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Where to begin with my frustration? Homeaway has introduced the new pricing levels that we can subscribe to. All of us up to now have been paying the $329 a year per property or slightly discounted for multiple properties. This year I paid right at $900 to have the 3 properties we own advertised on Homeaway. Our properties are rented at modest prices compared to many of the higher end properties. We have paid the same advertising prices as others. That's ok. But now we are being invited to pay more for a better subscription to move us up higher in the listings. With VRBO already getting over $600 per property for having 16 photos and the opportunity to be listed higher we are now faced with the same situation with Homeaway. My advertising for this year ran at 5% of my rental revenue. With Homeaway I can now either fall down further in the listings if I agree to pay the same amount I have been paying or I can pay double the amount for the chance to move higher. We are owners. We have been competing against managed properties that have the generic descriptions, generic reviews, stock balcony photos and had to be found through the clutter of all the managed properties. Next year I will have to decide between VRBO or Homeaway since I will not be able to pay the high price that both require in order to be seen. I could keep on paying the "Classic" rate but that would probably be thrown away money. It just seems that paying $900 a year to host 3 condos for a year is a good bit of money. Paying over $1800 a year to move up higher will finally be the final straw that breaks me.
It's awful - just a way for the owners of homeaway and vrbo to squeeze more money out of customers by pitting us against each other, running a bidding war. If there were a better source I would quit. Takes all the good will out of what they offer as far as I'm concerned. Isnt' enough that they own vrbo and homeaway and yet we pay to advertise in both of them? I wish this community could agree to reject this new plan, but doubt that's remotely possible. Shame on them.
It is sad to see a great concept deteriorate so quickly, isn't it? Since HA went forward with it's IPO it seems they've succumbed to the typical Wall Street think. I guess they haven't gotten the word that most Americans are getting fed up with the concept that he who has the most $ gets, well most of the $$.
I so agree with this posting... I have completed about one month of debating back and forth with horrible customer service... hold times of up to 40 minutes... waiting for managers to call back for 7 days and then dealing with the 'new hires' who have no experience - unreal!!! I have lost all regard for homeaway and hope they don't ruin VRBO also. Because of the new policy/extortion at homeaway one is forced to pay for the 'featured listing' to get any exposure at all or buy into their tiered system which is absolutely so expensive and prohibitive for homeowners with more than one property. Shame on homeaway for offering nothing new for three times the price. I hope enough people get angry with this and force change.
Maybe if there is enough outrage, Homeaway will reconsider this new "tier" system that offers nothing for more money. We should make it visible to investment analysts who follow Homeaway so they will know there is discontent - that may get their attention.
I am also EXTREMELY disappointed and frustrated with HomeAway and their disregard for owners. This latest "offer" to "improve listing performance" is really unacceptable. I wish we could all ban together and refuse to "upgrade". That would be one way to get our point across. I am hoping other companies are paying attention to the huge mistakes HomeAway is making with their customer base, so that a good alternative will be made available to us in the near future.
I was just talking to a friend of mine here that is in the same boat - we may quit homeaway and just do vrbo - get to the top of that. No way I can afford to ride up the ranks with both vrbo and homeaway. I wish there was a good alternative. Flipkey is pretty good - I've had some success with them. If anyone finds somewhere we can defect to, I'm interested in hearing about it.
I just learned about subscription levels, when I tried to call to ask questions, I was on hold. I decided to put on speaker and get work done, they took 1 1/2 hours to answer and the person was really rude. said she had been getting lots of calls about just this.
we've done flipkey and got LOTS of listings. also, local specific websites might be good too.
Your story about rude customer service and long delays in amswering calls is not the first time I have read this and I can confirm I have spent literally days and days trying to get through but have often given up after half an hour. This however is polar opposites from another site i use which is www.pureholidayhomes.com Interestingly they have been mentioned in a homeaway survey and also get a name check in the T's & C's on Holiday Rentals HA which say that your web link cant go to pureholidayhomes.com their customer service department answer aa call within half a dozen rings and are super efficient. i couldnt recommend them more so and also they charge circa $225 for a premium listing. I think these guys represent a good alternative to the HA monster that is slowly bleeding us dry.
I think that the title of their email is what irked me the most - as you mentioned - the offer to improve our performance. Some nerve. Previously I've told people that homeaway is so much better than the others, and have used it for my own vacation searches, but no more. I'll try flipkey and others.
I also own 3 properties on VRBO and Homeaway and I'm also going with flip key. I just turn off my auto renawal on Home away. I don't know how in this economy they can charge us twice for the same company
It's a disgrace.
