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first i have 3 reviews and i joined 6 weeks ago.here are a few of my thoughts and i'd like to here thoughts of otheres. It seems i've gotten almost as many views as vrbo but comparing the 2 the buck stops there. I got 21 inquiries from flipkey verses 65 from vrbo.. but heres the worse part. I got 1 booking of $1000 from flipkey versus 9 bookings and 19k from vrbo. Also the flipkey inquiry can be from trip advisor or flipkey sites and i notice 85% are from trip advisor. Also i'm not real happy with the quality of the inquiries. most are shot gun out and not direct. also many don't have any questions. and no phone #'s. when i answer an inquiry i respond directly to there email as if i just retunr the inquiry it goes threw there system and the keep track of it which i don't like. i really want to keep it and run it for a year to see all the cycles. what do others see?
above i meant to say 1300 views not 3
I've been with flipkey since they flipped the switch and with VRBO for the last 6 years
.... Yes, I have the same reaction as you on quality of requests. I get more requests from Flipkey but less actual bookings than I do from VRBO. An insane span. My thoughts on this... they are wandering and testing the waters. Usually they have never rented a vacation rental, traveled to my location, and do not know that I will send them a quote and contract ... if they get that far. But, I will stay with FlipKey, becasue the math works. I still get enough bookings to marketing value and btw... some actually go to FlipKey first and then actually do the request at VRBO. so there it is. LOVE VRBO !!!!
We have done well in our first 5 months of renting through HA & VRBO, but no luck with Flipkey. Inquiries are usually for unavailable dates, for less than our minimum stay, etc., and we've had NO bookings through them. I only have 1 review on FK, but I don't plan to put a lot of energy into soliciting more. We will see if we want to renew the ad next year. At this point it doesn't seem worth it.
Like Beth, I do well on HA/VRBO but not good at all with FlipKey. I will probably drop their subscription next year.
I'm in a very popular area . the 20 mile area draws 3 million visitors a yr so it expected to get a ton of inquiries but the competitions stiff. My beach home is 400 miles from my house and i got a booking last night from a family that lives 1 mile from me.. that was weird. If the inquries don't turn into bookings its worthless.flipkey does give you exposure and eventually things will sink in but my question is many of the flipkey rentals might have beem booked eventually by vrbo but again for $300 a yr i get good exposure
I have been with Flipkey for a few months and had only one booking. I actually steered my guest away from Flipkey to VRBO to actually book, because Flipkey charges the guest a surcharge just for booking through them. I won't renew mu listing with Flipkey and here's why. If you send a reply to an an inquiry through Flipkey's system, it send the potential guest an e-mail telling them we will hold their spot for a week! An entire week to allow someone to decide? No thank you!
Like you, I get a lot of traffic, but few inquiries from Flipkey.
Beth, if you don't plan on soliciting more reviews from FlipKey then you are only doing yourself a disservice. What makes FlipKey (TripAdvisor) such a respected and trusted site among travelers (not just those looking for vacation rentals) is the fact it is powered by customer reviews which are carefully filtered and monitored. If you don't give FlipKey/TripAdvisor at least one year with five or more reviews then you really can't say you've tested it fairly.
I am reading a lot of inaccurate statements here. Hkquinn, where did you read that when you reply to a FlipKey inquiry it says they will "hold their spot for a week"?? Please provide some kind of proof or link to back up that statement as I have never heard of that before -- ever. How many reviews do you have on your FlipKey listing so far? Also hkquinn, why are you "steering" your guests away from FlipKey? Again, I think you made a misleading statement. There is no charge to "book" any reservation from a FlipKey inquiry unless you use their payment system, which we do not. So why not just accept the reservation then process the payment however you wish: check, PayPal, Reservation Manager (via VRP or PPI) or any outside processign company? If you choose to use Reservation Manager they will get the bill from HomeAway or VRBO, but you certainly don't have to do any "steering of the customer away" from FlipKey.
As I said to Beth, not only can you not reliably test FlipKey until you have at least five reviews and a year under your belt, you can also block all inquiries for unavailable dates. We choose not to do this as it eliminates the chance that a guest may book alternate dates if flexible, or remember your property for their next trip. As frustrating as it can be, we choose not to limit inquiries this way, but they do give you that option if you choose. I don't even think the HomeAway group offers that option.
Another thing that you cannot say for HomeAway/VRBO: TripAdvisor makes FlipKey invaluable. It is the only widely used service that suggests a vacation rental to travelers who may never have considered one and who may have gone there instead to book a hotel. In this way, you are effectively converting hotel bookings into vacation rental bookings. HomeAway/VRBO only attract travelers who already have decided on a vacation rental to start.
Yet another advantage: there is no subscription tier system. Everyone pays the same annual amount. You get discounts for each additional property listed on your account and you can even list for free if you wish then pay a 3% commission for each booking, though the annual fee is more cost effective if you book two or more per month.
Finally, we get as many inquiries and bookings from FlipKey/TripAdvisor as we do HomeAway/VRBO. How long have you all been listed with FlipKey and how many reviews do you have? Again, one year and five reviews is what it takes to make a fair comparison. Also, it varies depending on what region you are in, so to tell owners/managers in one region that it will not pay off for them based on your own region is also unfair.
I have my property on VRBO, HA, and Flipkey. I also get allot more bookings per inquiry from VRBO and HA than Flipkey. So I did a little test and sent myself an inquiry from Flipkey to understand there prosses. What I saw was after I sent the inquiry, flipkey sent me information about other places in the area I could look at. They are marketing there properties to my prospective guest. They do not care what property they rent as long as it is from Flipkey. This adds to the scatteer gun effect and equates to less bookings for me. I will stay with Flipkey only because it is not that much money and they are associated with the widley respected TripAdviser.
swlinphx much of what you say is correct. I got one booking and simply took here credit card and booked it directly so it didn't matter wether the inquiry or flipkey. I have 2 reviews so far and will get it built up to 5-8. $300 is nothing to keep it and i do like being on trip advisor. But so far theres no doubt the quality of the inquiry is poor as most list no phone # or even ask a question. but again a few bookings a year and its worth it. but for my area with vrbo i'd starve. But what i don 't like is flipkey keeping track of my converstations if i reply to the inquiry. I must reply directly to there email to avoid this
wow i just determined the problem with flipkey. the last note talks how flipkey sends you info on other homes in area. I thought he meant emails later. Nothing further from what i thought. I acted as guest to also test. wow once you press send inquiry flipkey pops up 3 or 4 more homes in area and all you have to do is press send other inquiry's. so you when looking at the home you liked and flipkey is jamming more in your face, no wonder most complaining about getting few replys back when you asner inquiry. that sucks
But at least you are given their e-mail address to e-mail them directly from the very first inquiry. HomeAway/VRBO was talking about forcing you to log in to respond.
flipkey sent me information about other places in the area I could look at. They are marketing there properties to my prospective guest. They do not care what property they rent as long as it is from Flipkey.
I was under the impression that HomeAway/VRBO did the exact same thing too. That is what I've heard others complain about.
Yikes, I just read that. I'll have to try it out myself.
UPDATE: I just tried it and three other property suggestions popped up upon my clicking "submit". However, I don't think anyone would just choose to send inquiries to them just because a pop up appeared without first reviewing each listing in full (photos, pricing, policy, etc.). Obviously it is not to an owner or manager's advantage but then again they all do this. HomeAway & VRBO offer other suggestions as well. It is something that helps them and their other advertisers and unfortunately seems to be par for the course with almost all rental listing sites.