 1:21 PM (in response to pcb-randy)
        Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

        This new review process isn't working. I have sent out two review requests lately and both have declined to do so because of the login requirement. One comment made by home away was that it streamed lined their processes.  I'm guessing that is very true because they have drastically reduced the number of reviews they have to deal with.

         

        This needs to change!

  • Contributor 86 posts since
    Oct 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2011 9:21 PM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    Here is another exchange with HomeAway (see below).  They "hope they will leave a review"!  If they wouldn't have changed the process it would already have been posted!

     

    Sounds like they are getting tired of me voicing my concerns.  For those of you out there that count on guest reviews, please pass on your concerns to HomeAway.  It is going to take more than just a few of us to speak up and get them to change this new process.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Randy

     

     

    Nadia,

     

    Before the changes were made I would not have to "hope they will leave a review".  It would have already been posted.

     

     

    Randy

     

      From: HomeAway support-cs@homeaway.com

    Dear Randy,

     

    Your concerns have been noted and passed along. Unless your guest registers on our site they cannot leave a review. We hope they will leave a review and that they will see that it is a streamlined process once they register.

     

    Best Regards,
    Nadia

     

    --------------- Original Message ---------------
    From: Randy Sent: 11/1/2011 12:59 PM
    To: support-cs@homeaway.com
    Subject: Re: HomeAway Property Case 03414425 ref:00D78VtP.5007Jfxnr:ref

     

    Nadia,

    Here is what I just got from one of my guest.  Doesn't look like I will now be getting their review!

    "Randy,
    I tried to write a review but it kept asking for a login...let me know if it did not post and I will try again.

    Penny"


    This new process is keeping me from getting guest reviews!!!!


    Randy

  • marym Active Contributor 463 posts since
    Feb 10, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 2, 2011 5:41 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    I really don't see this as a problem.  I've placed a provision in my rental contract that permits me vs. the guest to enter comments.  I note that I will ask the guest's permission first prior to entering comments.  To the extent that potential guests looking at my ad are skeptical because the majority of my comments are "owner-entered"...oh well...!  I have wondered whether HA/VRBO has a procedure to verify that my comments are actually those of the guests because I have noticed a delay in even the owner-entered comments, but again, this doesn't bother me...

      • Contributor 86 posts since
        Oct 31, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 2, 2011 8:55 PM (in response to lisaleb)
        Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

        I agree with Lisa!  A true guest review has much more impact then a review submitted by the owner.  I have seen a few listings that have a very high number of reviews.  When I checked them out I found out why.  They were more than 90% entered by the owner.  It makes you wonder when the owner enters a review if it is true or not!  You can't beat the value of a great review entered by your guest!

         

        By the way, what ever happened to HomeAway Travis?  I wonder which one he thinks has the most positive impact when a guest is deciding to stay at a particular property?  Reviews entered by the owner or one entered by a previous guest?  Travis, HomeAway is impacting our bottom line with this change and it is not for the good!  Please allow our guests to write a review with out giving their sould a way to HomeAway!

         

         

        Randy

      • marym Active Contributor 463 posts since
        Feb 10, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 3, 2011 3:21 PM (in response to lisaleb)
        Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

        lisaleb and pcb-randy, I admit, I AGREE with you both as to the impact guest entered reviews has over owner-entered reviews, however from what I've read about what, imho,  appears to be the unbalanced approach VRBO has for owners to respond to negative reviews and now, the difficult process VRBO has put in place for even willing guests to enter a review, it's just not worth it!  I tell my potential guests that references will be provided and if that's not enough, it's probably better we don't enter into a relationship!

        • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
          Aug 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Nov 5, 2011 4:58 PM (in response to marym)
          Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

          I believe that the entire review process needs an overhaul. There are problems with it...for both Travelers and Owners. It requires improvement...and until it is more fair to both The Traveler and The Owner, Owners should be able to opt out. Let them be more creative on how to foster "Trust" between them and the prospective Guest.  That is what this is all about...creating Trust. I am always looking for ways to foster the Trust that is absolutely essential...between me and my prospects. I am going to experiement, using some of my regular, annual guests...to permit me to use them as "references".  The new potential renter will be able  to contact one or more of  my regular guests for their feedback on me and my property. Of course, some people will think that they are my "friends" and "family" helping me...and they believe whatever. But, I think it's work trying.  I just had  a very successful guest experience...for 4 weeks in one  of my cottages....they were so happy...I go so many praises on everything. And,  I can not get them to upload a review on VRBO.  I am so down about it.  I really wanted that review online. They would just give me 'verbal' remarks, when I asked them to do the review, when  they were checking out.  I have just emailed them ...to ask again...and I hope they will do it.  If not....I am completely fed up with the entire review process. I will start to find guest "references" from among my customer/guest base.  Maybe,we have to ditch the online process...and go back to the basics of a personal "reference"....{the good old days}....I'm not that old but it seems to have worked, before the Internet.  I'm just letting myself 'wander" with ideas....something must be better.

        • travis HomeAway Employee 325 posts since
          May 2, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Nov 7, 2011 9:46 AM (in response to marym)
          Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

          Hello everyone,

          I just wanted to chime in and let you know that owner entered reviews do not factor in to your listing’s average rating.

          I also wanted to let you know that the process for entering reviews on VRBO.com has not changed. At the moment there is no traveler account feature for VRBO.com.

          Only reviews entered by guests on HomeAway.com require a traveler account. Among other benefits, this change on HomeAway has helped us streamline the process for verifying that guest submitted reviews truly come from a guest.

          Best regards,

          Travis

          • Contributor 42 posts since
            Nov 3, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Nov 8, 2011 4:34 PM (in response to travis)
            Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

            Thank you Travis for describing the differences regarding the difference in entities --VRBO and Home Away. When looking at an email I noticed that my wife's condos were listed both on VRBO and Home Away.. I obviously did not look at the email generated from the companies well enough. I have no interest whatsoever in paying for Home Away and would appreciate a refund and if that is not forthcoming a notation that upon renewal only VRBO. To date I have not received a single inquiry from Home Away.

  • Contributor 42 posts since
    Nov 3, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 4, 2011 8:06 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    And now I know why one or more guests who wrote glowing reviews to me never appeared for approval of a guest's remarks. Many of the guests are retired and the old method was not difficult... what can the reason be other than for Home Away's building a data base and for what purposes? Of course that is a business decision on its part and until someone develops a site for owners only for rentals it will follow decisions to enhance its bottom line. What luck have others had with their own web site?

    • Contributor 86 posts since
      Oct 31, 2011

      I wonder how many others are out there that have not yet realized the changes that have been made by HomeAway and the impact it has on receiving guest reviews!  If they really wanted to make changes to make it easier, they could have given the guest an option of signing up or not!  Most guests do not want to create a travel account because they do not want to receive unsolicited emails from HomeAway!

       

      Has anybody seen Travis from HomeAway.  It sure would be nice if he would tell us that HomeAway hears our concerns and will allow guests to enter a review without having to create a travel profile!  I thought that we were HomeAway’s customer and that they were providing a service for us!  We have paid for a service that keeps changing and not to our benefit!  Is this what happens when a monopoly is created, they stop listening to their customers?

       

      Randy

      • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
        Aug 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 6, 2011 10:18 PM (in response to pcb-randy)
        Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

        Well, Travis and the other nice Moderators are probably instructed not to respond to any of the Owners' who are complaining about The Service. Actually, I don't blame the Moderators {in their silence}....what are they supposed to say to us?  Their job is to guide Owners and Travelers through The Service....not to justify the corporation's marketing decisions. I do agree, however, that it would be nice if one of them "posted" a short reply to The Community that the management is doing a review and some changes might be coming; ...and what would be really great is to hear that management will do a Focus Group with both of their clients {The Owner + The Traveler} to market test what works for Serve Both Clients.

