Customize your experience by selecting your role:
Owner, Property Manager, or Traveler
That was not the Clouse Responce to anything....I doubt they care very much anymore? That was their charge and part of the reason for forming the VRBO Website. I found the quote on the internet....an interview with the founder. When I signed up with VRBO...they were the owners of a Chalet in CO and they began a website for Owners of Vacation Properties.....because there was not one that did what they were looking for, in renting their Chalet by OWNER and they were very caring people about owners who signed up to use their website, people like them looking a place to advertise "BY OWNER" vacation properties.
I have edited my property listings on both Homeaway.com and FlipKey.com to include the following in the property description: NO BROKERS.NO FEES!!
Just an FYI to those of you who may not already realize this, in the state of Hawaii, as well as many other US communities, if the owner does not live on site, they must have local representation. Therefore, if you own a condo on Maui, and you list it as a vacation rental, you have two choices, a renatl agency, or another individual that the owner trusts. That is what I do, I am not a real estate agent, but I am compensated, live next door, love the property and give stellar service. I also believe that the rental agencies in the area that I have talked to do a great job of giving good service. Without it they would be out of a rental. No owner or rental agent wants to see a bad review.
So by way of these rules for Hawaii, there could be no listing for VRBO unless the owner lives in Hawaii as well.
OR has a trusted employee there.
I'd hope and think that most if not all owner rented Vacation properties have CARETAKERS to look after the property. Do the cleaning between stays, inspect the property after each stay, supply help to guests and the property when needed (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.), possibly supply linens, clean pools and hot tubs, etc. I have ZERO problems if a management company or Realty handle the caretaking for the owners....ZERO. I have ZERO problem with where a Realty advertises other the VACATION RENTALS BY OWNER. Realtors use 1-5 ads to help with rentals to 20 -400 properties and VRBO is supposed to be by OWNER...not by Realtor.
No one is saying Realtors don't do their jobs for the owners who pay them a commission. We're saying VRBO is an Owner advertising website....it opened that way years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also...there's hundreds of VRBO ads advertised in Hawaii that have phone numbers in other states and many more that bought toll free numbers for their customers to call. I'd hope 100% have caretakers...paid to do that job.
From the founders David and Lynn Clouse... VRBO goals and website vision - "To promote privately owned Vacation Rental Properties."
"Property OWNERS can "list" their properties on VRBO website by completeing an online application which asks a series of questions about the property...OWNER can post photos of the properties...we charge an annual fee. Renters contact the OWNERS directly to rent the property, we do not collect commission."
Contact HomeAway Board Member Observer and Founder David Clouse of Vacation Rentals By Owner at Linkedin and ask him to help us....
I am one person "caretaking" if you will, the owners property, she listed it, she is available, but most of the contact the guest has is with me. I still fail to see the issue with rental agents. And yes, I have seen plenty of reference in past postings on this issue that are very derogatory towards rental agents. I can way compete with them...no problem. Yes our renters contact the owner directly, some times through me, and sometimes on thier own. I think you just like to complain.
I don't think gonefishing just likes to complain. I think there are valid issues he expresses that all owners and their representatives should have in regards to the unfair competition that realtors represent on an "owner" advertising website. To set the record straight representatives, like yourself, are not the source of the grievance.
The owner you are helping sounds like he/she is very involved in the rental and managment of the property. SIDENOTE: Actually, I feel you owners in Hawaii are getting a bad deal being forced to obey a law which to me just sounds like more overregulation. Competition routes out bad business practices far better than government regulation can, but that is a topic for another time. The realtors obviously have a very strong lobby effort there.
As it has been said many times in the forum, the issues are: realtors not using the calendars, bait and whiching of VRBO leads to non listed properties, the loss of leads by this practice that belong to other paying owners, and deceptive advertising and breech of contract by VRBO with the paying owner/advertisers on VRBO.
Please let's hear from everyone on this and not discourage any contributor.
I have absolutely no problems with Rental Management companies or Realtors doing their jobs! My problem is with Realtors advertising on VRBOwner and advertising 1-5 condos and renting 200-400 condos off an ad on a BY OWNER website. No calendars, toll free telephone numbers, big company CC rates, whomever is manning the phones that day does the rental....if the one you call about is booked we have 200 that are similar. >>>>No the condo pictured is not the one you'll be staying in but the floor plan is the same. Realtors should not be able to advertise on VRBO.....how simple can it be stated? All ads on VRBO should be Owner advertised.
My caretakers at my condo and my beach house on 2 separate beaches are Property Managers. I do all the advertising, the rentals, the paperwork, the major off-season cleaning and fixes and condo parking passes. They are there to help guests if something goes wrong or is not working (they have maintenance or call a professional and me on bigger jobs), they treat and clean the pool and hot tub twice a week at the beach house and both companies inspect at checkout, clean and provide rental linens......I pay them to do so. They offer for extra money to my guests and others...concierge services, free discounts from local businesses, personal shoppers, private chef, daily maid service or a tidy up service, party planning, boxed lunches, babysitting, airport pick-up and more.
