28 Replies Latest reply: Nov 20, 2018 5:34 AM by ohst8er RSS

    Two specific questions about premier partner program

    New Member

      Hi everyone,

      I received an invitation to participate in the Premier Partner program and have two questions.

      1)Do they really give you the phone number of the prospective guest prior to a booking?  This seems to be implied in their promo, although they also say in the "pledge" that you promise you will only use their messaging to communicate with guests.

      2)The pledge says you promise you process all bookings through their system.  I assume that means just all bookings that originate from Homeaway/VRBO.  If we are listed elsewhere, we don't have to process those guests through Homeaway/VRBO.  Correct?

      Thanks in advance for your replies.

      Marcia

        • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
          margaret CommunityAmbassador

          1. PP listing get the contact info.

          2. All bookings originated on HA/VRBO must be processed through their system

          • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
            susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

            Many people, myself included, got the invitation today to be a premier partner. I read the on-line information but do not see the requirements to retain Premier Partner status. Where is a link to the information?

            • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
              susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

              I git brave and clicked on Take The Pledge. I was leary to do this because in the past, clicking on something activated  it, such as hospitality link. Now I am able to know what is required. This wording concerns me:

              • Process all bookings through HomeAway checkout to ensure secure payments and receive protections like the Book with Confidence guarantee.

               

               

              • Process all bookings that originated from Home Away through HomeAway checkout to ensure secure payments and receive protections like the Book with Confidence guarantee.

               

              WIth current wording, I cannot accept pledge. I'm probably taking the wording too literally but I don't want to assume the  wording I added in bold is the true meaning. Also, there is no way to book through HA when original inquire or request is through ABB or TA.

                • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                  soybeanpod Contributor

                  I wonder if we could get a clarification from Erinn on these two points.

                   

                  The current wording of the pledge is specific that all bookings must be processed through their system. Given the current wording anyone that pays to use my rental must be processed through HomeAway.

                   

                  I'm also confused about getting more contact information if I am required to only use their messaging to communicate with guests. I would love to start talking with prospective guests again on the phone before they book, but does this still violate the rules?

                    • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                      moosebigd Contributor

                      I was invited to become a Premier Partner back when the program was initiated, but declined at that time because of the demands and unclear wording of The Pledge.  I have just received my second invitation.  After a lengthy conversation with CS, I have agreed to accept, but not without some concerns.  I was assured that The Pledge as it was originally worded does not exist.  Bookings, reviews, review scores, booking acceptance, and cancellations seem to be the majority of the obligations I need to honor.  Is this correct?  And will I be entitled to access guest information prior to committing to a booking?  The CS indicated that guest information would be available "more quickly" after the booking.

                        • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                          twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                          moosebigd - You get the contact information (email and phone number, if they entered a phone number).  I just verified that - we are PP, and I have both in my dashboard for a person who inquired but did not book.

                          • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                            feibus CommunityAmbassador

                            Full contact info is there with the inquiry.  PP hasn't changed anything about the way I do business with my guests.  And the benefits from having access to better CS people is worth it.

                              • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                floridarob Active Contributor

                                I have certainly NOT experienced better customer service reps. There appears to me to be no difference. Inexperienced, lacking knowledge, poor English skills... I just haven't seen any improvement. In fact, my chances of getting someone skilled, intelligent and knowledgable were much higher prior to the PP program.

                                  • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                    greggt Senior Contributor

                                    I have to disagree Floridarob, I have definitely seen better English skills as a PP, on knowledge, still hit and miss. I am really afraid taking CS's advise on anything but the most simple thing as if wrong, we are the ones hung out to dry.

                                    I try to avoid at all costs calling CS just for the above reason. I will look to this forum and Erinn for the correct answer.

                                      • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                        floridarob Active Contributor

                                        It's not something to disagree with or not. Your experience is different than mine, that's all. Neither your experience nor my own is more valid than the other. I accept what you are reporting as accurate. Please accept my comment as an accurate reflection of what I have experienced.