         

        In fact, if you read Mendelson's Musings {Google it}...you will see that HA did, in deed, respond to their Travel Clients, when they "heard" the public pressure created by Jason Mendelson {Medenson's Musings} and Forbe's  magazine about the Travelers'  "ReviewSystem". In short: it was Mendelson + Forbes that wrote such bad press against HA + VRBO....it went all around the Internet and the news stand....HA changed it's policy and "turned off" the Owners' choice to "Opt Out" of  "Reviews"....so their Traveler Client would no longer be upset.   In HA's public remarks....they stated that they expected "The Owners" to not be happy, but the "Opt Out" is, "Over"!  So, you see...public pressure does work, to some degree. The company was listening then to The Traveler....and they probably are hearing The Owner, now.  But, they are slower to take action, it seems.  It's just so odd that they "heard" and "acted upon" was ONLY what the free-users of "The System" complained about...and it seemed like  it ONLY took one Traveler - a guy, Jason Mendelson, to complain in public...{using Internet + one journalist at Forbes}.....for HA to change the "Review" policy, for The Traveler.

  • Contributor 40 posts since
    Oct 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 6, 2011 9:52 PM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    I BELEIVE THE REAL REASON THEY ARE NOW REQUIRING AN ACCOUNT BEFORE A GUEST CAN ENTER A REVIEW IS TO COLLECT GUEST INFORMATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF FUTURE MARKETING PROGRAMS. 

     

    PLEASE REMOVE THIS RESTRICTION THAT IS HAMPERING MY ABILITY TO COLLECT GUEST REVIEWS.

     

    THE VAST MAJORITY OF GUESTS ARE NOT GOING TO SETUP AN ACCOUNT JUST TO ENTER GUEST REVIEW COMMENTS.  THEY DON’T WANT SPAM.  THIS IS AN UNNECCESSARY BURDEN THAT SERVES NO LEGETIMATE PURPOSE.

     

     

    IN ADDTION THIS REQUIREMENT SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN IMPLEMENTED, WITHOUT PRIOR NOTIFICATION TO THE OWNER COMMUNITY.

     

    AND YES THE CAPS ARE INTENTIONAL BECAUSE I AM YELLING ....SINCE YOU APPEAR TO BE TONE DEAF WHEN IT COMES TO PARSING THE FEEDBACK COMING FROM YOUR CUSTOMERS

     

    Tom

    Cape Coral, Fl

    • info@stayattremblant.com Active Contributor 542 posts since
      Aug 25, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Nov 14, 2011 8:43 PM (in response to bayside)
      Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

      I'm with Tom on this one!

      CAPs and all.

       

      Travis writes >> Among other benefits, this change on HomeAway has helped us

      Travis writes >> streamline the process for verifying that guest submitted reviews

      Travis writes >> truly come from a guest.

       

      Benefit for who?  We owners didn't ask for this -- if it's not for OUR benefit (we're your paying customers) then it shouldn't have been funded with our fees.

       

      If you want to know if a guest who submitted a review for my property actually stayed there, how about asking me?  Although, based on what I've read with owners who have had bogus reviews posted by "guests", you won't trust my answer, will you?

       

      P.

      • New Member 22 posts since
        Jun 15, 2011

        No, they don't trust your answer. Although I have "proof" that a fellow owner submitted her own 5 star bogus review for her new listing (she's had no guests yet, and she rationalizes in an email that having a friend who "viewed" her condo and liked it, write a review is "okay" with VRBO ), VRBO won't do anything. Nadia at VRBO simply responds that while it's not okay with VRBO to write your own reviews, nor is it okay to have anyone other than guests who've actually stayed write a review, she has "no recourse because the review appears legit". Tell me, how does a review ever appear anything but legit? Whether it's a 5 star glowing review or the worse trashing diatribe ever written, what measure does Nadia use to confirm "it appears legit"?

         

        I had no idea HA was requiring would -be guest reviewers to sign on. But that would explain why my guest book reviews continue to be glowing and entered by all, while the online submitted reviews have completely dried up!

         

        So, HA has made it more difficult for a guest to submit a review. And at the same time, VRBO tells us they have no recourse in verifying the validity of any submitted review. And they seem perfectly compliant with bogus reviews, good or bad. Should we all just start submitting our own glowing 5 star reviews?! What nonsense! I was very proud of my 15 or more genuine guest reviews. Now it seems they'll all be up for suspicion.

