18 Replies Latest reply: Jan 9, 2015 10:01 AM by carol RSS

    Happy New Year! Community announcements

    Active Contributor

      Hi everyone,

       

      Happy New Year!  With a new year comes a fresh start and I’m excited to see what’s in store for our Community in 2015. We have a few exciting announcements, but let’s discuss some housekeeping first.

       

      We want to provide a place where you can talk to each other about all aspects of owning and managing a vacation rental. We may contribute to conversations from time to time, but the Community is mainly a place for you to chat and share with one another. That being said, we have the Community Guidelines in place to ensure everyone has a positive experience.

       

      We ask that you are respectful when posting. Using crude language and name calling are clear no-nos.  If you have to pause to ask yourself “is this offensive?”, then it probably is – don’t post it. Leave petty, passive-aggressive, and personal comments at the door. 

       

      We openly welcome feedback on Community and find it very helpful. We understand there will be criticism too. But, we do not tolerate improper allegations, speculations, or innuendos.  The guidelines specifically state: Do not make improper allegations about specific people or companies. These comments will be removed.

       

      If you feel someone is breaking the guidelines you can anonymously flag their post as abusive. The post is then moderated and will be approved or rejected.  Flagging posts helps keep each other accountable. I am only one set of eyes and do not always see everything.

       

      If a member breaks Community guidelines they will receive a warning. If they continue to break Community guidelines they will be banned for 30 days.  If they break Community guidelines again they will be banned indefinitely. Based on the Community by HomeAway™ Terms and Conditions we reserve the right terminate your Community account at any time for any reason in its sole and absolute discretion.

       

      Okay, now onto the fun stuff!

       

      Brent Bellm, our COO and President will continue to maintain his presence on Community. He will be participating in a monthly Town Hall Webinar prompted by questions from YOU. We are still working on a date for the first Webinar, but I will post it on Community as soon as I hear.  A week before the Webinar I will post a thread titled: Questions for Brent. There you can post questions that will be discussed during the webinar. 

       

      In addition to Brent’s participation, every Monday I will post a new discussion topic.  These Monday pick-me-up posts will cover everything from administrative topics, like today's, to other relevant VR industry topics.  If you have any suggestions or questions you haven’t wanted to ask publicly, you can email me at Community@homeaway.com


      Something else we want to continue into the new year is local Owner Meet-ups.  Last year we held 8 successful meet-ups in cities across the US.  If you are interested in hosting you can read more about it here: Meet fellow owners in your area - host an Owner Meet-up!

       

       

      That is all for now- thank you for reading until the end! Let’s continue to make Community the best resource for Vacation Rental Owners  

      Best,

      Katie

      Community Manager

        • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
          Active Contributor

          Thanks, Katie! Glad Brent is sticking around in a manner that works well for his schedule and family. A webinar is a fantastic idea; as is a weekly discussion topic.

           

          I'm hoping to reschedule the meet up in my town this year. I think I have a better idea of when the owners come in now!

          • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
            thaxterlane Premier Contributor

            Thank you Katie.  The new ideas for 2015 are very appealing.  Here's to a productive and prosperous year for all forum members and affiliates.  I would be pleased to attend or host a meet up for members in my area.  Please post info or direct me to info posted re organizing a meet up. 

              • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                Active Contributor

                Hi thaxterlane,

                 

                Here is information regarding hosting an Owner Meet-up:

                 

                 

                What exactly are Owner Meet-ups?

                 

                Meet-ups are a great way to meet other vacation rental owners in person.   You’ll be amazed at the wealth of information you can collect from other owner’s experiences.

                 

                How can I host an Owner Meet-up?

                 

                If you’re interested in hosting an Owner Meet-up in your area please email Community@homeaway.com with the following information:

                 

                1. Make the subject line of your email: I want to host an Owner Meet-up!
                2. Propose a location - 1) What city/area 2. What restaurant/bar/coffee shop
                3. Include your Community username and Property ID

                 

                As the host, what are my responsibilities?

                1. Greet guests - help create a welcoming atmosphere for attendees
                2. Snap some photos - we want to see the fun in action
                3. Gather feedback - we are always looking for ways to improve our sites
                4. Enjoy! Have fun and learn from the other owners

                 

                Looking forward to hearing from you about hosting!

                Katie

                Community Manager

              • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                Senior Contributor

                Thank you, Katie.  These ideas all sound very good.

                • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                  anja Senior Contributor

                  katiej wrote:

                   

                  [...]

                  Okay, now onto the fun stuff!

