84 Replies Latest reply: Apr 8, 2012 12:30 AM by info@waipoulicondo.com RSS

    HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail

    Contributor

      Homeaway introduced new pricing levels with no warning to owners this was coming. I had decided not to renew my 18 listings before this came out and was so thankful I made this decision when I read this change yesterday.  Curious would like to take a Poll..... how many of you are bailing (not renewing listings) due to HomeAway's Greed ?

        • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
          msdebj Senior Contributor

          I want to know where you found out. I found out through these forums. I'm paid through April, but don't plan on renewing.

          • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
            marym Active Contributor

            Is it VRBO too??  Is there a distinction between VRBO/HA?

            • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
              Contributor

              msdebj I also found out about the change through this forum but later on found nine emails from HomeAway in my spam folder. 

              • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                Contributor

                Marym the change is to HomeAway customers. They basically have set a structure similar to VRBO. I always felt that VRBO was worth the listing price difference because we receive ten fold more inquires then from the HomeAway site. The issue is in typical HomeAway fashion… they let us all renew our listings without any form of proper disclosure ahead of time. A message pops up on your dashboard now that says improve your listing performance. It really should pop up and say “ “Help AWAY line our Pockets we need greater Profits for our Investors”. If they can provide a pop up message after the fact they certainly could have given us a pop up message before we all renewed our listings.  Any ethically run company would give customers proper notice on something as major as a price structure change. I’m sure they have had their legal department hard at work to make sure they do not have a Federal Trade Commission issue but this sure sounds to be as if they have created a Monopoly and are boarding on Restrain of Trade!

                 

                Will be interesting to monitor insider trading over the next few months. If this “Jack-up the Rates Scheme” to generate more short term revenue backfires on AWAY….. Investors are not going to be happy campers.  Take a look at when my listings expire... if other owners trends are similar to mine than would expect to see a nice drop in revenue by the end of Q2-2012. Some investors on the message boards are already asking when they can short the stock. I understand puts are available in January

                 

                My HomeAway listings expire as follows:

                 

                July 23 2011 – expired

                 

                November 20, 2011

                January 25, 2012

                January 24, 2012

                February 23, 2012

                April 9, 2012

                April 11, 2012

                April 11, 2012

                April 25, 2012

                  • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                    dodgertown1 Contributor

                    If I was forced to make a decision to renew or let my subscription expire I will not renew next year.

                     

                    Property 1 - April, 2012

                    Property 2 - May, 2012

                    Property 3 - July, 2012

                     

                    For your poll:  Will not renew

                     

                    Homeaway should not just dismiss the posts from owners.  The majority of owners are successful people in all walks of life.  The majority are educated.  Many I would guess are already running businesses of some kind.  We are all entrepreneurs in buying and managing vacation properties.  The subscribers for the most part will not be a "follow the herd" group.  Unless the herd is sending a message to Homeaway.  Of course, all HA would have to do is pull the plug on Community.  If you are an owner then there will need to be an alternative site to have forums if Community is put to sleep. 

                  • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                    dodgertown1 Contributor

                    I half way expect to be blackballed on HA since they have my logon.  I'll probably be #896 out of 896 since I haven't been happy with changes in the review system and now these wonderful tiers.  I went to make some changes yesterday on my dashboard and that is the first time I had any word about the new pricing tiers.  A window appeared covering my dashboard inviting me to increase my exposure by paying anything over what I am paying now.  My knee **** reaction is to just not renew but I don't come up for renewal until May and June on 3 properties.  I will see how things shake out first before making the decision.  If I find the $329 gets me the bottom of the list then I will spread the $900 I am spending on the 3 properties to other sites.  The problem that I have run into is that even slick and smaller sites just don't get enough exposure.  It's a numbers games.  You need hundreds of looks to get a reservation.  The smaller sites just don't supply enough eyes.  We are right now faced a dilemma.  If Homeaway doesn't ignore all this maybe there will be some adjustments but if they hold their guns then I predict they will lose thousands of subscribers.  Think of all the things that used to be big but are now extinct.  It could happen to Homeaway.  Sometimes you have to go back to your roots and what made you successful to start with. 

                    • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                      Contributor

                      Dodgertown1 what you are saying fits with the same dilemma we are all facing.  HomeAway bought up all the great listing sites so they would not have any serious completion and have created a Monopoly.  The Federal Trade Commission AnitiTrust Laws are suppose to protect consumers from something like this happening to us. I worked in the high tech industry for 25 years and was in a high level position where it was mandatory that we have extensive training on Antitrust laws. I think it is only a matter of time before they get a complaint and someone comes a calling from the FTC. . 

                       

                      Here is a link to the Federal Trade Commission website where everyone can read all about this http://www.ftc.gov/bc/antitrust/index.shtm

                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                        swiss-house Contributor

                        I won't pull my listings based soley on principal, even though this does really cheese me off. 

                         

                        But it does force me to re-evaluate where I put my limited advertising dollars.  HA was a good value for money because an active homeowner could keep their listing on the first page (the only page that actually generates sales) and still have money left over to advertise on a few more sites (like VRBO).

                         

                        But with the HA site forcing a price-based ranking war within its listing, I know I'd have to put all my eggs in the HA website basket to buy a top listing

                         

                        This means I'll either have to:

                           1.  cancel my VRBO listing to free up funds to improve my HA ranking

                        or

                            2. drop HA altogether (and probably VRBO too since they have a similar ranking mechanism)  and concentrate on VacationHomeRentals.com or TripAdvisor, or some of the other regional listing sites. 

                         

                        HomeAway.com is effectively telling me they either want 100% or nothing.  It's very possible they'll end up with nothing.

                          • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                            otttoyboy Active Contributor

                            I have 2 listings; both expire Jun 25, 2012.

                             

                            I recently renewed my listing after having dropped HA 3 years ago for their unfair pricing model.  I came back only because I was offered a 50% discount.  Even at that rate, I had to search long and hard to decide if it would be worth it or not.  Now, with this new pricing model, I see that they suckered me into renewing just in time before they degraded the performance of basic listings by introducing this tiered system.

                             

                            Will I renew again?  Certainly -- if they offer me a 75% discount to compensate for the reduced performance.

                            No discount?  No renewal.  I can not afford it -- HA has priced me out of their market.

                             

                            P.

                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                              New Member

                              I agree.  I have seen a huge fall off in inquiries from HA and VRBO, yet my new so far free Flip Key account has already generated a booking.  I think HA and VRBO are just pricing themselves out of the market.  Too bad greed is going to ruin what was a community.

                            • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                              karen.long New Member

                              Two listings, have already turned off the auto-renew.  Service has become terrible recently. What are your thoughts on flipkey?

                                January

                                September

                                • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                  New Member

                                  I resent FlipKey because in order to be on TripAdvisor you have to pay their subsidiary FlipKey to list there.  That having been said, I tried the one-month free offer and had zilch.

                                  The new pricing is further evidence the heyday of the free-wheeling commercial internet is over; it's all in the hands of the big boys.

                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                      New Member

                                      I tried to register for the FLIPKEY free trial but couldn't because there was no place to enter the promotion code on their registration page. I had to search the internet to find a customer service number which is not listed on their website or any of their correspondence. (it's 877-354-7539) After leaving them daily messages for a week with NO RESPONSE whatsoever I have decided I don't need the aggravation. They're all slick ad promo and no substance. Like you, I've read many reviews that say that the free trial yielded very little.

                                       

                                      I will probably drop Homeaway when my ad expires because they keep creating new websites that compete with their older ones. Homeaway doesn't even appear on the first page of a google search anymore, but their NEW site vacationrentals.com does. What a racket.

                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                      New Member

                                      I have been on Flip Key for a week and already have a booking, more than I can say for either VRBO or Homeaway, and our home was booked in 2011 at 90%.  We may well bail as well, from both. 

                                    • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                      Contributor

                                      Poll status as of this morning...Poll closes midnight August 31st

                                       

                                      commentsQ2-2011Q-4-2011Q-1-2012Q2-2012Q3-2012
                                      # listingsNot renewingUndecided
                                      dodgertown1330I predict they will lose thousands of subscribers00030
                                      Vacationlady990

                                      If this “Jack-up the Rates Scheme” to generate more short term revenue backfires on AWAY….. Investors are not going to be happy campers.

                                      11340
                                      Swiss-house101fore me to re-evalutate where I put limited advertising dollars00000
                                      karen.long220Quit HA and only VRBO looking at Flipkey10100
                                      mgtyquin330turned auto renew off going to Flipkey00000
                                      lynneharty101looking at Flipkey and others00000
                                      chsgrl76220already turned off auto-renew Service terrible10100
                                      info@stayattremblant.com220they get greedier and greedier00020
                                      Total23212 31590
                                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                        karen.long New Member

                                        I did go into HomeAway contact us and let them know I would not be renewing.  It was the least I could do.

                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                          Contributor

                                          I'm bailing--not renewing after HA ad expires in January.  I had been considering disontinuing because of difficulty using the site. In comparison to VRBO and Flipkey, it is a very bothersome site. Also it takes days for revisions to  be approved and show up while other listing sites are almost instantneous. While poor customer service was causing me consider dumping HA, the new rates rewarding those who can spend more on advertising helped push me over the edge.

                                           

                                          BTW, I can't figure how to access the poll. so I do not take it.

                                           

                                          NOTE: Had forgotten I had written this. I've changed my mind about dropping HA as it is still my second best source of rentals next to VRBO. I will hang in at least one more year and hope the issues I have can be resolved by working with the HA staff.

                                           

                                          Message was edited by: gmajay

                                          • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                            Contributor

                                            Sophie...just let me know how many HomeAway listings you have and if you will not be renewing what month your listing(s) will expire.  If you are undecided that is fine just mention this when you respond to this thread. 

                                             

                                            If you have already bailed (listing expired) like in the case with Sunnybarbados it would help to know what month the listing expired.

                                             

                                            Everyone...will be updating the status of the poll tomorrow morning.  Would be helpful for everyone to mention we are taking a poll if you are on other discussion threads. 

                                            • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                              Contributor

                                              Update on Poll and comments about this from other threads....reminder...this Poll ends 8/31/11.

                                               

                                              I'm curious if HA included the Opt Out of Review feature in the upgrade would anyone reconsider renewing ?  I have been giving this some thought and I have come to the conclusion that it is not the increase in the listing rate that bothers me so much...it is paying $1000 for a listing and then having some bad renter write a bad review and tarnishing a $1000  listing that really bothers me.

                                               

                                              commentsQ3-2011 / ExpiredQ-4-2011Q-1-2012Q2-2012Q3-2012
                                              # listingsNot renewingUndecided
                                              dodgertown1330I predict they will lose thousands of subscribers00030
                                              Vacationlady990If this “Jack-up the Rates Scheme” to generate more short term revenue backfires on AWAY….. Investors are not going to be happy campers. 11340
                                              Swiss-house101fore me to re-evalutate where I put limited advertising dollars00000
                                              karen.long220Quit HA and only VRBO looking at Flipkey10100
                                              mgtyquin330turned auto renew off going to Flipkey (did not indicate which month listings expire)00000
                                              lynneharty101looking at Flipkey and others00000
                                              chsgrl76220already turned off auto-renew Service terrible10100
                                              info@stayattremblant.com220they get greedier and greedier00020
                                              sunnybarbados110ARROGANCE! It is time to bring this company down a notch1
                                              jamicavilla101My renewal is Dec, not sure if i will be renewing; will be spending some more on marketing my own site00000
                                              gassoc101As for Homeaway, I am seriously contemplating whether to resubscribe with them this year 00000
                                              gmajay110rewarding those who can spend more on advertising helped push me over the edge00100
                                              Total27234 41690
                                              Comments Only…these folks did not Vote in Poll
                                              bridget new policy/extortion
                                              msdebj Yep-Flip key looks good
                                              francesp HA Monster slowly bleeding us dry
                                              annette HA disregard for owners
                                              susanedwards rude service on hold 1.5 hrs
                                              Miljb53 Someone is having a laugh but it certainly is not the homeowners
                                                • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                  otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                  >> I'm curious if HA included the Opt Out of Review feature

                                                  >> in the upgrade would anyone reconsider renewing ?

                                                   

                                                  Sorry, I really don't follow this question.  I want reviews for my property and certainly wouldn't opt-out of this.  I don't, however, agree with HA ranking properties who have more reviews -- that makes no sense to me since there are many legitimate reasons why some properties may not have many reviews (e.g. newly listed, owner not actively encouraging reviews, the type of renter, etc..)

                                                   

                                                  What I disagree with -- and what I thought this thread was about -- is the unfair pricing policies and, specifically, the tiered system.

                                                   

                                                  >>I have been giving this some thought and I have come to the conclusion  that

                                                  >>it is not the increase in the listing rate that bothers me so much.

                                                   

                                                  A $1000 listing, for me, is about 10% of our GROSS for the year.  Given that I need to advertise on several sites in order to fill the property, the advertising budget to HA and VRBO can eat up to 20% of our gross income.  You'll notice that I sais gross income several times.  Imagine how much of our after-expense net income this represents.  Small properties like ours are rapidly being priced out of the HA and VRBO markets -- especially as the web sites' performance degrades over the years (and, yes, it has degraded significantly -- I've been a VRBO member since '07).

                                                • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                  New Member

                                                  Hello everyone (just joined this forum having had it mentioned to me by Tansy in France who I think is active here)

                                                   

                                                  I have just recently bailed.  Although we've had some business from Holiday Rentals, I find the fees a little steep. Our ad came up for renewal two weeks ago and, despite being chased repeatedly about it, I decided to decline.

                                                   

                                                  We have just had our first full year and have done OK with bookings (should achieve close to 90% occupancy for the the year), with most coming from our own website.  (My day job is in online tourism marketing so that helps.)

                                                   

                                                  Anyway, HR kept chasing me with emails, phone calls, etc. and recently offered the renewal of our HR listing, and a new OD listing, and a featured listing for one month on HR for a total price of £418.50.

                                                   

                                                  I offered £400 and this was declined.

                                                   

                                                  But they still keep chasing me.  So I outlined my offer again.

                                                   

                                                  I was then today told that if I agreed today, it would be done for £400.  I said I'd go ahead, and then found that the offer of the one month featured listing on HR was being withdrawn from the offer (apparently that couldn't be done as well, I was later told), so I withdrew also.

                                                   

                                                  I am starting to get cheesed off and they clearly want the renewal more than I do, so you'd think £18.50 wouldn't get in the way of taking £400...

                                                   

                                                  Oh well.. their loss, not mine!

                                                   

                                                  And yes, I do think they're being greedy!

