15 Replies Latest reply: Sep 13, 2014 2:14 PM by swlinphx RSS

    Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!

    New Member

      Did you know that VRBO is showing ads for local hotels, other local vacation rental websites and other local competitive "sponsored ads" right next to YOUR VRBO listing?

       

      This is like McDonalds having ads for Burger King, Carl's Junior and Wendy's on the McDonalds website and represents a serious conflict of interest. Where is VRBO's commitment to their customers?

       

      When I brought this to the attention of VRBO to make a complaint I got the response that VRBO is allowed to show "sponsored links" on their website because it's in the fine print of their contract. I am not satisfied with this response, just because they can put sponsored ads on their site doesn't make it right to send people off the VRBO website to some hotel or other vacation rental property group.

       

      These advertisers are paying VRBO pennies to show their ads next to our listings while VRBO customers like me and you are paying $600 a year. Why should an ad paying pennies be next to my $600 a year ad? If the ads were for beach towels or sunscreen or skis or something vacation related I would not have (as much) as an issue with them being displayed. The problem is the ADS ARE FOR COMPETING SITES TO VRBO ITSELF.  DUH! What is VRBO thinking?

       

      It doesn't take a genius to see that sending potential customers off the VRBO website to a competitors website is a BAD IDEA.

       

      If you are as angry as I am about this TELL VRBO ABOUT IT

       

      SEND AN EMAIL TO

      support-cs@vrbo.com

       

      Here is text to COPY AND PASTE in your email:

       

      ******

      To Whom It May Concern:

       

      I do not agree with VRBO showing targeted sponsored ads for local competitive rental and hotel websites next to my highly paid VRBO rental listing. These sponsored ads are proposing local hotels and other non-VRBO affiliates to potential renters and are potentially compromising my rental ability by introducing unneeded competition. This is not in the best interest of me, your customer.

       

      Just as customers have a number of choices to find a rental property, I as an owner have a choice of where to advertise my rental. I can go to FlipKey or B2B Air or any a number of other websites.

       

      Stop your greedy and selfish interests of increasing your revenue at the expense of your customer. I urge you to abandon showing targeted sponsored ads for local competitors websites next to your customer listings. This is unaccepatble behavior and represents a serious conflict of interest!

       

      ******

        • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
          snowcrest New Member

          I just noticed this today.  Not only is VRBO/HA adding competitor ads to individual websites we are specifically paying for, (in some cases almost $1,000 - ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS  - Nine hundred and ninety-nine to be exact), the ad is taking up 25% of the screen in the bottom right hand quadrant.  And, it moves with the screen! what a joke.  Between that and them advertising their own bookings (and taking 10% vs paying a set amount a year), it's a wonder we get any bookings still from this site.  The specific ad on my site was advertising hotels at 80% off.  I finally hit the "hide" on my screen but unfortunately guests wont do that.  is there anything we can do? writing to VRBO (great idea, by the way, and I will do that again next, again) hasn't given me any response so far.

           

          Allparkcityrentals.com

          vrbo listing # 91864. 

            • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
              swlinphx Premier Contributor

              Between that and them advertising their own bookings (and taking 10% vs paying a set amount a year), it's a wonder we get any bookings still from this site.

               

              You might be happier with a subscription plan instead of pay-per-booking.  Also, because you see an ad doesn't mean everyone does.  Some ads are reserved for sites the particular viewer (web browser) has frequented and it differs for everyone.  Was the ad you saw from a site that you frequented regularly or recently?

                • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
                  snowcrest New Member

                  no, I don't think I'd be happier paying 10% as I have 12 properties and don't want to pay HA $50,000 a year instead of $10,000 a year.  But of course I would only be paying for what is being booked so maybe I should try it as I fear HA would be more apt to get me more bookings. The ad was from some hotel booking company that I've never seen or used in my life. and it was partially in Spanish when it came up again (it repeated) (I speak English).  So I don't think it was targeted advertising in anyway, based on visited browsers, Other than knowing I was looking for a property to rent.    Regardless, it is awful to see HA/VRBO advertise OTHER hotel properties (the ad, shown below, unless HA removes it, states "Up to 80% off hotels" and then there was space to enter your destination, arrival, departure, and # of people, if my Spanish translation is correct)   I didn't click on it but was appalled to see it taking up a good portion of my screen and COVERED some of my key information on my listing! I don't think you can get rid of it if you don't have some type of popup blocker.  It also moved with the screen as you scrolled.

