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Hi, I'm new to the group and also renting.
I'd like to tap the collective wisdom on subscription level differences on Homeaway.
Of the 5 subscription groups offered on Homeaway - Classic, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum which have you found to best realize a decent rate of return.. Do you find a significantly higher rental rate with the higher subscription levels to make it worth the extra money?
Also, do all levels accept credit cards? I believe they do, but I have been reading information for about two weeks and I think I'm starting to leak info out my ears :-)
Yes, you can pay for your ad for any of the homeaway levels by credit card.
As far as which level to purchase, I'd suggest you look at your competition. Are there a hundred homes in your town or just a small number? I think when there is more competition, you may want a higher level of subscription to get an edge. But if your home is unusual -- perhaps larger with more bedrooms -- then it might not be worth it. There are other sort orders a vacationer can choose besides the Homeaway default, such as number of bedrooms or price, so if your place woiuld come near the top on any of these, then maybe the cheapest option would work for you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to give such a thorough answer!
I hadn't considered using my home features as a method for determining advertising levels.
As to the credit card question.. what I really meant to ask is not how to pay for the advertising, but can I accept credit card payment from renters with each subscription level?
I appreciate your help!! Thanks
Carol, can you suggest the link which i can use to pay through CC for homeway links
website - http://www.caribbean-villa-rentals.org
Bob-n-jo: Oh, I misunderstood! The level of your subscription really has nothing to do with using HA's reservation manager. I'm at the lowest advertising level and they still keep encouraging me to use their system. I've not used Reservation manager because I don't accept credit cards and I have a pretty good system myself of tracking all my renters and payments. (I'm also a little nervous about giving HA so much information about my renters and my business -- I'm a bit of a personal privacy nerd!!) But you may find it very helpful since you are starting out.
Candiceandy: When you sign up to advertise on HA or VRBO, you automatically are shown a page asking you how you will pay for the ad, and credit card is certainly the easiest for me. Does that answer your question ?
So much to learn...
I used your advice and checked out our competition in the area and it looks like comparable rentals do not accept credit cards online so that does give us an edge the first year.
I'm concerned about getting renters the first year. I would really like to get some folks in there and get positive feedback.. who wouldn't though :-)
Do you have any advice on getting folks to complete a review? Or does that just come with time?
This is our first year as well. We are doing very well. We had professional pictures taken and a floor plan. We priced our property just slightly below our competition. We did not do much discounting at all. The entire summer was booked by Thanksgiving! We have only a few stray days left in September and we even have a few 2013 bookings. I was agressive about getting reviews. After a guest leaves, we have the house cleaned and inspected for any problems. Once I know all is well, usually only a day or two after check out, I send them an e-mail telling them I am sending their deposit back and that I would love to hear their feedback on the house. They usually send a nice note about how much they loved the house. That's when I tell them I am going to send them two e-mail links to send reviews - one to VRBO and one to Flipkey. I tell them they can write the same thing on both sites. Then I send the requests from VRBO/Flipkey. 90% of my guests have followed through and written reviews so far! Hope that helps!
Thank you for the info!!
Is there anything that you have learned from going through the process that you didn't expect or didn't read about before hand that you could share?
I have this fear that I will have something unanticipated happen and it will cause a bad review or make us look unprofessional.
Hi- We also just started a couple months ago, too. I called Homeaway and asked them which level I had to buy to get me in the top ten (we're in a not very large grouping of rentals). They were able to tell me the least I could spend to do that. Also, there is a place in the reservation manager that you can make a "review request" email template to send out to people after their stay. Hope this helps!
That is helpful! Thank you!
Maybe I will give them a call as well. I did see you can pay an extra $20 a week to run a special ad and I like that idea.
The locale we are in attracts a lot of Canadians and from what I have heard the Canadian snow birds make very good tennants. I was considering a Canadian discount or international discount. Something small but something to seem friendly and make renters feel valued.
...there is a place in the reservation manager that you can make a "review request" email template to send out to people after their stay.
I would not rely on that template or sending via HomeAway/VRBO for two reasons:
1) That does not give you the option to ask them to post a review to your other site(s) such as FlipKey, which relies and ranks almost exclusively based on reviews.
2) Those form requests often go to the recipient's SPAM or JUNK mail folder and they never see it. That happened to us a few times. Better to send a request from the e-mail addreses they have been corresponding with you at all along. That way you know they'll get it.