I'm new to the Community from Home Away, but have had many personal homes on Home Away & VRBO for around six years. Currently, I have one listing. Today, when I was reviewing my listing from the travelers' perspective I noticed sponsor links. Now these links were not for attractions and tours, as I was expecting. They were for Bed & Breakfast establishments, lodges, hotel/motel and even some private homes not on Home Away or VRBO. All had active web links which would take one of our potential clients to another site.
I don't know about any of you, but this really irked me. I pay this company to represent me online, not to provide suggestions of other places to stay and take one of my potential clients from the site I'm paying to represent me. I wouldn't have minded if the links were for tours in the area. I'm in the California wine country, which provides many types of tours that do not include lodging.
Last year, Home Away and VRBO did a push in my area to get more homes listed. They were quite successful and rather thrilled with themselves. When I called, in February, to inquire about the decrease in my inquiries, about 50%, I was told about the marketing drive. So the successful campaign flooded the market and reduced occupancy across the board. My sales are down about $15,000.00, to date. I think the loss would have been more if I hadn't reduced my rates, paid VRBO for a more expensive membership and sign up for Book It Now, all to get my listing to rank higher on the page.
And now, I see this, which maybe I've over looked for years, but I think selling advertising for lodging on a site we are paying to sell OUR location is in direct violation of what we are paying for. Am I the only one with this opinion? I feel we should ban together and object. They aren't giving that advertising away, they're making money. Our costs have not been adjusted.
My background is in hotel management and ownership, average size 200-300 rooms. I understand how this business works. I've been in cities where the Convention Authority and City Council kept approving hotels and adding rooms to the detriment of occupancy overall, but advertising for someone to go someplace else is a new one.
I would love to receive some feedback on this. I know I've been long-winded and for that I apologize, but thank you for sticking with me to the end. If anyone has suggestions on how I should or could proceed with my complaint, I would so appreciate the information.
Thank you for your time.