                                                  • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                    Contributor

                                                    Final Results of the Poll

                                                    commentsQ3-2011 / ExpiredQ-4-2011Q-1-2012Q2-2012Q3-2012
                                                    # listingsNot renewingUndecided
                                                    dodgertown1330I predict they will lose thousands of subscribers00030
                                                    Vacationlady990If this “Jack-up the Rates Scheme” to generate more short term revenue backfires on AWAY….. Investors are not going to be happy campers. 11340
                                                    Swiss-house101fore me to re-evalutate where I put limited advertising dollars00000
                                                    karen.long220Quit HA and only VRBO looking at Flipkey10100
                                                    mgtyquin330turned auto renew off going to Flipkey (did not indicate which month listings expire)00000
                                                    lynneharty101looking at Flipkey and others00000
                                                    chsgrl76220already turned off auto-renew Service terrible10100
                                                    info@stayattremblant.com220they get greedier and greedier00020
                                                    sunnybarbados110ARROGANCE! It is time to bring this company down a notch1
                                                    jamicavilla101My renewal is Dec, not sure if i will be renewing; will be spending some more on marketing my own site00000
                                                    rosemarybeach110We are 6 days away from canceling our VRBO subscription due to the REVIEW process! 10000
                                                    colosseo110DID NOT KNOW VRBO was asking us to pay per click... i'd unsuscribe immediately.00000
                                                    kandalcottages110Our ad came up for renewal two weeks ago and, despite being chased repeatedly about it, I decided to decline10000
                                                    gassoc101As for Homeaway, I am seriously contemplating whether to resubscribe with them this year 00000
                                                    gmajay110rewarding those who can spend more on advertising helped push me over the edge00100
                                                    Total30264 61690
                                                    Comments Only…these folks did not Vote in Poll
                                                    bridget new policy/extortion
                                                    msdebj Yep-Flip key looks good
                                                    francesp HA Monster slowly bleeding us dry
                                                    annette HA disregard for owners
                                                    susanedwards rude service on hold 1.5 hrs
                                                    Miljb53 Someone is having a laugh but it certainly is not the homeowners
                                                      • HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                        New Member

                                                        Thanks for compiling this, vacationlady.

                                                         

                                                        Do HomeAway ever comment here?

                                                         

                                                        It would be interesting to hear what they have to say...

                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                          New Member

                                                          I suggest we all disable the auto-renew feature on all our listing. I think this is an effective way to get their attention, without waiting for our listings to come up, to protest or quit. We will need to do something, as a group, to combat this and future greed moves that threaten our profitability.

                                                           

                                                          Billy

                                                          • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                            anja Senior Contributor

                                                            I wasn't sure where to post this message....and didn't know what to name a "new thread"....so I'll put it here.

                                                             

                                                            I read on this forum, today, that some people got emails from HA/VRBO telling them they would be in Level 1. from January 5th....because they have "longevity and 16 photos"...so the new VRBO price structure places them in "first level position" because of their...is it "loyalty"? I'm not clear why they were placed in the new Level 1.    I did not get that email. {I got no email notice from VRBO today about new price structure ...where I would be placed, etc.}....but I did look in my file history for the date that my VRBO listing was first published...which was in 2001....so it's been 10 years. I too pay for 16 photos.  Longevity...loyalty...whatever. Anyway, I guess the rest of us will eventually "get the email".   But, while looking at my "old saved mails", I discovered that I have the final email sent from the  previous owners of VRBO! I thought some people might find it interesting, so I copied just a portion to "paste" here.  It was sent on Nov. 11, 2006, and the founders of VRBO, Dave & Lynn Clouse,  emailed to all the Owner members they had.  It was to tell us some exciting news after "seven months of coordinated effort" which resulted in selling VRBO to HomeAway, Inc..  They stated, they wanted "to make sure it was the best thing to do for VRBO and it's members before they took this step"....thus, it took them seven months of considerations. The email went on to include a "history" of VRBO, and their passion for it, as the creators....etc..  They further stated that they chose HomeAway.com to sell VRBO to because, "We felt a huge responsibility to choose someone with vision and passion for the "by owner" market, someone capable of taking VRBO to the next level. Further quote: "What Does This Mean to VRBO Members? - Don't expect any sweeping changes to VRBO. VRBO is a super-successful site and HomeAway wants to keep it the way it is, although we would like to make it easier to manage a listing on both VRBO and other HomeAway sites in the coming months. The same employees who have run VRBO for years will continue to operate the site, so please continue to contact VRBO customer service at webmaster@vrbo.com with any support issues. Dave and Lynn aren't going away either; in fact we believe in HomeAway so much that we are now one of its largest individual sharholders." UNQUOTE.  The email goes on to say more...and it includes a history of VRBO - The Early Years.  I guess then, that Dave & Lynn Close are happy.   Interesting.  P.S. I have the entire email if anyone wants me to send it to them.  I think it's too long to post here.

                                                          • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                            New Member

                                                            I googled my property and the first site that comes up is vacationrentals.com owned by Homeaway.  I pay for a listing on Homeaway.com and am not happy that they are competing with their own website! Homeaway didn't even come up on the first page of my search.

                                                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                              New Member

                                                              It is much worst then I thought when I renewed in September. I asked all the right question. I asked how many vacation rentals had signed up in my area for the higher cost and was told none.

                                                               

                                                              I can never get to the the first page in my area...never. The put the companies who manage properties ahead of the individuals. They put the individuals who never update their calanders or do not have a full amount of pictures ahead of the individuals who do, if they accept on line payments ( which the make money from)

                                                               

                                                              I will not be renewing and will start a campain of informing other owners that these individuals are crooks! Greedy!

                                                              • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                kristin.r Contributor

                                                                NO.  I would have probably kept it even though I don't get many inquiries through homeaway.  But after being on these community boards for the last 5 months and more so lately I am astonished as to things that are / were going on with HA.  To see some of the answers given by the moderators or whatever you want to call them are simply amazing.  I am very displeased too by HA/VRBO not listening or helping the travelers and owners, especially in regards to the article written by Mr. Elliott confronting Karl Sheppard about the scams going on within VRBO/HA.  COUNT ME OUT.  I will not help them advertise other properties.

                                                                • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                  New Member

                                                                  Could someone help me out here.  I want to know what is this about Home Away being greedy and explain to me why you all are very upset?  Why are you bailing out of Home Away?  Where are you going to advertise you Vacation Rental?  I am asking because I am new at Home Away.  I signed up in November of 2011 and my 1st renter is in my home at present.  I have gotten several inquires but only 1 renter to date (12/31/11).  Thanks for your answers.

                                                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                      karen.long New Member

                                                                      I left because I first began with HomeAway for less than $150 a year.  And

                                                                      at the time, if your place was rented and viewed frequently, it rose to the

                                                                      top.  Now to rise to the top you pay much more and that is the only way to

                                                                      rise to the top - period. It doesn't matter if your rental is, cute, clean

                                                                      and you bend over backwards to please renter.  HomeAway went public and

                                                                      seemed to want the small people (listers) to bend over and they would stick

                                                                      it to them.  Unfair to small people.

                                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                          New Member

                                                                          Sorry Karen.  Hope it is going better for you where ever you are advertising at.  Yea, I never paid $150 so can not compare, would be nice to only have to pay that fee!  Have to pay to play I guess.  Appreciate your response!

                                                                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                              otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                              momof2pups writes>> Have to pay to play I guess.

                                                                               

                                                                              Actually, we pay for a service.  Unfortunatley, as the cost of this service has increased (twofold+ in the past several years), the performance level has decreased dramatically (more low-value inquries, less high-value inquiries that convert to bookings).

                                                                               

                                                                              As the customers of HomeAway we must demand that services are at a fair price.

                                                                               

                                                                              P.

                                                                                • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                  New Member

                                                                                  thanks info@stayattremblant.com.  I have been getting some good info from most people here on this blog(minus the guy who thinks I am from home away-conspiracy theory at work in his mind).  I am going to look at the other sites and see if I might jump ship as several who have been long time customers have.  I noticed some do not like FlipKey either for various reasons.  The reason we went to HomeAway is we actually e-mailed some rental owners from the site and they gave us some valuable info and we felt comfortable, we actual went and looked at their homes in the area where our vacation home is located.  We even spoke to some owners which helped us feel more comfortable.  I guess it depends on who you speak too.  But the fee is quite high and I would like to save ad $ as well!  I will keep what I have paid for so I have a while to go on HA.  I never added the auto-renew to begin with so do not have to be concerned about that issue.

