I agree that having access to the analytics you are musing about would help us make more informed decisions and provide insights.
By the way, while I was at the first HomeAway summit last spring, I raised this subject, and I even suggested ways for the HomeAway sites to facilitate owners like us plugging in our own private Google Analytics codes. If this was delivered, we would have access to some of the information you alluded to above. Sadly, I was brushed off, or flatly told "no" :-)
Only HomeAway can provide "web" analytics concerning activity on the listing pages we pay for. Analytics come in many forms, however...
To help out in this area, I recently started a software company that among other things will soon be delivering powerful vacation rental analytics for property owners.
Our name, Rentallect, is a play on the words "rental" and "intellect". I've been involved with the engineering of Analytics software for several years. I am excited to be bringing business intelligence concepts to the VR marketplace.
We have not launched yet, but you and everyone here is welcome to contact us about what we're building. You'll have an opportunity to shape the product by telling us what you need.
President & Founder
Thanks for your reply. Sounds like you're a bit ahead of the curve on this although, you'd think VRBO would be on top of this kind of tracking. I'm a professional Realtor and this kind of data should be easy for them to compile and graphically depict a la other real-estate related sites that have been doing this kind of thing for years.
I visited your site and registered. I'll be looking forward to updates on your progress. I'd be happy to speak with you further on what kind of information I'd be interested in seeing.
Hi Cynthia & Curt.
I just asked the same question a couple of days ago.
This was my response from a nice lady in Email Support at VRBO:
...I am sorry, but VRBO.com are not able to accept HTML code. Therefore Google Analytics cannot be used for your VRBO.com listing.
Maybe they don't have a spare BA and code monkey but throw us a bone and tell us they are thinking about it. Google Analytics has a lot to offer.
Curt, I'm going to register on your site and I'll tell my friends to watch for it.
I think there is a next generation of rental sites needed that is unfortunately going to take fresh blood to bring about.
What is rather intriquing is this. Google is heavily vested in HomeAway -- and yet we as owners are unable to get a lens into our own pages. Even the practice of applying a holistic approach that embraces SEO, organic / universal search isn't going to help without having any insight into our prospective guests, their behanivor patterns etc. -- down to how we rank overall.
I used Alexa to get a 50ft view of how the HomeAway domain is ranked, top queries, external/internal links, bounce rates etc. But it is absolutely mind blowing in an era where transparency rules that we are unable to get any traction in this space with HomeAway.
I can appreciate how HomeAway offers an upsell to have owners to pay more for higher visibility -- but how does one weigh in on that without returning to the same issue -- what are my KPIs. What are the drivers to my page, how do I stack up against the competition.
Perhaps I'm missing something here, but HomeAway is a titan in this space and yet they do not offer any glimpse for their grass roots -- owners -- into the dynamics of visitors and a given page. While we have had measurable ROI in advertising here, but I'm always surveying the 'competitive' landscape to see how we can make more informed decisions to formulate prescriptives for our vacation rental promotion to yield a better revenue stream.
Does anyone have details on what prevails in the industry as a best practice for providing analytics to owners.
I too have tried to apply Google Analytics in the past. I personally believe that VRBO doesn't want us to truly know the data. They use the tier pricing as a way for you to increase your inquiries, but they don't tell you what you really want to know.
Sure I may get additional inquiries, but does the % of rentals to inquiries increase the closer you are to the top of the list? I personally could care less about how many inquiries I get by paying an additional $. What I would like to know is how many homes did this person submit an inquiry to? What was the average rental rate to the homes the inquiry was submitted? Has this person rented in the past with another home?
These are all answers that I know VRBO has access to, but refuse to give to us because they know we wouldn't like the answers.