Anyone that works with those companies and advertises on VRBO...the owner does the advertising and the rentals. 1 property - 1 VRBO ad and by owner. I have 4 HomeAway ads....2 for each property....you may notice that I have not complained about VacationRentals.com allowing Realtors to advertise????? I am complaining about Vacation Rentals BY OWNER doing so however. I have 6 internet ads on 3 timeshares ($20/each), 6 ads on my condo (~$1000) and 7 ads on the beach house (~$1000)....all through some vacation website company.
Again....my only complaint is.....Owners should be the only people advertising on VRBO....1 ad for EACH property. Who or whom advertises elsewhere...I don't care.
I have been a VRBO client for less than a year and have been very satisfied with the site. When my wife and I purchased our vacation rental property, we interviewed rental agencies and were immediately turned off by their high fees - 20-30%. When we asked one of the rental companies how they advertised, they only mentioned VRBO. It didn't sound right at the time and it still doesn't. Carl Shepherd makes a weak attempt at addressing the issue because he is out to make money and was not the founder of VRBO. I don't understand why HomeAway doesn't just restrict property managers to advertise on homeaway.com. Trust me when I say that REALTORS would be 100% against FSBO listings to be placed on realtor.com. The bottom line is the BO in VRBO is "by owner". When prospects look at the site, they are expecting to look at rentals advertised by owners, not rental agencies. Those agencies are bringing down the quality of the rentals and, ultimately, the vacation experience for the renters. VRBO is no longer the defined site that David Clouse created years ago and, if he still owned it, I doubt we would be having this discussion. Too bad he probably signed a non-compete agreement when he sold it.
Well stated jbrun.
VRBO is still my best rental site too but it's gone downhill a ton! You're right...they would not let us advertise on Realtor.com!!! Well stated. I have nothing against Realtors either....my dad's job for 18 years after retirement was as a Realtor. I know many and worked with many.....athough I never used it, I got my Realtors license in 1988 before I got my General Contractors license. Realtors should not be able to advertise on VRBO!
I wanted to update everyone who has been involved with this discussion. Homeaway seems to have added a new default sort titled "Homeaway Sort" which I just saw (perhaps it has been around for a few weeks - I don't know). I don't know what this sort is exactly, but it does seem to move owner properties up in the listings - at least for my location. I don't know if other owners are seeing this in their areas as well. I'd be interested in hearing your impressions.
We are new with Homeaway. We've just noticed the new Homeaway sort. We used to be able to get to the top sometimes by updating, now it seems impossible to move up as owners. If they had it before we joined, we probably wouldn't have signed up.
That's too bad. For me, it seems to be working well, and it does appear that mostly owner-;listed properties have benefitted from it in my area. My guess is that this is in response to owner conversations on this site about realtors and how to highlight owner vs. property manager listings. Keep in mind that this is just one sort and most guests will sort of date, size, reviews or price. When I asked Homeaway about this new sort, here is what I was told were the criteria:
HomeAway Sort orders search results based on the following criteria (in no particular order):
- Updating your calendar regularly (based on last calendar update)
- Accepting online payments through ReservationManager™ in your Dashboard
- Total number of reviews and average star rating
- Number of photos displayed
- Updated/Current rates with an end date in the future
- Choosing the ‘street view’ zoom level on your map and displaying your map marker
- Length of time a listing has been live on HomeAway.com
I am doing some - but not all - of these things:
- Weekly calendar updates - even if to block out time several months ahead or to cancel those blocks
- Aggressively trying to get guest reviews (so far 15 and 8 respectively for my two homes - all positive).
- Lots of photos (about 16 or 17 for each home). I include shots of the neighborhood too - ppretty sights etc - since my homes are small.
- Listing since 2007 (you can't impact that, of course)
- Rates listed through the end of this year - in fact, I will add the rates for next spring and summer in a few weeks.
All these 'maintence' things for the listings take about an hour to two weekly (that excludes the time and work I put in to manage inquiries, property maintenance and guest relations), so it does require ongoing effort on my part. I also read all the Homeaway newletters/articles to and do call the customer service line for help when I have a question. I have found that the articles offer excellent suggestions on polishing up my listing and inquiries as well as managing my home, and the phione staff is pleasant and does try to be of help (with mixed results). I have been able to successfully rent our homes each summer since 2007, exclusively through Homeaway and VRBO (hope i am not jinxing myself). With a realtor, I would get far less bookings, plus pay a 10% commission.
In sum, it's absolutely worth my time and effort, but I have learned that being a landlord and marketing my own homes is way way more work than I had anticipated. In the end, no one cares about my success or my properties as much as I do. This is all (unsolicited) advice so if it is of help to you, wonderful, and if not, then just disregard. I wish someone had told me these things when I first started so I hope it is useful to you.
Thanks for the suggestions, I've tried what I can... not sure what I'm missing... but will keep working at it... :O)