                                                                                  Thanks all for all the good info, I appreciate your time here!!

                                                                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                      New Member

                                                                                      Momof2pups:

                                                                                       

                                                                                      When your first post on a forum is one that basically tells others to suck it up you reap what you sow. Understanding the issues before posting is helpful as it allows for an intelligent exchange of opinions. Home away has changed the rules midstream with out much in the way of warning. When it cost $329 and if you updated your calandar you could be on the front page to now at best being on the 4 th page in my area dispite having everything you need to be advanced. Management companies listings which cost less then mine and are not updated are listed higher. These listings do not update their calandar as well as have no reviews and only a minimum amount of pictures.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      The next issue is the fact that I have to know spend $1000 to now achieve what I could for $329 just a couple of months ago is terrible when you consider that management companies can for less then the $329 makes me very upset as well as others who understand that we home owners are getting screwed and we are not getting kissed!

                                                                                       

                                                                                      $1000 is almost 10 percent of my yearly income. If I was bringing in 3 times that now then my income would have went up 200 percent the same increase that home away is charging I could then justify this shenanigans. You seem to feel that this is the right of home away to do this but I do not as it is a serious breach of contract.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      So if in fact that you are a homeowner then may I suggest you read back and understand what the issues are before posting such a attack on our intelligences.  I'm still up the belief that you are what you first appeared to be and that is a poser!

                                                                              • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                tom.campbell New Member

                                                                                I know some people are furious about a changes in HA's ranking process, and I must say I'm far from happy about them too. 

                                                                                 

                                                                                BUT

                                                                                 

                                                                                For many of us they aren't the end of the world.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Effectively, they are trying to move HomeAway to a "Pay for Placement" model, similar to VRBO's.  This works well for advertisers who are renting high-ticket homes - an extra $500 to get higher ranking is nothing when you rent your island cottage for $$750 a night.

                                                                                 

                                                                                But for owners of smaller, less expensive homes, paying an extra $300, $500 or more to get on the first page of listings for a location means the difference between making a post-tax profit or not. 

                                                                                 

                                                                                Worse yet, HomeAway owns a number of other vacation home rental sites (including VRBO) and aggressively markets them so they come up near the top of most search engine searches.  You almost need to be on ALL of HomeAway's websites to be certain of getting found by someone doing a Google search.  HomeAway has effectively pushed most of the other sites out of the top rankings, and because search engines juggle results regularly, listing on only VRBO but not Homeaway.com means that you may be found in January but not in February when HomeAway.com takes the top spot in Google.

                                                                                 

                                                                                And The HomeAway family of websites makes us pay full prices (occassionally they offer a discount special) for listing on each of their sites.  It's as ifVerizon, ATT, and Sprint were all owned by one company and colluded to raise prices - and then required you to own a phone on each network if you wanted to call all your friends on different networks. 

                                                                                 

                                                                                And the kicker?  There are agencies that represent many, many homes that create just one listing on VRBO or HomeAway.com for all the properties they represent and then direct renters who contact them to different homes depending on what's available in their inventory.  With a large inventory, they have no problem paying an extra $700 to get top ranking.  And the HomeAway family of sites are not actively policing this kind of abuse - often not taking action even when reported by other owners.  That's not what HomeAway and VRBO are supposed to be about - it's supposed to be one home, one listing.

                                                                                 

                                                                                So people are angry.

                                                                                 

                                                                                For me, I've found HomeAway works great for my one, single family home that we rent to skiers in the Poconos. 80% of my successful rentals come from HomeAway.com, although I pay for listings on VRBO and VacationHomeRentals too.  Because VRBO makes pay to play a requirement to list, my VRBO listing is so far down the list it's a joke so I won't bother relisting there next year.  But for HomeAway.com, it seems most everyone else in my area has decided to stick with the basic plan - not many are opting to pay the extra $$$ to rank higher. Those who rent often and update their calendar, set competitive prices, accept the HomeAway online payments, and keep their pictures updated, rank near the top naturally - the way it should be.  We stay rented nearly every weekend through the high and mid-seasons.  And that's what we've been shooting for.

                                                                                 

                                                                                I just wish the HomeAway management would recognize that eating their young - i.e. abusing the owners who pay to list (and create content!) - will be detrimental to their health in the long term.

                                                                                  • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                    New Member

                                                                                    Thanks Tom, guess cause we got in the game late, we do not have those issues, but good to know.  We are having quite a few inquires lately (we updated and added Visa to our payments) and seems to 'grab' more peoples attention, understandable!  Have several contracts and am happy so far. 

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Thank you for all the info, it has helped me understand why everyone was upset.  Understand that people feel they are being 'taken to the cleaners', but guess that is Capitalism.  You get what you pay for.  No one wants to hear that when it is there money though!

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Like being informed, information is power, can see why that is true.  Want to keep updated and know all that is happening.  Also need to keep any company 'in check' and they need to hear any complaint their clients have as it is important for business to keep the 'customer happy'.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Appreciate your time   Keep on renting!

                                                                                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                        New Member

                                                                                        what I find irating and laughable are the posts in this thread from Homeaway themselves......just who do they think they are fooling? Certainly not me that is for sure.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        I was sold a bill of goods and do not like it......you should get what you paid for. When you change the rules midstream you should provide the same service to all existing accounts until their renewal date and then they can make an informed decision....not do what they have done.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        I update my calendar all the time, post the maximum pictures, what I have not done is accepted Homeaway on line payments as I do not feel that I should be forced to paying homeaway more money . I am fine with them offering this as a service but it should not advance an advertiser to the top page ahead of others who do not offer this. The owners who do offer this stay ahead of me despite not updating their calendar. As well as the companies who are paid to run homes for their owners. They pay less then me do but stay ahead of me because they have many listings. This is not the way to do business. All existing advertisers should be given the same chance of being on the top page until their existing contract expires then when renewing have them make an educated decision.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Lastly remember you are not fooling anyone with the posts supporting this.....when these are the new posters!

                                                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                          otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                          momof2pups writes>> guess that is Capitalism.  You get what you pay for.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Hi momof2pups,

                                                                                          I'll admit to having had an emotional reaction when I read the phrase above.  I may have misread your intent but, to me, it felt like you were implying that the HA/VRBO disrespect for and manipulation of owners can be explained away by "Capitalism".

                                                                                           

                                                                                          I think that is patently untrue.  There are such things as rules against monopolies, price fixing, lying to customers, etc..  HA / VRBO are coming dangerously close to these lines and I have read (in these very forums) of some owners who feel that there may be legal recourse for the anti-competitive actions of HA / VRBO.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          I don't think we need to sit back and take it.  I don't think the actions of HA / VRBO can be explained away.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          momof2pups writes>> guess 'cause we got in the game late,

                                                                                          momof2pups writes>> we do not have those issues

                                                                                           

                                                                                          I don't think when an owner joined HA / VRBO has much bearing on how the HA / VRBO policies will affect their listing.  If you have not purchased more pictures, you will not rank as high.  If you do not take credit card payments through HA / VRBO you will not rank as high.  If you do not update your calendar, you will not rank as high.  If you do not have reviews, you will not rank as high.  If you get an undeserved negative review, you have no recourse.  If you have a small property, your ROI with HA advertising will be smaller than a larger property.  You will receive "bulk" inquiries from guests with no interest in your property wasting your time and theirs.  The prices will continue to rise as the service and performance of the site goes down (as evidenced by the past 5 years).   HA group of companies will continue to purchase their competition and then raise the price of listings you had on other sites.  There will be competitors ads displayed at the top of YOUR listing while a guest views it.  If a guest enquires about your property, HA will shortly thereafter send an e-mail suggesting other properties to them -- with absolutely no guarantee or evidence that this is being reciprocated for your property. 