                                         

                                        As a member of the '2nd wave' of PP owners, I suspect that I may have gotten a different 'batch' of PP support staff, specifically because my experience has been so different from what others have reported on this forum, but who knows?

                                         

                                        But whether or not I have experienced something or not is not something you or anyone else can disagree with. It simply is what it is. Thanks!

                                        • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                          ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                          greggt, I can say with much certainty, being a customer service rep is NOT a job I'd want to have.   And yes, the skills are certainly hit and miss.  I do agree with Florida Rob that the ESL speakers on the CS PP side has increased, and I suppose that's to be expected, the more people you move to PP, the more CS reps you need to have.  Plus, if you are open 24/7 sometimes you have to tap into overseas CS.  I don't mind that, and I don't mind ESL speakers, provided I can understand them.  But what I think companies fail to understand is just because the person on the other end of the phone can speak the same __________ language YOU DO, doesn't mean they have a full understanding of how to communicate in that language.  My business partner spent her whole life in Mexico, save for the past 5 years.  She was taught ESL at school, so she has  been fluent from a very young age. But as she has explained to me, speaking English, and living amongst native English speakers is not the same, and she realized that she had a learning curve when she moved to the US.  She still struggles with being able to write conversationally.   This, IMHO is where having ESL CS reps becomes a struggle.  There have been many times I've been frustrated with the ESL CS rep, not because they don't know the words, but because they don't understand the CONVERSATION. 

                                    • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                      ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                      moosebigd, one of the things you do get with PP is (generally), better informed CS reps.  Note I said generally.  You get contact info with first inquiry.  "guest information would be available 'more quickly' after the booking??"  You currently get guest info AT TIME OF BOOKING. How much "more quickly" can it be until it becomes prior to the booking?? 

                                  • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                    hill5185 CommunityAmbassador

                                    Actually,  you can book through HA manually creating a reservation and sending a payment request. Reality you will not gain favor from the alternative booking sites for taking the "booking off site".

                                     

                                    HA can not control what does not come through their system- but if a traveler makes contact and finds a property through the system they expect the reservation to be processed on platform. (service fee). Don't over think the language. Having the dedicated support is valuable. Also, receiving the traveler information is a perk since you like to speak to all travelers.

                                     

                                    Premier Partner has been a good experience for me.

                                      • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                        susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                                        Thanks for your response. It's not a matter of overthinking the wording. It's a matter of a big corporation not correctly writing what is meant. One shouldn't have to assume the policy only applies to bookings that originated through HA platform.


                                        I did join. From posts in FB groups, many, many owners got the invitation. The big value to me is that the banner looks impressive to travelers. If half the listings have the banner, it's not as impressive as when 5% or so have it.

                                         

                                        It will be nice to have a CS rep that speaks English clearly should I need to call.

                                          • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                            soybeanpod Contributor

                                            From what I recall the Premier Partner Program was originally intended to restrict members to taking bookings only through HomeAway, and I'm guessing that they have loosened the restrictions but not re-written the Pledge. I just had a long talk with customer service and eventually ended up talking with someone who works specifically with this program. She confirmed that you are only required to process through HomeAway those requests that you get through HomeAway. Clearly that is not what the Pledge says, but I'm going to go ahead and sign up. For me the main attraction is once again being able to chat with prospective renters pre-booking.

                                            • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                              jwdw Contributor

                                              I hovered over the Premier Partner logo on a listing n my area. The wording that is presented says:

                                               

                                              "This Homeaway Partner has demonstrated and is committed to fast response times, the best rates and a great guest experience."

                                               

                                              Yet the metrics that A PP is judged on have nothing to do with your response time (a metric that is kept but not used for this purpose), rates or even guest experience. I see many listings in my area that are PP that either have lower guest review ratings than I do or none - they're a PP because they are managed by a Property Manager.

                                               

                                              And I am sorry - "it will be nice to have a CS rep that speaks English clearly" - ???  I can't believe this is a benefit, but I know what you are saying given some of my recent discussions with CS.

