Hello my friends! It has been nearly a year since my last post or response to a discussion topic. For those of you who may have forgotten about me or are new to the forum, I've been an avid user of VRBOs since the early 2000's and purchased my own VR in 2010 and listed it on VRBO.com.
Over the years I have been a huge supporter of the many changes that were made. Some of them were good ideas and others not so, but I went along with them anyway. VRBO IMO has gone from what I would call a "mom and pop" listing service to a ridiculous company. One that puts profit over everything else. Don't get me wrong, I think they deserve to make money. But, they will no longer be able to leverage my VR.
I am honestly not sure what it was that put me over the edge and decide to sell. Was it the "listing quality" metric, or the "Best Match" metric or the "BIN" metric or the new "Service fee", I am not totally sure. But, I can tell you that I am no longer allowing VRBO... uh hem, HA.... u hem Expedia to manage me on how to become a "successful" owner. I've always been a good little soldier and followed their ridiculous ideas, no matter how silly it was.
I believe where Expedia has really missed the mark is assuming that each owner has the same goals. WE DON'T! I was in it to maximize my revenue and having a 12% Cap Rate was definitely achieving that, but VRBO was originally set up to allow single VR owners the opportunity to supplement their income with having a few rentals a month. It made for a much more personal experience. I always felt like I was dealing directly with the owner and unfortunately it has become much more of a transaction than it was an experience.
I logged on about a month ago when VRBO implemented the new "Service Fee". Wow was I surprised when Sharples actually posted about the fee. What a bunch of garbage. Either he is truly a fool or he is just spreading BS, because there is no way a potential guest would ever assume the "Service Fee" is a great idea. There is no value in it for the guest. All it does is put the owner in the position to have to reduce their rate to make it more affordable for the guest. While my average guest stay at 2 nights they are already spending nearly $600 with taxes and fees and now adding a $43 service fee was just too much to swallow.
Immediately after the fee was implemented, my page views plummeted from 1300 the prior year/month to less than 300. My inquiries went from 13 the prior year/month to 2. I originally thought "Well, I will give it a go and see what happens". Well, nothing happened.
I saw other newer VRs who were a "Pay per booking" in my area were booking and I as others who were a subscription listing, were wide open with no bookings. This confirmed what I had been concerned with all along, that when it came down to it VRBO could and would manipulate the visible listings. Unless I played by their rules (which change monthly it seems), I wasn't going to get rentals.
While I am quite sad and it breaks my heart to sell a business that I worked so hard to manage these past 6 years, I will wake up April 21st and know that I am no longer a slave to whatever rules they wish to make up in order to leverage me even more.
To all of my friends who I have made over the years (Especially Twobitrentals), I do wish you well. Its a tough business and I hope you are all successful. To those who Ihave bickered with over the years ( including Swlinphx), I hope you know it was out of passion for the business and nothing personal and I wish you the best going forward.