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Dare I say "etcetera, etcetera.."

                                                                                           

                                                                                          You may have been better informed of how the system works now but you are certainly affected by the same issues as the rest of us -- or you will shortly be.  Either way.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Anyway, like I said above, I had an emotional reaction to your message -- so please forgive me if my reply is particularly spirited.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          P.

                                                                                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                              anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                              To P.   Thank you for your "spirited" reply and summing up the issues that have affected us Owners. My blood pressure rose a notch, as well.  But, I forgive the newcomers to "The System" who do not understand, yet, how "The System" functions....and how not so favorably for them, The Owners.

                                                                                              • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                New Member

                                                                                                Ok, did not mean to 'raise' anyone's blood pressure at all!  I am not against anything you all have issues with, I believe you all have these issues. (Also, you only used partial quotes, please put all my content in as it can change 'the meaning' of what I said.)  I am not against you all, I am not here to argue anything.  I just wanted info and gave my view to how I feel and my experience to date. I am sorry you have these issues, guess with everything, there are issues.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                I am stating I do not have these issues (as of yet) and hope not to.  Since I have just joined (late Nov.) I was just asking about the issues. At present, the only issue I can say I have is that some of the potential renters do not read all, if any, of my ad.  As I have had several people e-mail, or call and ask to have 8 adults at my home.  It states in the ad my home is not set up for 8 adults.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                  And sure, I have had several people e-mail about the property and have not heard from them again.  In that, I would prefer their business but if they want to go somewhere else, that is there choice, but, if H.A. sends them an e-mail to another property, I am not too happy with that, think it is not right.  In saying that, kind of wonder what kind of person went over to the other property, might not want them at mine afterall!  My opinion on my property and the kind of people I want there!

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Presently, I am looking for a home in Germany to rent, my timeshare does not have anything available to date (use to live there and want to take my daughter & her hubby for a Christmas Holiday, I have fond memories of).  I did not receive any e-mail from home away directing me towards any other property, so have no idea about that.  I did receive an e-mail stating 'my vacation inquiry confirmation' only.  Nor did I see any other homes advertised above the home I looked at in Germany, so do not know about that issue.   Just stating my experiences. 

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Hope your issues do get resolved and the 'monoply' laws may apply here, I do not know.  I will inform you all if I have any issues if you are interested. 

                                                                                                  • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                    otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                                    Thanks momof2pups.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    A fair reply.  Honestly, best of luck to all of us trying to navigate this new Owner Rental environment.

                                                                                                    It can and does work -- we're just trying to get HomeAway to remember who their paying customers are.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    P.

                                                                                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                      New Member

                                                                                                      The issues are many and I'm with another poster on here that it is odd that a person writes their first post in a thread that rightfully is attacking Homeaway and VRBO.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      It is not capitalism to switch midstream and change the rules. It is fraud.....you stated that you get what you pay for....well that is the issue the owners are not getting what they paid for.....the rules changed and they have increased the cost to get to the first page by 200%.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      I have been around for a long time on forums and have seen this all to often....when people are dissatified the individuals who they are upset with come on to forums pretending to be one of them but supporting the people who the individuals who posted on the thread are mad at.

                                                                                                      It is funny but generally most people can see through this. I may be wrong, but not very likely. Forcing people to pay more to get the same services by 200% will not only backfire but will see people leave in masses.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      I will like others who posted in this thread not stick around. I did ask a agengcy who advertises on Home away how much they pay....and it is less then everyone one of us owners do and they rank ahead of the owners based on Volume......when these sites are avertised as renting from an owner and that is what they advertise.....how long before the renters get the picture that the companies are the individuals who are being promoted.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Homeaway made is mark in this industry by promoting renting from owners.....you should not bite the hand that feeds you...as it just may bite back!

                                                                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                          New Member

                                                                                                          it seems you may have, in your message, inferred that I am some kind of stooge posing as an owner. Not the case, at all, but, I can tell you, from a friend who works for a management company, that they do, in fact, get discounts based on volume. This is not a secret. When I signed up my first account, I noted that a discount was offered on this basis, even before HA bought VRBO

                                                                                                          I agree that we are not being offered more in any of these changes. We are being offered the opportunity to not receive less than we paid for, by, yes, paying more! Of course, they can make the case that we have term limited contracts, but, that does not change the fact that they affect these changes during the course of contracts, without offer of refund, even on a probated basis.

                                                                                                          I imagine they feel immune to law suit, since we are, individually, small, and they are large (these days). I do wonder if a tort attorney would like to win a fee. We, individually would not gain anything but satisfaction, but, sounds fun, doesn't it?

                                                                                                          Billy

                                                                                                          • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                            karen.long New Member

                                                                                                            Try renting a house or condo from an agency and then do the same from one

                                                                                                            that is an owner.  The service is usually incomparable.

                                                                                                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                              New Member

                                                                                                              No offense dice, but you are incorrect.  I own a vacation rental home and am just stating the facts I have from my service received from HomeAway.(since Nov., I have had several rental contracts to date)  You may choose to believe different, your choice.  I do appreciate the info I am getting here on the blog about legitimate concerns (do not appreciate being looked at as a deceiver, no conspiracy theory here) but again, your choice.

                                                                                                              As stated to other bloggers, I am going to do some research on the other vacational rental sights they had mentioned ( even FlipKey just to see if I can get a free month like some stated is offered) as I would like to save some ad $ as well!  Could spend that money improving my home!  Will give my research info here after I do.

                                                                                                              Have a good day.

                                                                                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                      anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                      "momof2pubs',  there are many issues involved....and we are a Community of very experienced Owners who have been "around" in business and in the HA Community as advertisers.  You should just read the threads to fill yourself in, at your leisure, from this forum. You may be new to "The System"....but don't think for a moment that you are not affected by all of this...from the day you signed up you became only another "property number".... not a client of HA.   And, you will soon realize that.  This has nothing to do with "capitalism"...as you seem to brush off all of the problems that Owners have been dealing with. They are real. They affect business. They affect return on investment [ROI}....they affect quality of Traveler/Owner relationships....and the bottom line of high premiums, low performance of The Service.  Many are not renewing for good reason. Inform yourself by reading the different threads in this Community Forum.

                                                                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                          New Member

                                                                                                          I have, thanks Anja. Just wanted info and giving my limited experience to date.  Doing more reseach on the other vacation rental sites.  Want to save ad $ as well   Do you have any info on other sites that would be of help?  Thanks, appreciate your time. 