                                        • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                          susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                                          1. I seem to remember that the Premier Partner banner was quite obvious on listings that earned that status. Now it's just a tiny rectangular notation on right side of listing. Am I remembering correctly or has it always been tiny?

                                          2. I thought PP included a call from someone at VRBO to give suggestions on how to improve my listing and get more bookings? Did this perk bite the dust? If not, how long after accepting PP will I be called?

                                            • Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                              ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                              susaninrehoboth, the PP status looks the same as it has for quite some time, though it sounds like it looks different in YOUR view than mine.  In mine it's the words premier partner in green.  It used to be Premier Partner in a green rectangle.

                                               

                                              2.  I thought it had been determined that that call had nothing to do with PP, it was something that everyone was going to get eventually.  (the call).  If you were a newbie I'd say you will find lots of useful info from that call.  But since you are not, I wouldn't hold your breath. 

                                               

                                              There are many, many owners who would benefit from that call.  I see people everyday on VRBO that still have in their heading "3br 3 ba with free wifi" which is silly to waste banner space on when it says right below that they are a 3 bedroom 3 bath.

                                               

                                              HELPFUL instructions would be from someone who REALLY knew my area, and could help me tool my listing accordingly.  But the call you get will be from someone thousands of miles away who knows NOTHING about your area and what it takes to sell it.  They are calling to help you maximize your results on their platform, and they will suggest things like IB, hiring a professional photographer to take your photos... she said "I see you hired a professional photographer, these photos are amazing."  (we did not), and they will discuss how ranking metrics work and how to improve yours, (not cancelling anyone, etc).  

                                               

                                              The young lady who called me suggested that I put in my banner that we have AC, a pool, and free wifi, because that was what travelers were looking for.  I said no, that that was a waste of valuable real estate, because anyone who had spent 5 minutes looking at our area already KNEW that 100% of our listings already HAVE AC, that 99% have pools.  People who absolutely NEEDED free wifi could filter search for that.  In the almost 3 years we've been doing this exactly ONE person has asked about our wifi, as they were staying a month and needed access.  Others cared, but were able to ascertain that we had it, or just assumed we had it, whatever.  We get 80 characters, it's a waste to add those.  Still, she was SO Certain that she actually CHANGED my banner to include AC and pool and free wifi, then said "now I know you will probably change this after we hang up..." (I did), but encouraged me that I should keep the info there.  


                                              There's more, but you get the gist.  What I found MOST annoying was the followup email where she stated all the suggestions she made to me (things I was already doing), etc., basically just a CYA email so that she could justify her existence in the company.  I know it would be next to impossible to have people dedicated to a certain area, but even a STAB at looking at a listing ahead of time, understanding an area ahead of time, to me would go a long way in showing that they take more interest in the call than just reading from prompts and pushing IB, or whatever the LATEST tool/trend is that VRBO was pushing. 

                                                • Re: Re: Two specific questions about premier partner program
                                                  sunnycs CommunityAmbassador

                                                  2. I thought PP included a call from someone at VRBO to give suggestions on how to improve my listing and get more bookings? Did this perk bite the dust? If not, how long after accepting PP will I be called?

                                                   

                                                  ohst8er wrote:

                                                   

                                                  ...HELPFUL instructions would be from someone who REALLY knew my area, and could help me tool my listing accordingly.  But the call you get will be from someone thousands of miles away who knows NOTHING about your area and what it takes to sell it...

                                                   

                                                  Ditto for me and it was a waste of time .  I also learned to NOT call that person, even though she said to reach out to her directly if I had questions.  These reps are not CS, and they should clarify that.  If you need assistance, call the number for PP CS (those reps are the bomb diggity).

                                                  _______________

                                                   

                                                  There are definitely a lot more PP's in my market after this last round of invites.  All good because there are some who really deseved it, but property managers are fouling the water.  Here's one example:  there's a listing I noticed in particular with one 1* review.  The review is well-written and accurately describes the state of disrepair the building is in (I was in it myself numerous times recently), so I suspect the derogatory remarks about the property (and the manager) are true as well.  The review starts out:  "This was the first and most likely last time we use VRBO."