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I didn't have time to review all the posts on this topic and I'm not sure I've ever seen the answer to this. One of the suggestions I found in all of our commentary was to insert a clause into the rental contact that only the owner could post a review on a vacation/travel website and that lessees were prohibited from doing so. Do you think VRBO would recognize this? If there was a negative review, and I showed the contract wherein the guests agreed to my terms, do you think it would not be posted? Many thanks for any input...
VRBO doesn't care about the owners. I sent them several emails about a review and each time got the same response which is a form letter. I doubt they even read the review.
I have found other websites to list and just asked VRBO to cancel my listing because that one negative post has affected all my business on other webistes too.
We incorporated the Non-Disparagement Clause into our rental agreement about a month ago and so far everyone has been willing to sign the agreement without question. I really was not too concerned about if VRBO or HomeAway would honor the clause or not. The main reason we incorporated the clause was as a deterrent against renters that intend to try and use the review process for unethical means. Now that we have the clause if a renter posts a bad review which we believe is not accurate and the post cannot be removed than the renter is liable for the cost of a new listing. Again, the clause is more about peace of mind…we have spent 12 long years building my brand and reputation and cannot afford to have a review process that we have no control over effect our reputation and good will.
I too inserted some language into our contract about guests agreeing that only owners could post regarding their stay on any website. I do like that "non-disparaging language" clause, however.. Thanks!
Above, sunny says, "VRBO doesn't care about the owners." I don't think that's true. I've seen Laura, Meredith, and others from HomeAway/VRBO post all kinds of good and helpful things in these forums. They have all been very silent on this issue, however. Why do you suppose that is?
I agree - it seems as though the HA/VRBO staff is very helpful except for this one issue - when it comes up it's almost like they stick to the script. It is such a charged issue it seems and yet our position seems to fall on deaf ears...
***HA/VRBO staff, if you're out there, can you tell me if HA/VRBO would honor such a clause in a rental contract where guest agrees not to post any reviews or enter any disparaging comments?***
What happens when a guest writes a review with 110% MADE UP BS, these BS reviews are costing major business. VRBO should either relaunch the entire ad with no reviews or come up with a better plan, as it is, people can write whatever they want and it makes so sense. I WANT TO GET MY LISTING FIXED !!!
WHAT is the phone # or email to the dept that handles this, does anyone know ??? THANKS !
sdvilla7 I've tried to find the number too. This is what I meant that VRBO doesn't care about giving good customer service. They become so big that they can treat us, the advertisers how ever they want and we have to accept it becuase they are number 1. Can't tell you the amount of companies who think like VRBO and then see their customer base dwindle and wonder "Why"? VRBO has now become terrible at customer service. Has anyone else noticed that all responses to the form they make you fill out are all pre-formatted. No really human input. I bet what VRBO has done is made one central data center in some 3rd world poor country and instead of paying to teach the workers how to speak good English try to solve all problems without giving a phone number to contact, thus they reduce cost, make more money and GIVE TERRIBLE customer service. Lots of rising online rental companies giving better service than VRBO, wonder how many years before some other company knocks them off #1. In the UK where 70% of my guest come from VRBO is not number 1 can't wait till in happens in USA too!
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Just so you know it took VRBO over 26 hours to respond to the submitted form. Unless your counting the auto-reply email that it sent confirming the e-mail seriously doubt your 30 sec. statistic! I am not alone on this form experiencing how difficult it is to contact VRBO. Anyway canceled my advert yesterday 6 months before the renewal and have advertised on other maybe better non HomeAway sites. I encourage others to do so and make a statement to VRBO that they need to listen to us and our needs. Not give lip service.
Hey Meredith - do you have any formal/official response to my question - Will VRBO/HA honor a clause in a contract in which guest agrees not to post or to make disparaging remarks regarding their stay? Many thanx!
We've heard about owners including review restrictions in their rental agreements. Please be sure to consult with your attorney about your ability to enforce any new clause before including new restrictions in a rental agreement. However, because a website like ours is not a party to the rental contract between the owner/manager and the traveler, our ability to post reviews that meet our guidelines is not likely to be affected.
Demeure Dan is absolutely correct about negative reviews actually being a plus! I was furious when I had a young tenant that threw a big party in my historic waterfront home, obviously falsifying her reservation info. After keeping her deposit to cover a portion of the damages, I came to realize that by responding to all the lies she posted in her review, it truly was the perfect opportunity to gracefully show potential renters that the owner is proactive, and that the rules are enforced. You don't want a lot of reviews like this, but one or two out of many reviews is actually helpful and helps to keep the undesireable tenant away. Responsible renters will completely understand your position.
I personally would not put a review clause in my rental agreement for fear tenants would not sign. I would be afraid they might think everyone that stayed previously was afraid to write anything negative for fear of recourse, and any negatives were being hidden from them.
Hope this helps. Tori - The Historic Balch Retreat on Hood Canal
I've had numerous instances where this has happened on my New York property but I have a couplt of solutions that have helped a ton and some personal insight:
Here's a reference to the travel review piece I saw not so long ago on NBC - so having all glowing reviews isn't always the best way to promote things (as backwards as that might sound). Link: http://bit.ly/qKv34i
Anyhow those are my experiences hope that helps!