                                                                                                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                              anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                                              Hi momof2pups:  There is a lot to learn, starting out with the HA-VRBO...like with anything. And, you will find that this Community Forum is very resourceful. Do spend some time, at your leisure, to read some of the threads. You'll find a lot of helpful advice, tips, experiences....ramblings and rants. But, you do have to try for yourself...you will make some mistakes...you will keep learning. I've been subscribing here for years.  I still learn because there are always development, ideas out there, and trends that are changing.  I have been trying many different advertising websites for a long time...years...and there are many online. The 'free to use' ones are not really worth the time. Some of the "subscriber for fee" ones are just okay...{some are not performing at all  for  me...at least for my location. Location is key...even for choosing an advertising website.  One of them that I will probably try now is FlipKey.com .  I have been reading what others in this Community experience with FlipKey.com .  Some love it...some are not impressed.  They give a 'free' trial basis so you can sign up to try it out...so you have nothing to lose. And, you can upload as many photos as you want.  At the top of this Community Forum page, you can  SEARCH on topics. Try searching on FlipKey ...and you will get all the comments from people here that do have experience with it.  I have tried so many others that I can not list them all here....but I focus {invest in} only on the ones that bring me "traffic". And, although I am not happy with many of the developments,  the Home Away family of websites do perform in that respect. There are issues with them ...policy issues...program issues...price issues. But, they do bring traffic. The question is the value of that traffic...and that is what you will "read" being debated  here, because of the development of the website.   Stay on this Community...read everything ...and you will soon realize that it's not only "about the bed and the bath"...when it comes to vacation rental marketing. A lot of experienced people here...too.   Oh...yes, do ask, ask, ask....when you need advice. Come here and ask.

                                                                                                                • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                  New Member

                                                                                                                  Thank you Anja.  I actually did sign up on FlipKey yesterday, a representative did call me and verify my property listing.  My listing did show up the site immediately following the call, so now I have 60 Days free, I like free and hope it brings some rental contracts!  Noticed we are also listed on Trip Advisor, a site owened by FlipKey.  Not sure why a site ownes another site.  Guess they think they get more exposure.  I am not listed on VRBO, do not see a need to purchase extra ad at this point.

                                                                                                                  Our location is tropical and hoping that helps with rental, especially this time of year.  Also noticed I received an inquiry for July!  Very happy about that as well! 

                                                                                                                  Thank you for all the info!  I am learning every day.  And you are correct in saying lots of good tips, advice, etc. and rants. I am learning about that as well.  Depends on attitudes I guess.  But received mostly helpful and nice replies which I appreciate.  Will let everyone know what happens with FlipKey/Trip Advisor after the free period runs out.  Hopefully will get some contracts, if not, will stick with HA, where I have gotten 3 contracts to date.  Thanks for all the experienced advice and info! Will keep updating myself

                                                                                                          • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                            bobbie32 Community All-Star

                                                                                                            Hold onto your wallet.  I bet the next change will be that you can pay extra to be listed amoungst those 10 properties that show up after someone has made an inquiry.  You will pay to be seen when a traveler is interested in someone else's property.  It will be like being able to advertise on someone elses listing.  You wait...

                                                                                                             

                                                                                                            Since they now have stock holders they must come up with creative ways to increase revenue. 

                                                                                                              • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                msdebj Senior Contributor

                                                                                                                Bobbie, well they (HA and investors) to have a BIG wake up coming. The only folks on VRBO are soon going to be prop. managment  companies. When full dislcosure comes out ,,, well, watch out. ( and sell your HA stock RIGHT NOW)

                                                                                                                  • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                    New Member

                                                                                                                    I won't be renewing.  I thought long and hard before advertising on this site (I had advertised previously on the UK site).  I wanted my ad to appear on listings sites affiliated with the US site so I paid $329, not an insubstantial sum for a small scale renter like myself. 

                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                    I was absolutely astounded when a few months later, HA introduced the tiered system which put my  ads , effectively, right at the back of the listings.  When I advertised before with the UK arm,  and before the tiered system was introduced, I used to get a 5 or 6 enquiries per week.  These days I get maybe one per week...

                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                    Not happy, Will not be renewing.

                                                                                                                  • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                    info@waipoulicondo.com New Member

                                                                                                                    First, there are many alternative and FREE options out there. I use rentini.com to host my website (built out of a template in 2 seconds), it's also my primary payment processor, calendar and review system. Did i already say it's free? I think I did. Second, ranking should be done based on the owners' performance, not how many photos or top featured seats the owner or PM have purchased. Vacation rental sites should make owners' life easier and promote better performing businesses, not make it more complicated by presenting with convoluted pricing strategies and give preferences to those who spend more money.

                                                                                                                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                        New Member

                                                                                                                        Hey, I joined Rentini recently as well. Have been using multiple sites for the last few years but the prices the listing fees are reaching is just ridiculous. I'm still using homeaway until my listing expires, but really, the free alternatives like Rentini are so much better and because they're free they're growing fast.

                                                                                                                        I can't quite deal with sites like flipkey for the reasons mentioned above, and I still need a site to get the right target guests. It seems like a no brainer to me

                                                                                                                          • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                            marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                                                            As much as I hate saying this, there is a cost of doing business.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            We are all in business. Once we collect money for our rentals, you are in business. Some one once said "it costs money to make money".

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Yes, Homeaway is charging us more and more, but before Homeaway, what did we do? We advertised in newspapers, hit or miss; or we had realtors who rented our homes at a commission rate of 10%  (in my case rental fees were $500 to $3000 each). I am not saying that Homeaway is a bargain, but it's a cost of doing business.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Is this a business to you guys out there or is this a game you are playing?

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            I assume we are all trying to gain extra income, or it might be our primary income. None the less, whatever it is, we need to advertise. Homeaway has given us a way to do this.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Homeaway is in business as well. They are looking to make money as well.  Just as we homeowners are looking for ways to increase our business by offering extra value, so is Homeaway.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            They give you options. Do you want to be on the first or last page. Well guys, you need to pay for that privlege. If you don't want to pay, then you need to accept your positioning.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            If you want to be in the big leagues with the big boys you need to aunty up. Not ***** and moan that it's too expensive. All those great free rental sites do nothing. You get nothing for nothing. Even the cheaper sites do not drive the traffic you need to book lots of rentals. I know, I have tried almost every site out there.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            NO, I do not work for Homeaway. I am a homeowner with several properties.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                            Marilyn

                                                                                                                            www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

                                                                                                                              • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                dodgertown1 Contributor

                                                                                                                                Well Marilyn, it sounds like all this discussion that has been running for the last year finally got to you.  My initial reaction to the tiers and price increases and managed properties versus owner managed got me charged up too.  You have spoken a lot of truth in your message and the bottom line for me is that Homeaway still works for us and our 3 places we own and manage.  I haven't paid the up charges to get seen more but having good reviews and some history behind us has helped to drive business to us.  I learned a long time ago that to try to go cheap on advertising means to lose a lot of potential business.  Even with all the angst of paying a lot to advertise on 3 major sites with 3 places I will continue advertising on all 3.  I have to admit that I am still listed on some of the free or minimal charge sites and I get business from them.  Not a lot but it fills in the gaps so well worth it.  I may have thought that if you want to run with the big dogs you have to get off the porch but you said it already.  My main thing is that these sites do keep the big picture in mind and not lose sight of all the individual owners.  Many business models have failed when trying to reach a different market that looks lucrative at first but later doesn't pan out. 

                                                                                                                                  • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                    New Member

                                                                                                                                    Marilyn,

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    I could not disagree with you more. You try raising your rents 300% and see where that gets you....there is a cost of doing business and home away will find that there tactic of buying up all the major sites that offer this service and increasing the cost 300% will see they take a huge hit. Trust me Flipkey will be the biggest in this coming 12 months as the Home Aaway/VRBO have priced them selfs out of the market.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    I see that you have many places that you rent out and you likely can afford to be held ransom for this service, I have one rental and can not afford to be on more then one site and at $1000 to get to the top now when I could have done this before by simply being a good owner and updating my listing is nuts and fraud as they sold me a service and in mid stream changed.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    Good luck in the future as the sites that are operated under this group will only be for the afluent owners and be at the bottom looking up to others who offer the same service at a reasonable cost. A 10% increase is fair and 300% increase is nuts.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    You spend your money how you like and I will do the same.

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                    PS I have had 5 times the many inquires using Kijiji which is free sit then Home Away in the last 6 months and I have bookings that fill 4 months from this free service.