         

        An overhaul is definitley needed.

  • New Member 3 posts since
    Sep 1, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2011 9:42 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    I've just spent the last half hour reading through the concerns of owners and the replies from HomeAway. It's clear as beer that HomeAway doesn't give a flying %$%#  what the owners (customers) have to say about their processes and business model. I ran into this issue and others sometime ago and decided to vote with my wallet and cancel my listing with HomeAway.  It made absolutely no difference in my 2011 revenue.  I have stayed with VRBO which isn't as difficult to deal with for some reason. I've had good success with another property using FlipKey.com and when I had concerns regarding search results they actually answered the phone and took time to understand my concerns. They later followed up via email to see how I was doing.  HomeAway is a large corporation and they are doing what most large corporations in America do these days.

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Aug 3, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 18, 2011 1:52 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    We started renting in June 2011. There was one negative review 3/5 that was within the 1st 3 we got which freaked us out.  Of course we wouldn't have rented to them now having learned from our and other community owners experiences. (Thank you all for your wonderful information and experiences ) We have worked hard since then to solicit good reviews and feedback.  Got 16 including 3 or 4 from owner submission from guest email or cabin comment book!  Thing is, over the last month despite guests saying they were going to post a review on the link provided, NONE has.  Over the summer and fall, it was 75%!  That is a significant change and now I know why.  Nothing is different with my cabin except a christmas tree and free firewood so Homeaway's change IS the difference.  I was sending their review link, now I will send VRBO's regardless of which site they originated from. If reviews are not easy, people are just not going to spend the time to do them (Only the angry & crazy ones will).  Seriously, I don't spend time giving good reviews on overstock or amazon items unless it IS easy.  As a working parent, side business + rental, I just don't have time nor do I want more logins, passwords, or accounts than I already have to give my opinion, nor do I want the possibility of more spam or tracking so I don't blame the guests.  Homeaway don't you want me to renew my membership?  Then listen to your customers (the owners). Thanks, wendy.

    • Contributor 86 posts since
      Oct 31, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Nov 18, 2011 2:45 PM (in response to azfun)
      Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

      I'm convinced that there are many more that have not yet realized why ther reviews have stopped coming in on HomeAway!  We have to find a way to get more people involved to let HomeAway know that they have made a mistake on requiring our guests to create an account on HomeAway before they can provide us with a review.  The requirement to create an account is only self serving for HomeAway and no way provides any value to us the Customers of HomeAway!  We sure don't get treated like customers!  It is more of a dictatorship!

       

      HomeAway please admit to the mistake that you have made and remove the requirement to set up an account before entereing a guest review.  I have to start giving serious consideration of cancelling my HomeAway listing and only use VRBO.  Of course if we don't speak up, VRBO will be next to request an account setup.  They usually force changes on us at HomeAway first then push them on to VRBO.

       

      So this is what it is like when we are the customers of a MONOPOLY!  Maybe the FTC should take a closer look at the MONOPOLY HomeAway has become!

      • New Member 22 posts since
        Jun 15, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 18, 2011 3:09 PM (in response to pcb-randy)
        Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

        Yes, I have decided not to renew on Home Away, for the same reasons. I likely will renew all 3 properties of mine on VRBO, as well as FlipKey. It seems most of bookings are coming from both those sites.

        • New Member 3 posts since
          Sep 1, 2011

          Couldn't agree more. As I previously posted I threw my hands up and walked away from HomeAway last year. My 2011 revenues exceeded 2010 without HomeAway  using only VRBO and FlipKey. I hated to do it because I think they actually have a better website than VRBO and they are a local Austin company but they just don't seem to care about their customers.  I tried to call them regarding an unrelated issue on Thursday of this week and got put on hold for 20 minutes and then I was redirected so some kind of answering machine because all of their "customer service representatives were busy".  Weak.