HA really needs to wake up. They are proud that their IPO is up 30 % since June 28th (I believe that date is correct). My investment counselor is looking into their "specs" and is watching these forums as well.
HA is based in Texas- as best we can tell.
I don't want them to fail,. I just want them to realize that they are an American company, and they have a GREAT opportunity to promote themselves as honest, fair and responsive to the people that brought them to the dance.
Yep-- Flip key looks good - but are you sure HA hasn't bought them?
I own 8 properties and up until last month had 18 listings with VRBO/HA. Have been with these guys since 2003 and did not renew two of my listings last month and two more are expiring next month. When Phil of VRBO sales called earlier this week to find out if I forgot to renew.....I said, "Nope.... have decided not to renew any more listings with your company as I am very upset over unethical business practices where the company favors travelers more than it's paying customers" HomeAway may be the golden child of wall street right now....but I for one am not giving them any more of my hard earned dollars to line investors pockets...I moved over to Flip Key, AirBnB, signed up to the Chamber of Commerce and decided to hire a SEO expert, put greater emphasis on using Facebook and focus marketing of my homes using my own websites instead of all these listing sites. HomeAway is taking quite a gamble....this could really back fire on them if everyone decides to follow and drop them all together or just stick with VRBO.
I must admit- they are slick. Going through my last renewal 'contract" they made NO mention of what my "classic listing" would provide. I went from Thumbnail to nada, basically- with no notice after I renewed. Live and learn- and vote with your feet. I was dumb enough to take them at their word- without getting it in writing.
FB is a great resource. Worth every dime I'm going to pay someone to help me finese my page.
Vacation lady - thats a chunk of change when you mulitply it out- and get the word out.
So, according to HomeAway, it is okay to keep charging me the same amount of money but now I will be getting a "Basic" listing (@ over $300!!) which will have degraded service due to this new "tiered" level system.
It is bad enough that they charge the same rate to me to advertise our 1-bedroom condo as they do for a 6-bedroom villa on the ocean -- this is an unfair policy from the start as my ROI for advertising on HomeAway can _never_ be as high as the larger units.
I suppose that I should buy the highest tier listing, add 30 photos, pay to have a map (can you believe I have to pay to have a map??), and then... just maybe... someone will see my listing on HomeAway.
My level of frustration with HomeAway (and sister sites such as VRBO) continues to increase each year as they get greedier and greedier.
Perhaps in a later post I can remove some of the emotion from my feedback but, just for today, thank you for reading and listening to my frustration.
I have 2 condos that are 1BR/1BA and another one that is a 2BR/2BA. I know I can't be the only one who could tell there is disparate between paying the same advertising rate for my small places and ones who have the big beach houses. I'm happy for the ones who have large properties and get the same rate but I guess if I want to run with the big dogs I have to get off the porch.
I'm going to start another thread but everyone are looking for other options for advertising. I have my own website that will be ready very soon will our 3 places on there. Has anyone had success with their own sites and be able to be found and get reservations? Just trying to find a way to get through the clutter. It's already tough enough on Homeaway to get seen but I am looking for viable options. I looked at Flipkey last night for my area and the first 3 pages were all rental agency managed properties. Looked very familiar. So much for considering Flipkey.
Completely agree with your comments. It is deplorable, $300 for a basic listing!! and $999 for the top listing!!! Someone is having a laugh! but it certainly IS NOT the property owners!! Do HomeAway not realise the current state of the worlds finances? People are struggling to to keep up payments on their holiday properties with reduced rental rates and fewer people out there able to afford holidays at all. Corporate greed at its most obvious. I have been with HA for several years now but will not be renewing when my current subscription expires as I hope is the case with many current subscribers. There are plenty of smaller sites out there and I am sure they will welcome any defectors from HA and offer reasonable rates and probably better service.
HA need to rethink and fast!
From a very angry JBM
I wonder how many owners even know about this - I delete most of the "junk" email I get, so it was coincidence that I read this one. I wish there was a way for bigger spread of knowledge to really let HA know people are angry. Facebook?
People need to find an alternative to HA and I have found one that works for me.
I recommend people try www.pureholidayhomes.com as their customer service team are fantastic and answer calls super quick and they charge just $225 for a 12 month premium advert with unlimited late deals and unlimited early bargain features. I first saw them on the BBC news and was pleasantly surprised by their value and quality.