                                                                                                                                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                        marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                        Hi Lori

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        First, I have not raised my rental rates in three years due to the economy. This will certainly not be an option for me for the next couple of years. With almost 600 homes in the Hamptons advertising on Homeaway, I can't raise prices. But, yes, all my costs have gone up: oil, gas, electric, pool service, landscaping and on and on.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        Second, I do not subscribe to any extras. I just pay the $329 per year fee. AND, I still get inquiries every day and bookings on some days.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        You name the site and I have registered on it. Based on all the sites out there, I sincerely doubt Homeaway will buy them all. I have not registered on Kijiji, but will certainly give it a try. I watch where my rentals come from very carefully and more than 75% of all my bookings come from Homeaway. With seven homes, that's quite a lot.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        If everyone does not buy the extra features, we will still remain in the same position as we did before these were available. Yes perhaps a few people can afford to buy into the extras, but the majority of us cannot.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        Does this mean you should bail? Who are you kidding? Who are you hurting?

                                                                                                                                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                        marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                        You are so right, it has gotten to me. I am sorry if I sound like I am ranting and raving, but the fact of the matter is, Homeaway does produce for all of us. If you want to stay in the rental business, and want the leads, you have to pay for them. Yes, some of us cn pay the upcharges and some of us can't. But being angry at Homeaway for wanting to make a buck is just unreasonable and unrealistic.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        If you can't afford the upcharges, you can't be mad at the people who can afford them. I have not subscribed to any of the "extra features". Perhaps I might do more business if I did, or maybe not.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        We should all be thankful that Brian came up with the idea for Homeaway. We all benefit in the long run.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                        Marilyn

                                                                                                                                        www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

                                                                                                                                          • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                            New Member

                                                                                                                                            Marilyn,

                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                            I feel the same way you do as we just got in with our rental last year.

                                                                                                                                            But I learned quickly not to go on this blog as there are some who are

                                                                                                                                            really angry, regardless of anyone's 'good experiences' like yours/mine on

                                                                                                                                            HomeAway.

                                                                                                                                            And it is funny, that some think you are working for H.A. made me laugh.  I

                                                                                                                                            feel some people hearing about our 'good rental experience' do not want to

                                                                                                                                            hear it and do not care.  But, up to you as it does not matter how 'good'

                                                                                                                                            some feel about H.A., others just do not want to hear it.

                                                                                                                                            I checked your web-site and like your homes, very nice.  We just have one

                                                                                                                                            at present, 1 is enough to keep us very busy right now.  Good luck with

                                                                                                                                            your rentals.

                                                                                                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                          otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                          Hi Marylin,

                                                                                                                                          Wow.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          >> Yes, Homeaway is charging us more and more, but before

                                                                                                                                          >> Homeaway, what did we do?

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          Before HomeAway, I advertised on the "old" VRBO and:

                                                                                                                                               -- paid about 30% of what I need to pay now to get similar results

                                                                                                                                               -- didn't have to reply to so many "fire-and-forget" bulk inquiries

                                                                                                                                               -- got more respectful guests (both to me and to my property)

                                                                                                                                               -- my ROI for advertising dollar was much better

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          HomeAway is the single worst thing that has happened to my business.  It may have enabled an industry but for my rental it is a net negative.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          >>Is this a business to you guys out there or is this a game you are playing?

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          For some it's a business.  For some it's necessary to pay the mortgage on their units.  For some it's extra income.  I don't see how that's relevant.  If HA is over-charging for the service for a business then they're over-charging for someone "playing". Either way, the fees increase have far outpaced inflation or any value-add by HA.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          >> Well guys, you need to pay for that privlege.  If you

                                                                                                                                          >> don't want to pay, then you need to accept your positioning.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          That is an opinion, not a fact.  There are many ways HA/VRBO could position their business that do not require advertising tiers and "pay-per" positioning.  The current system does not act in the best interests of either the owner or the traveller (and most certainly not the traveller).

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          >> If you want to be in the big leagues with the big boys

                                                                                                                                          >> you need to aunty up.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          This is part of the problem.  Many of us do not want to play with the "big boys".  VRBO (of yesteryear) was the site that catered to owner rentals by owners with a nice targeted market, pricing that we could afford and superior performance.  HA / VRBO has unilaterally decided that I must play with the "big boys" by purchasing up all the viable competition, changing the business model and then raising prices (without adding value for many of us).

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          We do not need to sit back and take it and "ante up" the exorbitant fees that VRBO / HA are asking.  Complacency on the part of owners will see rates continue to sky-rocket while service and advertising ROI continues to decline. 

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          We need to take HA/VRBO to task and, as their customers, demand that they meet our requirements at a fair price.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          P.

                                                                                                                                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                              bobbie32 Community All-Star

                                                                                                                                              The problem is that VRBO / HA is in violation of the anti-trust laws in this country.  They are a monopoly - plain and simple.  It will take a class-action lawsuit to bring them down.  They have deliberately bought out all the competition, so there is no other place for the vacation homeowner to go. 

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              I will only pay, if I believe that who I am dealing with plays fair and this company does not play fair. 

                                                                                                                                                • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                  marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                  Hi Bobbie

                                                                                                                                                  Just because they bought a couple of companies does not make them in violation of anti-trust laws.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  There are so many other sites one can advertise on both free and for a fee.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  Kijiji

                                                                                                                                                  Masterpiece

                                                                                                                                                  Findrentals

                                                                                                                                                  craigslist

                                                                                                                                                  vacationhomerentals

                                                                                                                                                  VFW

                                                                                                                                                  Rentalo

                                                                                                                                                  HamptonRentals

                                                                                                                                                  Beachouse rentals

                                                                                                                                                  Vacationrentalzone

                                                                                                                                                  Lupain

                                                                                                                                                  Flipkey

                                                                                                                                                  Homegetaways

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  and at least 20 more. BUT, Homeaway spends tons of money advertising their site, they have people continually working on SEO to make their sites more visible. This all costs. Can you guess what an ad on the Grammies or during the Super Bowl.  This is a business to them ad to us.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  Whether you own one home or ten, your return on investment is best with Homeaway.

                                                                                                                                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                      bobbie32 Community All-Star

                                                                                                                                                      Marilyn...

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      We can agree to disagree.  The moment HA went public they had to satisfy their investors and had to increase their rates, buy more of the competition and figure out a way to control most all advertising for vacation rentals.  Many of the the sites you list are garbage sites - they do not produce anything but frustation. I am a firm believer in that you pay for what you get. Yes, VRBO produces and yes, we all need to pay to advertise.  But I strongly disagree with VRBOs tactics.  They do not let you downgrade (to stay within your advertising budget) without a huge hassle.  They instigated the auto renew feature without informing the homeowner.  They raised their rates and total chaos happened - people could not even access their listings to make changes at a time of the year when access was hugely important.  You can rarely talk to customer support.  It takes days to receive an e-mail back when you need to ask a question.  It was like they went into hiding after they instigated the rate changes.  They knew full well that they were going to irritate many of their advertisers, but did not step up to the plate and deal with the negative response.  They simply acted as children. 

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      Enough said...

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                          marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                          Hi Bobbie

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you this was handled in a lousy way. I also agree with you that it has been very difficult to get any customer service on the phone. Today placed 3 calls and waited and waited and still waiting as I type this.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          But, I think Homeaway's raising rates was just a natural progression of any company. I think it is far to soon to say that they have to satisfy investors.  I think they need more money in order to do the things necessary to make their site the best and foremost in the industry. Although this certainly lines their pockets,it  also helps us as well by driving traffic to us .