           

          On a side note any operation that would spend the kind of money they did on that utterly bizarre Superbowl ad has issues more serious than their customers petty complaints about reviews 

  • Contributor 26 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 7, 2011 1:26 PM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    I say WAKE UP  Mr. Sharples.  You are loosing customers as fast as you are buying up new one as you aquire new websites.  Your investors are going to get wise to this ponzi scheme.

     

    If Mr. Sharples had actully built a business, he would understand that it costs a lot more to gain one customer than it does to treat your existing ones fairly and try to retain them.

     

    I, for one, just had a group of 12 women arrive at one of our most Pristine "NON-SMOKING" homes.  From the moment they arrived, they all smelled like they had smoked 20 packs of cigarettes in a very small space.  I reminded them that this was a Non-smoking property and that the owners had sever allergies.  They  promised they would not smoke on the grounds.

     

    Well, of course, upon departure the entire home wreaked of smoke and there were hundred of cigarette buts all over the property.  (Even stuffed into the patio furniture). 

     

    DO I DARE KEEP THEIR DEPOSIT AND RISK A BAD REVIEW?  Heck no!  Even though it cost me a fortune to clean up their mess,  launder draperies and linens and steam clean furniture to eliminate the smell.

     

    IS THIS FAIR?  ~ I THINK NOT

     

    Wake up MR. SHARPLES ~ Listen to your paying customers!

    • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
      Aug 9, 2011

      Mr. Sharples.... any of the others in the hierarchy, are not relating to any of these problems. They don't consider any of these problems to be "Their" problem, it seems. They provide advertising "space" on a website.  We buy the "space"....and we should be happy with the exposure that we buy through The Company. The Advertisers' views  {that's us, Owners}....and our business problems...are not "Their" problem, so they tell us. They just provide the "traffic" as a "Service" to the "Paying Clients".  So, if you expect feedback from "The Company", they would just tell you to withhold that guest's deposit....take the hit of the "bad review" that will most definitely come.... and just respond to it....because in "Their" view it's good to have some bad reviews to balance out the good ones [!].  I have experience working in a prominent advertisinig agency, for a few years, in NYC....and never would we take money from Clients....and not do everything in the best interest of the Client to help them succeed with their promotions  and subsequent business. This "Company" would probably argue that their relationship to us as "Paying Clients" is not the same as the relationship between "Paying Client" and "Traditional Ad Companies".  I do not see the difference!  They are not only providing "space" on a website....they are "advising Owners" on "marketing", they are "providing tools" - visual and textural, they are providing "services", "communications", etc..   An "Internet" Advertising Company should, IMO, be upholding the SAME ethics when it comes to serving "Its" "Paying Advertisers".

    • Contributor 86 posts since
      Oct 31, 2011

      I agree with the statement, listen to your paying customers.  However, for those of us that work hard to get good reviews from our guests, the real problem is how difficult they have now made it for them to enter a guest review.  Sounds like what they need to do is allow you to opt out of guest reviews if you so desire and if you do want guest reviews, make it easy for the guest to write one!  I have worked hard to offer one of the best properties in Panama City Beach.  Good guest reviews help me get more inquiries and bookings.  I will go out of my way to keep my guests (customer) happy!  My washing machine broke down so I offered my guest an additional night to compensate for their inconvenience.  I bad incident turned out to be a great review.

       

      I only wish HomeAway would start treating us (their customer) like we treat our guests!  Listen to them and take care of them!

       

      Randy

       

       

      .

  • Contributor 62 posts since
    Mar 12, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 19, 2012 10:48 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    Idiots.  I've just come to realize why the last few people that took time to email me and tell me what a wonderful time they had either at our beach house or condo, did not post a Review when I asked them to do so.  I just realized that they had to sign their life info. away to tell other potential customers about the stay.  They've already told me they want to come back and some have Rental Agreements and Reservations for next year but they're not going to send their life history to VRBO-HomeAway.  VRBO-HomeAway can't get out of its own way without screwing something up.  Vacationers love telling other vacationers about their experience but they don't want to give out the detailed information they are being asked to send in.  They are smart enough to know that information is being gathered for a reason that can't help them.  Get this right VRBO.....HomeAway.