I'm trying to gauge where majority of inquirers to this site (www.pureholidayhomes.com) are located. Seeing that their charge currency is quoted in Euros, are your inquirers mostly from UK or Europe? What percentage of inquirers from Europe as compared to North America (US & Canada)? Also, where is your rental located? East Coast perhaps? Are you still an advertiser at HA or VRBO? If so, what kind of inquiry percentage do you get among the sites you advertise? Thanks in advance.
I was just wondering if you folk would consider moving to a new thread -- perhaps something called "Recommended Alternatives to HomeAway and VRBO"?
I'd hate to lose focus on the issue that this thread began -- that being the heavy-handed and unfair business practices that HomeAway is using to cash-grab from us owners with the (demonstrably) false premise that they are offering us "options" and "choice" and "improvements".
In fact, how is it that HomeAway can change the business model of the site -- effectively devaluing everyone's $329 subscription -- right in the middle of our subscriptions? Didn't I pay for "A+" and now they're delivering to me "B-"?
Based on our area and the size of my property, I can only charge so much, leaving me a finite amount that I can spend on advertising overall.
Here's the problem, plain and simple:
All of HA's websites compete for top place in search engine results - and that's what really matters when it comes to advertising my property. A year or so back, the top 5 for searches in my geopraphy included HA, 2 or 3 local management companies, and perhaps TripAdvisor. Searchers only had one choice for a decent listing - HA. I put my money on HA.
Then HA corporate started pushing VRBO harder for search engine placement in my geographic area, which is great for VRBO advertisers, but it now means that web searchers go 50% to the HA website, 50% VRBO . Yet both sites are owned by the same company. My HA website advertisement is now worth only 50% of what it used to be. So to get full coverage I now have to add a VRBO account.
Then along comes comes VacationRentals.com crowding into the top listings with improved web SEO - another HA corporate site. My 100% is now 66%. I have to buy a VR listing so I can compete against myself on the other 2 listings.
I only have so much money for advertising. It's now spread among 3 different sites running essentially the same software run by the same company.
And now I'm asked to pay 2X or even 3X the current rate for a competetive listing on the first 33% website ??? I can't afford it.
HomeAway - you're pricing yourself out of the business for anyone renting in mid to low price areas. Between mortgage, taxes, utilities, reserves, etc. I just can't afford a $2000 advertising budget.
And all the angry voices you are hearing are probably in the same boat. Many are going to simply bail out on you.
Here's an alternate solution:
If HA offered a premium subscription that gave me high placement on ALL the sites in their network instead of making me buy a separate premium listing on each site, I could possibly justify it.
But having to pay a premium on one site that competes with the listing I'm paying for on another site, all managed by the same company, is ludicrous.
To further explain the model I'd suggest - consider the way liability insurance umbrella policies are structured: With the umbrella policy you buy minimum liability coverage on all your individual policies (personal, auto, home, etc.) and the separate umberella moves all of them up to a much higher level of liability coverage - regardless of how many different policies you have. It's a further incentive to put all your policies with one company (good for them) and a guarantee that you're getting a truly premium service from the company by buying the additional network coverage.
Please, please stop trying to get me to pay extra $$$ just to compete more effectively against my own listing on one of your other sites. It's an idiotic, self-defeating approach to selling overlapping services, and one that will drive away customers in the long run.
Oh, and by the way, if you want us all to stay at all, modify the reviews policy to include a vetting process to weed out unproven / ficticious slanderous reviews by disgruntled renters (sorry, I just had to throw that in there too)
Right-on, Swiss House! The only modification that I would make is to not encourage the tiered system at all -- even if it was HA system-wide. It is simply an unfair practice that, effectively, makes HA llstings a bidding-war between owners.
I like the e-bay model much better! You pay a listing fee based on starting price and a few other options and then a final-bid price based on what the item sells for. HA and VRBO could adopt this model to be much more fair to us small 1-bedroom units. How can we possibly compete with the larger properties in the tiered model??
The ROI for a 6-bedroom house grossing $50K per year on a $300 advertising investment is 500% of what my ROI will be by renting a 1-bedroom condo grossing $10K per year. How does the HA business model make sense for me?
swiss-house -- I loved your analysis of how the effectiveness of HA, VRBO & VacationRentals.com has eroded the value that you get from any one of them! And the price just keeps going up. We need to demand BETTER PERFORMANCE (yea, I yelled) from HA and VRBO, not degraded performance.
Taking the HA model to its maxim, wouldn't it be better to have 100 sites to advertise my property? How about 1000? One thing to carefully note is that this also does not serve our potential guests! It muddies the waters and makes it confusing for the guests who have to wade through all of these websites containing identical listings.
