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      • 135. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries

        If you don't get "the badge" they might as well put a giant skull and cross bones on your listing!  Have you read what they tell everyone when you scroll over this badge?  Basically that their method is the only secure method and you should think twice about dealing with those listings that don't want to use it!  So I guess HA has determined for us that their method is "the best" and only "secure" method to take payments.  Try to tell me that there is not a financial gain for HA in this decision that they have made for us!


        Oh yeah, it took me over a minute to sign into my HA account this morning.  Thank goodness I wasn't in a rush to answer an inquiry or something!  Glad we don't have to rely on accessing the HA system to respond to our inquiries, at least for today!

        • 136. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
          anja Senior Contributor

          Hi swlinphx,

          Gosh I realized that could be confusing...  {my apology}...but now I also realize that you were referring to an "earlier version" of my statement....I had edited it, afterwards...I posted it and the read it again...and edited it.  What you "captured" and copied was confusing.  I just should have read it entirely through, before I posted the first time. You were right to be confused!  (sorry).    I can use it  {RM}  to take payments for overseas guests, when I sign up for RM...but I wouldn't have to [was my point]....I could process their payments outside the RM,  if  I choose  to....if the traveler doesn't demand RM be used.     I went on to say that the weakness is that RM does not serve owners  outside the USA.


          I'm  keen to personally measure the demand for this. Do you, in your experience so far, have guests asking you to pay with RM?


          P.S. let's move  this to the other thread.

          • 137. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
            amyg Active Contributor

            Sorry I'm late to the party, but after reading through page one of 10 I had to voice my concerns about this proposal.  Rather than restate all the good points many community members have made here, I just want Homeaway to know that I am not in support of this security change.  I appreciate their desire to protect us from scammers but this is such an infringement on our private communications with potential guests I can't believe it.  The information HA will be able to mine from our emails is just incredible.  Our response rates, conversation details, business practices and income will be in their possession. 


            HA please reconsider this communications change.  You will have thousands of very unhappy VR owners (also known as customers).


            Amy Greener

            • 138. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries

              I am so glad that you did!  No need to read the other 9 pages.  You hit the nail on the head.  The only thing that you might have understated is what will happen once they put this in place.  I think they will have more than unhappy VR owners.  I think they will eventually have many less.  Netflex thought they new best for their customers!


              Welcome to the Party!




              • 139. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                skiandglee Active Contributor



                Your concern is unfounded.  HA will NOT have access to all your communications and conversion rates.  Once you verify you are Amy and the renter is verified as a real renter then you can take all your communications off thier system and back to your existing email communication system completely hidden from HA.




                • 140. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries

                  So how will that protect us from hackers?  How will they verify it is a "real renter"?  Will they ask them when they set up a fake travel account?  Maybe give them a check box - check here if you are a hacker.


                  It would be nice to see a written document from HA that describes their intentions.  The more I read, the more unclear it becomes.


                  Since they are verifying that it is a "real renter", I'm sure they will take on all liability if they are not.  Sounds reasonable!

                  • 141. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                    skiandglee Active Contributor

                    Randy, this is a public forum, easily trafficked by hackers and phishers, do you want all the details spread here so that you can sleep better tonight?  I'm sure the phishers would like the full blue prints of HA's efforts so they can begin brainstorming how to get around everything.  Chill.


                    Bottom line is this, if you don't like the system when it is implemented, you can take your ball and go home.  That's called "voting with your dollars".  All the ranting and raving on here is silly.  No, you can NOT have all the details yet, nor should you want them spilled here until the system is complete and tested.


                    People: just calm down and know that HA isn't trying to steal your customers and steal your data and ruin your business and slow you down and all for their amusement.  They have plenty of feedback from us, plenty of our concerns and they are working on the best system that encompasses all the input so let them do their thing and reserve the panic and assumptions for after it's released.




                    • 142. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                      Senior Contributor


                      This is at least the third time that an Ambassador has asked the community to 'chill', shut-up, and just let HA do whatever they want.  I'm trying to minimize my involvement in this thread for fear that I've annoyed some people with some strong opinions and off-topic postings -- but I must reply to this to let people know that not all of us share an encouragement of censorship.


