As any longtime vacation rental owner knows, VRBO.com pioneered leveled pricing. On VRBO.com, the combination of the purchase of additional photographs—up to 16—and your number of years as an advertiser, determined the sort order. Each level was based upon the number of photographs, and gave our members more control over the listing order.
However, in study after study of travelers, it became clear that photographs were critical to people seeking that perfect vacation experience. By charging for photographs, we inadvertently short-changed travelers on what they wanted most. Photos (and the more the better) enable your guests to better envision the house and imagine themselves on the deck, in the beautiful kitchen, or watching an amazing sunset. More photos help travelers choose one property over another and you better showcase your property.
So we decided to make a change. Starting on Thursday (January 5) search ranking on VRBO.com is no longer based upon the number of photographs you buy. All listings will include:
16 photos, including a thumbnail
a Google Map within your listing showcasing the location of your property and proximity to local attractions
the option for a video tour providing your potential guests with the best possible understanding of the property
Instead of photos, search ranking is now influenced by the subscription level you choose along with the length of time you have been a VRBO.com customer. You don’t have to do anything to take advantage of subscription levels immediately, because your listing is automatically matched to the level of the ranking you had under the previous system. For example, if you previously purchased the 16 photo-subscription you are now in the top level, just as before. Also like before, within each subscription level, the length of time you’ve listed on VRBO.com impacts your search ranking.
Sixteen photos are included in each subscription, but we are slightly changing the base pricing: the VRBO Classic subscription rises from $299 to $349. Each additional level costs $29.99, which is from the same as 2011 prices for additional photographs. You are now able to choose the VRBO.com subscription level that best meets your unique requirements to deliver the number of inquiries and bookings you need. You shouldn’t have to think twice about which pictures you put on your listing. Subscription levels allow you to post them all, making the listing better and providing potential guests the best info to make a decision. We believe this change from photos to subscription levels will make VRBO.com an even better site for travelers and for you.
Since the changes don’t go into effect until January 5, you will need to wait until 8:00 AM on that day to upload your additional photos and take advantage of these included features. If you upload photos before then , you will be charged for them and automatically upgraded into the corresponding subscription level on the 5th.
Thank you for your business and your continued support of VRBO.com and HomeAway.
Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer