I am a vacation rental homeowner, and so I know how the system works.
I tried for almost a week to rent a London vacation home here on VRBO as well as on the same company's site, HomeAway. This for a time period after the Olympics, so that is not an excuse for the poor service.
I sent a bunch of inquiries, all to vacation rentals with calendars available on my dates.
I received exactly one response: "It is not worth your time to rent as you would have to pay a cleaning fee". Obviously I have no reason to converse with someone who is so rude and who has no idea what is worth my vacation dollars and what is not. What an idiot. The only other responses were automated and leading me to apartment rental agencies. Not acceptable!
I never thought I would go back to staying in hotels, but that is exactly what we have decided to do during our UK leg of our 30 day trip. Sad to say, but it looks like VRBO sucks for both the renter and the owner these days. We are taking our home off the market and we are going back to hotels for our own travel.
it's hard to believe there is not even one property/owner that would welcome your money! how strange?! I see you're frustrated with property managers; do you know when you look at VRBO pages such as http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/europe/england/london when you see an icon of a person (last icon next to handicapped accessible icon) associated with a listing that means property is for rent by the owner; where you see an icon of houses that means property management.
again, I get as frustrated as you are when I don't hear from owners or when they try to lecture me how I should go about my trip...
I really don't mind renting from a property manager. My problem with the property managers is that they are using an unavailable rental as the bait in order to try to sell me on a different apartment, one not listed on HA/VRBO.
Since I don't submit bulk inquiries, it irks me when I take the time to comb through the listings and select an apartment with the amenities and layout that I find most pleasing and comfortable, and come to find out, that unit is not, and perhaps never is, available. But all these others are available and should fit the bill, "based on my inquiry".
I even received automated replies directing me to the other apartment listing sites.
I did make a complaint regarding the first incidence of this, but nothing was done about it. That unit is still advertised as available for my dates. It's just a waste of time.
We opted to change our trip up a bit. Instead of spending that time in London, we are heading to Glasgow.