                      Just keeping this thread alive every day has value -- as it shows as an active conversation in the forum search results and new people will hopefully read it and become informed.


                      Do you have any facts to back up your statements that HA will not misuse our info?  Asking us to just trust HA without any credible reason to do so (and the history of HA not respecting our privacy) makes some of us concerned.


                      Seems to me if we just chill and wait for it to happen, it'll be a fait-accomplis and will have been designed without our sincere input.


                      If we stay silent before it is implemented, we lose the right to complain or ask for change after it is implemented.  Voting with dollars is what does as a last resort.  We are trying to be proactive to avoid making this  necessary.


                      There's absolutely nothing HA can do that phishers and hackers don't already know.  It is common practice in the industry to fully disclose the security measures and security flaws of any system.  We owners need to be as fully informed as the hackers already are.


                      Team, if you are against having to log on to initiate conversations with your guests, post a note in this thread -- maybe include the top reason you're against.  Same request if you are for the proposal.  Please don't be scared from posting just because some would like to stop the conversations.



                      • 143. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                        anja Senior Contributor

                        Hi swlinphx,

                        Wait a minute....I'm attempting to learn more about payments through RM.. reading the HA  guidelines.  {I haven't signed up yet.}


                        I think I have to retract my last remark {above #137}. I was just reading HA's payment tips to travelers on the HA website.


                        I'm extracting:

                        "When the owner or manager sends an email invoice via ReservationManager™, you are able to make immediate and secure payments by Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards or an eCheck (US residents only)."


                        So, it seems that my overseas guests will not be able  to pay me via RM.  An OWNER with residence outside the USA can not sign up for RM payment system....and a TRAVELLER with residence outside the USA will not be able to pay a USA-resident OWNER who does use RM to receive payment.

                        Am I understanding this correctly?

                        • 144. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                          anja Senior Contributor

                          Hi amyg,


                          The first inquiry  to -->login Desktop to -->read inquiry to --> respond  to inquiry ...is the part of the new security system {inside RM} that is proposed to be "mandated". 


                          That "login scenario and *what information the traveler should see*   and *what information the owner should see*  in their respective first emails ...before they might want to continue to speak to each other,  is what is in development ---  the detail about each other that should be in the inquiry...and the owner's first response. All  I ever wanted was to see the inquirer's full namephone number and email address...plus a comment stating how many people...ages of  children, general about their lodging needs.....and I'd like that in the very first inquiry. Regardless of what I want or what we get in the end......once that first contact is made....you can email or phone your prospects outside the system, if you and your inquirer chooses to, just like you do now.  Just tell them what to expect.


                          You can tell your inquirer to expect an email from  amyg@abcxyz  . And, maybe the inquirer might want  you to send an invoice through RM and get the insurance,  too. Maybe they will want the "guarantee" against fraud...but if you foster the trust with them, as you already do, that might not be important to them.  So, you will have to explain why you use a different system ....and you can always promote a travel insurance package you want  to them, or maybe they already  have trip insurance coverage. But, the RM guarantee is something that you can work around...as you foster trust...as always done.  The traveler and owner has to do this...regardless whether we work within RM  or outside it.  


                          I do not use RM, yet, so I'm not at all qualified to critique it.  I have questions of my own...and  I'm just starting to read and learn.


                          To date,  I've never had anyone ask me to use RM for payments or insurance, whatever....it's never entered the conversation.  Maybe this will change with the "badge" and the  way HA is already promoting the "security" aspects of paying with RM.  But, maybe not.  It's all relative to how we communicate one on one with the inquirers--- and those owners with some experience and years of practice using their own systems can do so, as they've always done....outside the RM system....after the initial login to get each others email addresses and phone numbers.   


                          Ideas from Ambs and other owners in this open Community are reaching the head of Security at HA.   The dialogue we had with him was a good one in the last Webinar {you can still email him directly,  too with ideas}.  The Security manager is also a vacation rental owner - he lists his property on HA,too -  so he understands from both sides what we are chatting about.


                          We are active in the dialogue...and we can also send ideas for how  to implement this directly to him.  He's open to hearing ideas from us ...he invited us to bring them to the Webinars.  Two have been held....there will be follow ups.  But, they are reading these posts here, as well. 