    • Contributor 86 posts since
      Oct 31, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jan 19, 2012 12:59 PM (in response to gonefishin)
      Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

      They already have a standard answer - we will continue to monitor the number of reviews that we receive, at this time we do not see any decline in reviews received.  So it doesn't really matter what we tell them, they got it all under control!  Yeah right!  For some strange reason I keep thinking that we are their paying customers.  You would never guess that by the way we get treated when contacting customer no service to voice our concerns!

       

      I don't think a lot of people have realized yet what they did to the review process.  I know I have lost 4 to 6 reviews since they started and my busy season does not start until March!  I get so angry when I think about what they are doing to us!  It will catch up to them sooner or later!  We will just have to find a better plact to list our properties!

  • hankd Contributor 80 posts since
    Nov 2, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 28, 2012 8:19 PM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    I understand both sides of this dispute, and I think I have a solution that would help both sides.

     

    HomeAway wants a way to ensure that a review writer is a valid and identifiable guest.

     

    Owners want the review process to be simple for their guests, without a "sign-in"

     

    My "Reservations" list on Reservation Manager shows every guest that has stayed at my VR for the past four years, whether they came from HomeAway, FlipKey, VRBO or Airbnb. That's because I keep my HomeAway Calendar up-to-date, no matter where the booking came from. Most reservation datails contain the guest email address, and I could add those that don't. It is a relatively simple task to write a program that checks each incoming review for a presence on that "Reservations" list, BEFORE asking for a sign-in, by matching email and date. Wouldn't that ensure that a review-writer was a legitimate guest?

     

    Wouldn't it be simple for the guest?

     

    Let the program continue the sign-in process for Owners who don't use Reservation Manger. HomeAway ought to like that as it would drive owners toward Reservation Manager. Owners who don't want to actually USE Reservation Manager for bookings would only have to keep their HomeAway Connect calendar up to date to have the review-checker work.

     

    Comments?

     

    Hank

    • info@stayattremblant.com Active Contributor 542 posts since
      Aug 25, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jan 28, 2012 8:44 PM (in response to hankd)
      Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

      >>Comments?

       

      This scheme pre-supposes an altruistic nature in HA and VRBO and loads the responsibiliity to fix the broken HA / VRBO policies and procedures vis-a-vis reviews onto us already far-too-busy homeowners.

       

      I, personally, refuse to enter my guests' e-mail addresses into the HA calendar because I do not trust how they will use the data.  I feel that HA has already demonstrated that they have only their self-interest in mind and will not hesitate to misuse my guests information (read: SPAM, targeted advertising, etc.)

       

      This also burdens me, as the owner, to enter all the data for the low percentage of reviews we get.  I would be more than willing, on the other hand, to validate that the guest actually stayed with me when I do get a review rather than doing all the up-front work even for those that did not enter a review.

       

      >>Wouldn't that ensure that a review-writer was a legitimate guest?

       

      Unfortunately, I can think of a number of ways to work around that system and enter fake reviews (e.g. for dates I didn't actually book, put in a fake guest then have said fake guest write a review -- presumably a good one!)

       

      Truth is that no matter what system they implement, it will be possible to abuse it.  Given the lesser of all evils, I say "Trust the owners."  Let us advise them if a review is fake, unjust or bang-on!  It would be quite simple to use some statistics to identify abusers (e.g. an owner who routinely rejects bad reviews).

       

      One thing for sure -- you're thinking along the right lines, though.  HA should certainly start thinking of ways to automate thier systems and un-burden us owners!  (How about checking my always up-to-date calendar for guests so I don't get "Is your property available?" inquiries all the time).

       

      P.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Jan 30, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 30, 2012 11:42 AM (in response to lisaleb)
    Re: Big Problem - New Review Submission Requirements

    FlipKey checks with the owner before posting the review. I also had a number of guests who wanted to leave positive feedback but would not register. So I send them to FlipKey to complete a review. When I get an inquiry from HA I send the person to FlipKey to read the reviews. HomeAway needs to clean up its act !!!!

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