                   

                  Brent Bellm, our COO and President will continue to maintain his presence on Community. He will be participating in a monthly Town Hall Webinar prompted by questions from YOU. We are still working on a date for the first Webinar, but I will post it on Community as soon as I hear.  A week before the Webinar I will post a thread titled: Questions for Brent. There you can post questions that will be discussed during the webinar. 

                   

                  In addition to Brent’s participation, every Monday I will post a new discussion topic.  These Monday pick-me-up posts will cover everything from administrative topics, like today's, to other relevant VR industry topics.  If you have any suggestions or questions you haven’t wanted to ask publicly, you can email me at Community@homeaway.com

                  [...]

                   

                  Katiej and Brent ...

                  Happy New Year and thank you, both, for your efforts to stay in direct communication with us.  I like the format.  I'm looking forward to this.

                  • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                    twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                    Katie:

                    This all sounds wonderful! I am looking forward to 2015 with your new emphasis on a kinder more gentler forum. 

                    • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                      hill5185 CommunityAmbassador

                      Katie!

                       

                      This is a breath of fresh air . I'm looking forward to the "Town Hall Webinars" this is a step in the right direction. Thank you for all you do and thank you for forging forward  creating and fostering a more tolerant environment within in the community.

                       

                      A very Happy New Year!

                       

                      P.S.- the Community Meet Up I hosted was really fun! I'd like to make it an annual event- will HA continue to sponsor "meet ups" or is it a one time deal?

                      • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                        Active Contributor

                        Thanks for the updates, Katie. It sounds promising.

                         

                        I Have a question for you........several days ago, rather than sitting on hold while I am supposed to be working at my job, I decided to send a request to the homeaway help team via email.........this was 3 days ago and I've still not heard from anyone. Wait time is 20 minutes on the phone and I can't do that from my office. The inquiry is about someone who sent two identical email inquiries to me within 3 minutes of one another because they didn't send the correct info at first. HA has marked the 2nd inquiry as not answered, and it's going to effect my responsiveness. Any advice about getting this taken care of in a timely manner? Three days with no reply seems like someone there needs to be more prompt at replying since they want us (rightly so) to respond in a timely manner.

                        also....for the rest of the community....when you're on hold on the phone waiting for CS, is the recording incredibly scratch and filled with static? Or is it just from Idaho that the sound quality is horrendous?

                        thanks

                          • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                            scooby Contributor

                            Trish, I emailed with the same question a few weeks ago and was informed that I could answer the first inquiry, and then go to the dashboard and just click on the guests' phone number on the second inquiry, which is also considered a response.  Hope this helps.

                              • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                                bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                But that only works if the traveler lists a phone number.  I have had this situation happen a couple of times and if there was no phone number to click I just sent a note that we are out of the office and will respond shortly. Yes, the traveler might get a couple of confusing emails, but what else are we supposed to do?

                                 

                                I answer each and every inquiry usually within an hour.  You might also just send an email stating that you just sent an email and hope that they did indeed receive it - please advise...

                                 

                                Edited...

                                  • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                    I might also add that a tactic some people use is to deliberately send multiple inquiries hoping that someone will reply sooner than later.  Yes, I have done this myself - not for inquiries, but emails to customer support.  And yes, multiple emails do seem to get attention over a single email. I just don't want to get put on the back burner.  If I have a question, I am not willing to wait a couple of weeks for an answer.  

                                    • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                                      Senior Contributor

                                      bobbie32 wrote:

                                       

                                      But that only works if the traveler lists a phone number.  I have had this situation happen a couple of times and if there was no phone number to click I just sent a note that we are out of the office and will respond shortly. Yes, the traveler might get a couple of confusing emails, but what else are we supposed to do?

                                       

                                      I answer each and every inquiry usually within an hour.  You might also just send an email stating that you just sent an email and hope that they did indeed receive it - please advise...

                                       

                                      Edited...

                                       

                                      Fortunately, it doesn't happen often, but when I receive two inquiries from the same traveler, I respond fully to the first inquiry.  I also briefly respond to the second inquiry.  I simply state that I received two inquiries from him and have answered all of his questions in my response to the first inquiry.

                                  • Re: Happy New Year! Community announcements
                                    sapphiresteve Senior Contributor

                                    Trish,

                                     

                                    As far as the identical inquiries are concerned, just respond to the second inquiry immediately.  It doesn't make much difference how you respond to the secondary inquiry, but I would briefly explain the situation. Something like this: HA/VRBO rewards me for prompt responses and penalizes me for not answering inquiries. This message is to keep HA/VRBO happy-- you can just ignore it.

                                     

                                    Steve