After first finding out about this feature yesterday, I've been playing around with it. Though it is extremely helpful to prospective renters, it also has some really useful information for owners. If you click on the Add+ (I mentioned in another thread that the Add+ is not user friendly) for your town/area, you get a host of amenities/distinctions. At the right of each amenity you'll see how many houses offer each one of those. That's a lot of very useful information about your competition. One thing that I found that I need to change is Property Type. I have Cottage on my listing, but I see that 176 in Duck are listed as house, only 12 as cottage, and mine does not show up when a user chooses house only. That's something I should change. If I'm allowed to enter both on my listing, great. If not, I'll change mine from cottage to house for more exposure.
To VRBO: There are some additions I would like to see, all very easy to implement:
1. Bedrooms: Choices are all for x+ bedrooms. Users should be able to choose EXACTLY the number of bedrooms they want with the ability to choose several. For example, if somebody is interested in three or four bedrooms, there should be a filter for that. Presently their only choice is 3+ bedrooms, so they'll have to wade through 5,6,7,etc bedroom houses that they're not interested in. Yes, they can Sort by bedrooms low to high, but most of my guests have said they like to Sort by number of reviews....can't do both. Solution: "Bedrooms" should be check boxes (which allow for multiple choices) rather than radio buttons (which allow for only one choice). I would like to hear from someone at VRBO so that I'll know that you understand what I am proposing and why.
2. Pool: In our area, a pool increases the weekly rent $700-$1000. There are many many families that do not want a pool either because they don't want to have to worry about their small children or they don't want to pay the extra money for something they don't. Solution: Add another check box that says "No Pool"
3. Hot Tub: A hot tub adds $60-$100 to the weekly rent. I have repeat guests who say they didn't ever use the hot tub, but I had to pay for twice weekly maintenance every week whether or not it was used. We removed the hot tub before last year's season. Solution: Add another check box that says "No Hot Tub"
There is absolutely no technical reason these can't be easily accomplished. The Suitability section already contains pets and no pets and also smoking and no smoking. Simply add No Pool and No Hot Tub choices to the Features section.
So owners and renters, are there more distinctions you'd like to see that might help set your house apart from others?
VRBO, how can I get these suggestions to somebody who has the power to add them? I think what you've done with the filters is a fantastic start!
There's an error I've found in the filtering. One choice is Outdoor Grilling. My listing says we have a charcoal grill, but we do not have a gas or electric grill. Apparently when one chooses Outdoor Grilling, the search does not include those with charcoal grill. This is obvious from the results: There are 198 properties in Duck, and it shows only 3 houses with outdoor grilling. I would bet a dollar to a Duck Donut that 100% of the houses in Duck have an outdoor grill of some kind.