                   

                  BTW, I tried viewing my property on both a Firefox and chrome browser after clearing my cache and the same hotel ad was displayed.  I finally added a do-not-disturb add on but wish I hadn't as I want to watch and see if HA does anything about it.  BUT, I have a screen shot and attached it here. How's that for VRBO targeted marketing and being customer focused?  BTW, I have no issues with the above non-competing marketing (i don't like it but don't have as much of an issue if it's not competing).  but the blatant advertising for competing rentals on MY PAID FOR LISTING is appalling!

                  ha ad pop ups vrbo sucks.jpg

                    • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
                      snowcrest New Member

                      PS: if you look at the ad, you can see it blocks my calendar, contact info, etc! as it continued to move with the screen, it was almost impossible to see my information for my PAID ad.  How can I sign up to advertise like that?

                      • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
                        swlinphx Premier Contributor

                        ...no, I don't think I'd be happier paying 10% as I have 12 properties and don't want to pay HA $50,000 a year instead of $10,000 a year.  But of course I would only be paying for what is being booked so maybe I should try it as I fear HA would be more apt to get me more bookings.

                        I misinterpreted your original post thinking you were saying you are currently on the 10% pay-per-booking plan so I recommended the subscription, not knowing you are already on it.

                          • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
                            snowcrest New Member

                            "I misinterpreted your original post thinking you were saying you are currently on the 10% pay-per-booking plan so I recommended the subscription, not knowing you are already on it."

                             

                             

                            Thanks, Swlinphx.  And I misinterpreted your response as I am indeed already on the subscription plan (as you noticed). after your message last night, I reactivated one of my expired listings on the pay-per-booking plan. If I am going to get ads like that on my paid subscription listings I might as well get the ad for free.  I agree with your other response that it is extremely irritating and frustrating to see ads like that on my subscription listings, especially when they do indeed scroll with the listing.  I've sent two messages to HA in hopes they will respond and remove.  Perhaps it was an oversight from HA, just like the thread about Western Union ads (although those don't compete and were "banner" ads at the top of the page).  I don't think it benefits HA in any way to have a scrolling hotel booking ad on a users site (unless they are getting extra $$$$$ to allow those ads that directly compete).  For the life of me, I just can't figure out why they did it.  Perhaps they were hacked in some way?  Ever since I clicked on "remove" (or something?  Perhaps from my "do not disturb" ad-on button), and talked to the call center (who said to send an email to HA and agreed it would be upsetting),  I haven't seen it. Has anyone else seen an ad like this appearing on their subscription listing?  I found it by just doing a random search (not logged in) and pulling up one of my listings.

                    • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
                      victoriam Active Contributor

                      I also find this appalling.  I posted a few days ago on another thread - but here is what shows up for Washington DC

                       

                      Heck, I'd be happy if they simply quit  the "Sponsored Links" - paid advertisements for HOTELS, Bed and Breakfasts and discount sites.  Why are we paying for listings only to be undermined this way?  It's crazy!

                       

                      Sponsored Links

                       

                      • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
                        victoriam Active Contributor

                        This email doesn't work

                        support-cs@vrbo.com


                        I sent an email and received this response-


                        We are no longer monitoring this email address for new support requests.

                         

                        If you are contacting us about an existing support issue, please reply directly to the last message you received from our Customer Support Representative. When doing so, be careful not to change the Subject line of your email, as it contains valuable information to help route your reply.

                         

                        If you are seeking support for a new issue, please navigate to the appropriate Help Page below to search for a solution. If you are unable to resolve your issue, click the Contact Us link on our help pages to reach a Customer Service Agent.

                         

                        HomeAway.com

                        VRBO.com

                        VacationRentals.com

                         

                        We appreciate your business and look forward to assisting you!

                         

                         

                        Best,

                         

                          HomeAway Customer Support

                          • Re: Competitors Ads on VRBO website?!
                            snowcrest New Member

                            Thanks for your response, victoriam.  I just posted a response above that I had adware on my mac which was causing the takeover on my screen of the hotel ad. This was NOT a homeaway issue.  I'm embarrassed and humbled that I jumped to the conclusion that it was an HA issue.  While I still have the HA banner ads and competing sponsored link ads on my listing, at least I don't have one that takes over the screen any longer.  I hope HA does something about the other ads, as I don't think that's right on our "paid" listing sites, but at least it's not nearly as blatant as what I was seeing earlier in the week.  I have sent an email to them acknowledging my error and apologizing for my misappropriated judgement and hope they receive it. 

                             

                            FYI, I too have received the same response as you when trying to send a message to HA.  The only way I've been able to do so is through the support tab or responding to an answered email from HA.

                             

                            Thanks for responding and so sorry if I caused any additional frustration to anyone.