In an ideal world: Merge VRBO, HA, VacationRentals.com (and all the other HA companies) into a single site and fix the pricing model to be fair to owners. I've other grips but I'll save them for another post.
I am taking a poll of how many of us may not be renewing or will be reducing the number of listings with HomeAway over this new rate structure. The Poll is being taken on the thread titled HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail. If you want to participate please indicate how many listings you have and what month your listing(s) will expire. Poll ends on August 31st at which time I will summarize the data and post the results.
I will probably choose one over the other (vrbo vs ha) vs. payng for
both as I am now. However, I will be looking for a better option,
working on my own site, etc with the intention of getting out
I have noticed that since the introduction of the tier pricing plan, I have not received a single inquiry and the number of people looking at my listing has basically stopped.
I think what made the existing customers mad is the fact that HomeAway does not provide actual incentives with the new higher pricing plans. These higher pricing plans are simply to stomp over their existing customers. If these high pricing plans provide any real incentives such as increasing actual number of inquirers or help to raise the rental rate, then everyone will be happier and they will expend their business as well, rather than just squeezing for golden eggs.
I spoke to a couple other websites such as FlipKey recently, and their customer service has said that they are getting a lot more business recently. Apparently, HomeAway is losing customers with such expensive plans and perhaps there are also disgruntled customers. By the way, I highly recommend FlipKey. Their customer service proactively calls me a couple times whenever I send them an email with questions. HomeAway customer service generally takes 1 or 2 weeks to get back to me by email.
Those of us on HomeAway.com shouldn't be seeing a change in inquries as a result of the new tier system yet - unless there are a lot of deep-pocket homeowners in your area that jumped on the upgrades the day they came out. If things are slow right now, I'd chalk it up more to the distractions that families and renters overall go through as the school season starts.
It will take time for the tiered system to have an impact, and in some areas I expect it will have little impact at all if only 2 or 3 owners in the area do the upgrade. The remaining owners in the area will likely hang back, waiting to see how many others upgrade, and if no-one does there will be no need for any individual to do so. This will be doubly so in smaller areas where there are less than 20 or 30 competitors, since all will remain on the first page anyway.
I'm not sure what kind of "tag" HomeAway will put on the listings for homes in each tier, but I'm sure it will be abundantly clear which properties have splurged and which haven't, and you'll be able to tell how far down the page it has pushed your listing that way.
I, too, am so frustrated with HA and VRBO. VRBO raised its rates in a bad economy. HA added the brilliant tiered system. I've been using HA and VRBO for about 1 year and did renew at the classic rate. I have 3 properties so I'll watch to see how the the inquiris go. I'm also listed with Flipkey but have only had 3 inquiries in one month so I'm not impressed, yet. I understand that someone is trying to start another website for "Vacation Rentals by Anyone," and is asking for input. I suggest that we all give him our support.
I think that you have to be unethical to use the methods that some property managers and rental agencies are using. Apparently, they are listing several properties on one ad and not keeping a calendar; therefore, they get several calls for all the rentals. I would think that VRBO and HA would be smart enough to figure this out and deny their ads. Also, whatever happend to "By Owners." I naively felt that VRBO and Homeaway was about only listing owner properties. I will not renew with HA next year
I agree with you on the multi-listings. I was researching a rental for some friends recently, and almost all the VRBO site listings I checked (in Paris) listed one apartment with photos, etc. Calendars were not available, but I was invited to "contact owner for availability". When I did this, each listing I inquired about was "unavailable", and I was directed to a link so that I could "check out all my other fantastic rentals" - none of which I would put my dog into.
Another tactic I found was to have a Calendar appear as completely booked, with a link to "my other fabulous properties" - some of which were in Paris, some in Florida, some in Croatia - again, none of which had anything to do with my request. To top it off, in both these instances, I have been repeatedly contacted by representatives/salespeople hired by the owners of these rentals. Apparently I am now on their mailing lists.
Great - more spam!
It seems that many people are paying for one listing with VRBO and just using it as a means of free publicity for other properties they own or manage. I wonder why VRBO allows this practice - surely they are not making any money from it!
If HA & VRBO tightened up on this sort of practise then maybe they would not need to charge genuine advertisers the scandalous subscription rates which they have gone to. Probably to much hard work for them and it is easier just to rip off the people who they claim to advertise for.