All the best,
demeuredan and hoodcanalparadiseowner, thank you for different perspective! I'm in a position that I'm not concerned that a potential guest wouldn't enter into a contract with us because of the clause - certainly that's their right. And in light of the fact that VRBO won't enforce such a clause anyway, perhaps we just need to make it a positive vs. a negative. I guess what concerns me is VRBO's response....or lack thereof... to the owners' concerns. I think the owners have definately voiced some legitimate issues and yet VRBO only gives a canned, robo-mail response. I just think that in light of the fees they pay, owners are entitled to a little more. Maybe some semblance of investigating the claim. Rather what it appears what they've done is open a hornet's nest by permitting questionable reviews and then they just walk away after the trouble starts....but in any event, you've given me food for thought and I'm giving insertion of the clause second (and third and fourth!!) thoughts.
Always happy to share my experiences in the world of home rental. I've also got personal thoughts on VRBO and Homeaway's responsiveness in generall but I'll keep those to myself.
I couldn't agree more with the sentiments reflected in these posts. This whole review process has been forced on us. How about a way to review guests? There have been several occasions when I would have loved to have been able to review a guest and suggest that no one in their right mind should rent to these people. What vrbo has done is given random people the ability to write whatever suits them and our only "appropriate" response is a diplomatically worded rebuttal. I'm sorry, but that's not good enough. That might have worked 10 years ago when I started with vrbo, but not now. In my personal opinion, there are more un-friendly rental guests now than ever before. I began to see the trend when the economy began it's decline. For whatever reason, people aren't as nice as they used to be, either with their iquiries or as a guest. Therefore, why should we be subject to their random reviews? I have begun shopping for other rental sites and can guarantee that I will not with vrbo much longer unless a change in this policy is forthcoming. Yes, vrbo is a popular site,and does bring in business, but in this case they are hurting, not helping, the owners that pay for this service.
vrbo #9708 and 230326
Just had a renter post a bad review because we would not allow them to have a party with 18 extra people over our maximum occupancy of 12 . If the HomeAway Empire is going to open this can of worms and force homeowners to deal unethical renters than they need to give us more space for our rebuttal and the information needs to be validated. HomeAway says they are not party to the rental contact but they should be requiring a copy of the rental agreement to validate if the information the renter is saying about the homeowner is accurate as these reviews tarnish our reputation and we pay for these listings. What is upsetting is I received an email from the renters that checked in behind Mr. and Mrs. Terrible Renter that said,“ I wanted to let you know that we loved the house, very nicely appointed and I congratulate you on making it feel like a real home rather than a rental.” When I asked this great renter if they would please write a review about our home on the HomeAway and sent a link to the site the comment back to me was “reviews on these sites are nonsense and a complete waste of time”. Like someone else posted not sure if it is the downturn in the economy but lately we are seeing a great deal of disrespectful renters that I would never want back again and feel sorry for anyone else that rents to them.
I am starting to ask for references before we take new renters. I also am advising new renters that we a member of Guest Checker and the Bad Vacation Renter Listing Service. I state in our rental polices that at anytime during, before, or after your stay with us your information may be shared with these websites. We will notify you via email or postal mail if we have reported you as a problem renter.
I think Guest Checker is going to be the best thing since sliced bread as they work with the hotel industry and if someone gets listed on this site they may not be able to book a room. Mr. and Mrs. Terrible have been just reported. I would love to see the expression when the Terrible family tries to check into a hotel and are told, “Sorry we cannot accept your reservation because you have been listed as a problem renter”.
What a horrible experience. This whole review thing seems to be out of control. How sad that even when you get people who liked your home and had a good experience, they don't want to submit a good comment. I joined Bad Vacation Renter and will be checking out the Guest Checker site as well. I'm just not sure how far to go - getting references? I'm thinking our type of business is so competative that they just might shrug and go to the next listing. I just wish that HA/VRBO were more open to our concerns and would do more investigation prior to printing some of these ridiculous reviews.
It was a really terrible experience these renters caused us so much stress over the 4th of July Holiday that we were worried sick as to what they would do to our home. I changed the listing today to maximum of 12 people on the premies period. No more weddings, family reunions or any parties. Calling the Chamber of Commerce to tell them to take our home off as a wedding venue or family reunion site. I could not sleep a wink last night tossing and turning over what these people said about us. My husband checked my blood pressure this morning and said get rid of HomeAway and VRBO your heath is not worth all this stress.
WOW !! Awsome !!
I just read your post ( perfect) F.Y.I , My name is Ross Whitworth and I just happened to read your post. My own brother is checking into one of our units this weekend and he asked us how soon he could check in. I told him (being my own flesh and blood) that he could not check in until 3 pm, because my wife and I spent last sunday from 9:00 am, to 2:00 pm cleaning a unit that is only 4 years old, that was so destroyed by the people who had just checked out, that if we would have let someone check in sooner than the normal 3 pm check in, it simply would not have happened. If only we could take pictures of the mess that was left and post THOSE on a website, wouldn't that be awesome. Thank goodness for this new site that may possible look out for property owners.