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          I agree all these other websites are trash. I know I advertied on ALL of them with no luck except one.

                                                                                                                                                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                        lrbaldwin Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                        bobbie32,

                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                        1. That's a pretty drastic statement.  I doubt that HomeAway is violating anti-trust laws. If I were in business and it were advantageous for me to buy up the competition, I would.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Class action lawsuits don't benefit anybody but the lawyers.

                                                                                                                                                        3. I wouldn't want to "bring them down".  Though I think HA/VRBO has made some poorly thought out changes, right now I haven't found anywhere else that I would feel confident to do the advertising for my one tiny property. It's a far cry better than the rental agency we used to use.

                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                        Linda

                                                                                                                                                        http://vrbo.com/315522

                                                                                                                                                      • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                        marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                        I sincerely doubt that you can demand anything from an independent company. You certainly have the option to stay or leave.

                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                        Bottom line, if you want to stay in the game, you play, if not you leave.

                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                        Yesteryear is no longer here. We are in the internet age that is moving at rapid speed. Companies are increasing their rates at rapid speed to meet the demands of their costs. VRBO was once a nice small company catering to the homeowner. But that has changed. Owners retired. New Owners want to make money.

                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                        We are all looking at the new charges to us, but what about the costs associated with running Homeaway. I have to assume they have increased as well. Sure owners want to make more, but they seem to be spending more as well.

                                                                                                                                                          • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                            otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                            >>I sincerely doubt that you can demand anything from

                                                                                                                                                            >>an independent company.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            Well organized groups of customers (us owners) can always demand service/fairness from suppliers.  Many, many companies have, in the past, had to change tactics, policies, manufacturing, quality etc. as a result of customer demands.  Don't sell us short!

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            >>You certainly have the option to stay or leave.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            Do I?  I'm not arguing that VRBO (not so much HA in my area) do perform.  As a business I do not currently have the choice to leaveYou made that very point yourself, above, when you said "who are you hurting by leaving?"  I can't argue that fact and that's why I still have a VRBO listing.  I can not afford to renew HA, though, and will not be doing so next year. 

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            >>Whether you own one home or ten, your return on investment is best with Homeaway.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            Untrue.  In fact, my best ROI has been with Kijiji.  I only post there when I need to at $4 for a week.  I have had several bookings.  The ROI on that investment is orders of magnitude better than HA.   I still need VRBO in order to be successful becuase posting to Kijiji and maintaining that ad is too much work -- but if we're talking ROI in dollars, HA is no where near the top.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            >>They deliver inquiries.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            Yes, but they used to deliver bookings.  The new "bulk" inquiry feature has devalued the site incredibly and significantly increased my workload.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            >>but what about the costs associated with running Homeaway

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            Yes -- they are very inefficient with our money.  I have cited several examples of this in the Forums.  They are also posting record profits.  If they run their business properly, their costs should decrease (on a per-site basis) due to efficiencies of scale.   A failed superbowl ad (as an example) is not money prudently spent.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            Marilyn, I think you're clearly in a different place (geographically and mind-set) then some of us.  If you are enjoying 100% occupancy (365 days/year is nothing short of fantastical) for your properties from a couple of $329 ads, then you are really coming at this with a very different perspective.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            Try on a few "I have a full-time job and I'm also renting my one small vacation property" shoes and you might see things differently.  The site need to be streamlined, cost-effective and efficient.  All three of these criteria have suffered under HA management in the past few years.

                                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                                            P.

                                                                                                                                                              • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                                marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                Hi P

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                Perhaps a few clarifications are in order:

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                I don't have one full time job, but three. I run a manufacturing company (my husband founded and is now disabled). Our factory manufactures all the airport control tower shades in the United States and Europe. I own a sales and marketing company for the last 35 years in the gift industry with 25 employees. AND, last but not least, I started buying homes 11 years ago, renovating, building pools and renting them. So trying on one full time job for me is Not an option. My shoes though are small, size 6.5

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                My homes are not year round rentals. Although I show my homes all year round, renovate, refurbish, add and delete furniture, my rentals actually takes place from April thru October. Tenants are not big on hitting the beach in 35 degree weather.

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                You can lobby all you want, but I have found that when companies make a decision to run their business in a particular way, it is difficult to change their minds. If they do, it takes a really really long time for them to do so. But, one can hope.

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                With regards to the Super Bowl ad, it might not have been a great ad, BUT it was certainly seen by millions of people.

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                Marilyn

                                                                                                                                                                www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

                                                                                                                                                                  • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                                    otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Marilyn,

                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you for the clarifications; but, for my benefit anyway, there is really no need.  I'm not making any comments about you, personally, other than to point out that your perspective (experiences, expertise, financial position, workload, expectations, perceptions, approach, etc.) appeared to be coming from a different place than some of us.

                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                    The point, which might have been missed, is not about the specifics of how/why your perspective is different but, simply, that it is.

                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                    Regards,

                                                                                                                                                                    P.

                                                                                                                                                    • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                      New Member

                                                                                                                                                      Sure wish I would have seen this long ago. The past three years with HomeAway and VRBO have been a nightmare.  I was convinced when I was given my new "personal resentative (who disappeared right after I committed to thousands more $$ of listings) to upgrade some of my listings. Big mistake. No difference in responses. 

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      The GREED is insulting for those of us who started out with the (then wonderful) VRBO years and years ago.  

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      Long story short........ I think I currently pay HomeAway about $17,000 a year for my listings.Well, one by one as they expired I am not renewing or renewing at a lower level.   I decided to try Flipkey.  Amazing service.   I listed about 18 properties with them.  They offered me 2 months free trial on all of them and then ended up giving me 4 months because I had not collected reviews on a couple of them. I didn't even have to ask.  So then I got my bill which I could pay monthly or by the year. Well, by the month it came to a bit over $3000 for the entire year for all the listings. I opted for the yearly payment and paid something like $2600 for the 17 listings.  I have fewer listing on HomeAway and VRBO and pay over $20,000 a year.  75% discount. Yes I think it's a better option.  I get at least as many if not more requests from Flipkey.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I too hope that HomeAway does not blackball me either like someone else mentioned.  But the deal is, when we all tried to just tell them that their serviced sucked and their greed was insulting, they really didn't care.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      I think as we switch to some new sites, maybe they will open thier eyes of just keep preying on the newbies that come along.  Sad, really sad.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      The other things you need to notice is all the ads that show up at the bottom of your listing when people click on it. They are directing them to other properties (hotels too I think) on the page that you paid for!!!  Then they send them emails suggesting other properties and locations.  Send a few test requests for your own property and see what happens.  They are really going to hate me now. But maybe they will wake up soon and listen to thier very old and once loyal customers.

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                          wiffle Contributor

                                                                                                                                                          If we want change, we owners must be willing to invest in the companies that are willing to provide a product that works for us. If we are only willing to spend our dollars on the site that brings us the most traffic, yet we sit around and grumble about it all day, we WILL be stuck with no options.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          Someone needs to come up with a different model though. We don't need another VRBO or another HomeAway. And, it doesn't need to just be cheaper. It has to be different.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          It is exhausting dealing with all the junk we deal with, be it incessant calls from the United in Uniform people, etc. That isn't what I mean by investing in other companies. Someone needs to present a better product.

                                                                                                                                                            • Re: HomeAway Greed forces Owners to Bail
                                                                                                                                                              info@waipoulicondo.com New Member

                                                                                                                                                              @wiffle - have you tried rentini? it gives you great tools to manage vacation rental from a to z: integrated reservation, payments, calendar, and verified reviews; assigning cleaner or agents; a complimentary website to manage your business independently, etc etc. you also find a caring customer service, not some ignorant corp folks' "meh"