I really wish HA and VRBO would clamp down on these "management" companies that use a single listing to advertise multiple sites. Not only is it unfair to those of us who pay for one listing per house, but it is also cutting deeply into HA's bottom line. And perhaps they wouldn't need to go down the path of this ultra-expensive tiering system if they were just getting paid their fair due from the companies that are gaming the system!
I just checked pureholidayhomes.com and entered "panama city beach, florida" and got no listings. I'm thinking this site is not gonna be much good for those of us in the USA. When I first bought my property a year ago I got a free 90 day trial on Flipkey. My very first inquiry was from that site and then I waited for two months and got no more. Maybe my situation was unique, but I don't care how good the customer service reps are if nobody's inquiring. I don't have a good answer - I'm as upset as all of you are about HA and I don't have much use for VRBO either. All I ever get from them are "bottom fishers" looking for a deal. But I think that HA customer reps in general are the most surly, know-it-all who really know nothing, non-responsive, argumentative bunch of nincompoops I've ever dealt with. I think I'd rather talk to reps in New Delhi. Let's keep talking and maybe HA will finally listen before they lose the better part of their customer base. BTW, this downhill slide has happened for me only in the last few months. I joined in June 2010 and was really happy until recently. Thanks for listening.
Oh, how I know. I'm the one who started this thread. I may have been the original wine (whiner). Usually time takes care of a lot of things. As I think about it more the less likely it seems that managed properties will pop for the higher tiers. I'm sure most owners will be watching closely to see if a lot of people choose the higher tiers. No point in spending more if others aren't doing it. And, if others insist on bidding up their listings then I will make a final decision in 2012 when my 3 subscriptions come due.
I haven't had to call into Homeaway for a couple of months but I will say that I have been treated with respect. I don't like Homeaway's policies of late but I really can't complain about how I have personally been treated on the phone. Of course when a company starts feeling the wrath of their customers then their phone support feel the heat. I'm sure some of their employee's want to strike back but I still find the kindness & politeness get me more results.
You are funny though and it is nice to be entertained once in awhile.
I'm really annoyed by it - I took an ad out with Homeaway after very careful consideration at about the end of July - at a cost of $300+ I had to think very carefully about it. Even then, I didn't get thumbnails on all the subsidiary sites that I thought I'd get them on (nothing in the blurb about that either, the advertising indicated you get thumbnails on all sites - doesn't say anywhere that you don't).
so this tiering system was the final straw, having just paid for it, I'm now at the bottom of the pile again.
Has anyone tried getting their money back from HA? I just want my money back and be done with. Will definitely not renew, might as well throw my money into the wind now. I've had 2 enquiries since the tiering system. On other sites that I advertise on (more cheaply), I get several enquiries per day (my properties are in London, so its popular!). Except my ad now can't be found on HA where there are dozens of corporate advertisers who can afford to pay $900 to get their ads to the top of the listing.
Very underhand. they treat owners with complete contempt. We pay their bloody wages. Well I'm not going to any longer than I have to.
I am as frustrated as you and totally disgusted with HA! Why is it that the owners who are renting & making money are the ones who can afford to pay more for advertising thus getting them more rentals, while us poor owners, who are struggling for rentals can't afford to pay the extra 'privelages'?? And we're the ones that need the higher rankings... I wish there was some way we could get a boycott going on this entire grading system. Like many owners I have more than one property. When I first joined HA I was automatically listed on 5 other sites that they owned. Then, they cashed in on the demand and I had to pay extra for the premium sites like VRBO & Holiday Rentals. That has been a struggle. Now, to find out that a classic listing (basic price) won't be worth bothering with, makes me see red!! I know it's a business, but surely there should be a governing body to regulate things??
So I am both a property owner and I have a little startup trying to figure out this vacation rentals directory thing.
A lot of the people I talk to about advertising have this reflection about high advertising fees: "They bring me a lot of business so I pay for my listing quickly"
This is bad reasoning and it is the reason why HomeAway has been successful.
If you are a monopoly and you have an idea of what things are worth to your customers you dont have to charge in function to what it costs you. You charge as much as you figure the client will pay because they cant go anywhere else. By over paying HomeAway has gone from high margins to ridiculously high and they flood Adwords and spend tons on SEO. Which in turns diminishes the chances of quality competition getting in and keeping their prices down.
If google wasn't busy with conflicts of intrest investing money in HomeAway and making tons on adwords they should merge all the seperate website's content into one result. All those websites belong to the same business and serve the same purpose after all.
Help yourselves: Advertise first on free websites, google maps, your own website. When you rent a house, look on HomeAway last. Otherwise we are creating a Giffen Good.