                          The reality is this:  once you login and make the first response to the inquiry...and both parties connect with each other, you can then take the "conversation" and  the transaction outside RM if you and your inquirer feels comfortable doing that.  HA doesn't recommend  that, but HA can not  prevent you and your inquirer from talking and transacting outside the system...as you already do.

                          • 145. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries



                            I can't beleive what you just wrote!  Are you saying that this is a public forum so don't say too much because others (the bad guys) might find out what we are doing?  Ok, how about they (HA) just tell the good guys what they are doing if we promise we won't tell the bad guys.  Maybe we could come up with a secret code or something.


                            So now we are left to discuss something that might happen but we can't tell you yet because we don't want everyone to know.  But don't worry, it will be something that is really great for us because they said so!


                            It wasn't like I was requesting their technical plan and encryption formula or something!  Sounds like nobody outside of HA knows what they are really planning except maybe the Ambassodor's.  I bet I can get Amy to talk!




                            • 146. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                              swlinphx Premier Contributor

                              First off, I'm confused if discussion about using and paying with RM in general should be in this thread or not.  If we want to keep this thread strictly on having to log in to initially answer each inquiry, then let's discuss RM payments in the other thread as requested.  Look for my response to you there, anja (the link below).  Thanks.



                              • 147. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                                lrbaldwin Active Contributor

                                I personally don't care about HA having access to my communications with the prospective renter.  Nor do I really mind (as long as HA can keep the system running) having to log in to get the inquiry.  What I DO care about is the possible inability to make my first contact with the inquirer by PHONE.  My phone call is usually the first contact the inquirer gets from any owner.  I'm on their caller ID.  It's personal, and I can quickly determine if these are people I want to stay in my house, and they can ask all the questions they want and get immediate answers. If they have to respond to my secure HA email, there's no telling how many other emails they have in their queue from owners.  What if they don't respond to my secure HA email?  I will never have the opportunity to tell them why my VR is better than similar VRs in my area.  Once I have determined that they are the right fit for my cottage, I get the information that is not in the inquiry: names, ages, and relationships to the person who will be responsible for the lease agreement, cell phone used during travel (my cleaner calls me when he has finished cleaning and I call the renter to let him know the house is ready, especially appreciated if the house is ready before official check in time), home address, etc.  This all goes into the lease agreement that I email to them, and signed agreement and check for 1/3 of the rent are expected to be mailed to me the next day.  I have about a 90% conversion rate for those I have decided are a good fit.  My cottage has fully booked for the summer by March 1 since I started advertising on VRBO in August of 2010.


                                Bottom line, I want, no I NEED, the phone number available to me without having to depend on a log in and response from the inquirer.   What security risk is this?  My name, phone number, and address are readily available on whitepages.com.  My phone number is also on my VRBO listing.  Now if some hacker is able to change that number on a VRBO server, we're talking about a whole new level of hacking or phishing which is not being addressed by HA at this time.



                                Chatterbox Too in Duck, NC

                                • 148. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                                  swlinphx Premier Contributor

                                  I definitely value having the inquirer's phone number.  Often, that is the difference between getting the booking or not.  In this day & age of texting and e-mail, a little personal contact goes a long way.  I was surprised when I learned in another thread on the topic (http://community.homeaway.com/message/24067#24067) that so many owners never speak to their renter directly.  If they have a separate manager I can understand, but I can't imagine me not ever having any personal contact with my tenants.  Sunday I spent an hour with a mother and two teenaged sons who checked in after dinnertime. She had many questions and was very appreciate that I gave her all the time she wanted and went over everything about the rental.  I know this may not be possible for every owner, but at least a phone conversation establishes that there is a real person (owner) behind the rental and it is not to be treated as just a generic hotel.


                                  Linda, are you sure that once you log in to read the inquiry that you don't get the phone number unless they respond back again?

                                  • 149. Re: Your Input Needed! you must log-in to your dashboard to respond to inquiries
                                    lrbaldwin Active Contributor

                                    No, I'm not sure.  I just want HA to understand how important it is to me before they finalize their plan.  If others are in the same boat as I am, it might help to let HA know.  I can't possibly be the only owner whose initial contact is by phone.



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