We expired one rental and will let the other expire this winter. HA didn't
knock the door down to get me to return. I plan to try both places with my
own little website and one through our community for a year and see how this
goes. I also send out a Christmas card to all past renters and will alert
them to how to get in touch with us also.
Thanks for your feedback on the Subscription Levels on HomeAway.com. We appreciate your thoughts and suggestions, and apologize for any confusion or frustration.
Please allow us to take a few moments to address a few of your questions:
What do I get with each level of Subscription? Please visit the Toolkit to learn more about our Subscription levels and additional features such as:
How do Subscription Levels effect where my property appears in search results on HomeAway.com?
Other than the subscription levels how can I positively influence where my property listing falls in the search order?
Are property listings tiers identified on the property listing?
Will I still get results from my listing if I don’t purchase a higher subscription level? Our Classic Level subscription still includes all of the features you’ve come to expect from HomeAway:
Finally, please remember that as a subscription-based site, you pay per subscription, whether you’re listing a 24-bedroom estate in the English countryside, a studio apartment in San Francisco, or a houseboat off the coast of Maine. This means that regardless of the size of your property, you have access to the same advertising opportunities on our site.
Thanks again for your feedback. If you have additional questions, please visit our Subscription Level FAQs and Marketing Toolkit, submit a request to our Support team, or give us a call at 1-877-228-3145.
North America Product Marketing
>> This means that regardless of the size of your property, you have
>> access to the same advertising opportunities on our site.
Untrue -- or, at least, unrealistic. We owners with modest small properties can't possibly afford to upgrade our listings to take advantage of the "same advertising opportunities" as larger properties or similarly-sized luxury properties.
The HA/VRBO pricing model is unfair and equates the services provided by HA/VRBO with value to owners. This is not true. The ROI for a large property paying $500 to advertise is 200-300% (or more) of the ROI for a small property paying $500 to advertise.
Peter - If Tiffany thinks that her bulls
- email should even pretend to satisfy HA clients, she's crazy. Does she think that we're stupid? Her email TOTALLY misses the point of our complaints. I don't think HA give a s-. Steve
Well said Stevied....we've just been given a corporate brush-off. they don't give a sh**.
Maybe they'll rethink it when their past loyal supporters desert them in droves at the next renewal date.
too big for their own boots. too large and greedy to be of any use to the small scale renter. Full of identikit rentals from the corporate big boys.
Is it really fair to sort homes based on payment tiers? Is the traveler getting the best recommendation of a home for them, or are they getting the best recommendation based on who pays how much.
As a traveler, I would want to see all homes that are appropriate for me. Not the ones that have paid Homeaway the most money. I might not find a home that works for my needs for quite a while as I shift thru all the homes that have paid more to advertise (679 in my area).
As a homeowner, I wonder how many more bookings would I receive if I were on a higher tier. OR, am I better off spending my money on other sites and broadening my traveler scope.
I realize that tiers are a money maker for Homeaway, but how many home owners will become increasingly frustrated and go to other sites, thereby a loss of revenue for Homeaway.
You raise some great questions. Let me chime in by saying that it’s common for a traveler to search in a particular area based on their specific criteria for a vacation rental. Typically, a traveler already knows he/she needs 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and wants to stay within a certain budget for their dates. Once the traveler adds all of those filters, there are fewer listings, and those remaining are tailored to the traveler’s needs. Even though those listings are still sorted based on the level in which they fall, the traveler is getting properties that match their requirements and properties that don’t match, won’t show up. Regardless of the level they’ve purchased.
Another way we enhance the traveler experience is by rewarding the most complete listings with higher search position within their levels. For instance, a listing with published rates, an up-to-date calendar, a few good reviews, and the closest zoom level shown on the map will rank higher within that level than a listing that’s lacking those attributes. You can learn more about Quality Sort in the Toolkit: http://toolkit.vrbo.com or http://toolkit.homeaway.com.
Where you spend your marketing dollars, of course, is dependent upon what works best for your property in your area, and HomeAway recommends trying several sites before settling on the one or two that perform best for you. Another option is upgrading your level on HomeAway or VRBO to see if that makes a difference in your listing’s performance. When you upgrade during your current subscription, the price is prorated for the rest of your term, so you can test out a higher level without committing to a full year at the annual subscription price.
HomeAway’s goal is to provide several marketing options for our owners and managers….including multiple sites (VRBO, HomeAway, VacationRentals.com, etc.) so that you can reach your maximum renting potential.
I hope that addresses your concerns.