7 Replies Latest reply: Nov 27, 2018 3:08 PM by homeaway_community_manager RSS

    Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong

    floridarob Contributor

      HomeAway is trying to tell me that my minimum stay requirement of 3 nights results in only 54% of inquiries being suitable for my property. Despite the fact that in an entire decade, I've only had guests stay for four nights twice, and three nights once. Never less. But... HomeAway wants me to make my minimum stay a single night.

       

      I know that this percentage is wrong, and just another demonstration of how HomeAway doesn't seem to understand the vacation rental business, despite claims to the contrary, so I decided to do a little digging with a CS rep. Now I know that what the CS reps tell owners can't be trusted, but as near as I can figure out, here is where HomeAway is going so incredibly wrong on their understanding of the number of nights guests want to book, and why their minimum stay request percentage calculations are so far off.

       

      Every time someone goes on the site and does a search without specifying any dates, HomeAway presumes they would like to stay for one single night, and counts it as an inquiry for a single night stay. Why? Because that is the minimum that a guest could book across the platform.

       

      So every time a search is run, just to browse, explore, or just look at properties... HomeAway assumes that the person doing that search wants to stay for only one night, and counts it as a search for only one night. And if your minimum stay requirement for that search with no dates specified exceeds one single evening, HomeAway thinks you don't make the grade because you couldn't host that guest and their single night request.

       

      But the truth is, HomeAway has absolutely NO idea why that guest was on the site, and if they were to make a booking, how long that booking would be. No matter, your minimum night stay requirement of just two or three nights was not enough for your home to show up in search results, or have the percentage of guests actually looking for their true dates to book be accurately reflected on your owner dashboard.

       

      And THAT my friends is how you completely screw up your minimum stay statistics on a vacation rental booking site!

       

      **edited by homeaway_community_manager to remove statement that violates community guidelines**

        • Re: Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong
          ohst8er Senior Contributor

          If I made a list of the things on the owner’s dashboard that I couldn’t care less about, that metric would and has always been at the top of the list.  And since it’s not ever counted for anything I’ve given it about as much thought.

          • Re: Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong
            treeguy Contributor

            Just for grins, how many folks on here rent for a single night?

             

            I could see renting for a single night if I was renting a room in my house, but the time an effort it takes to prepare a whole house makes renting for one night cost and time prohibitive in my view.

              • Re: Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong
                margaret CommunityAmbassador

                I do not allow one night bookings. My high season has a 7 night minimum. I had a 3 to 4 night minimum for the rest of the year for a long time. A few years back, at the request of my housekeeper, I switched to a 2 night minimum except during high season. I agreed to try it, with the exception of the holidays. My properties are located on a golf course, almost all of my 2 night bookings are golfers. It was a good decision. One night would be too much work for too little profit.

              • Re: Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong
                scowol Active Contributor

                I have a 4-night minimum stay, and have had that requirement for the past 10 years.  My property is generally rented 85-90% year round. While that is the case, I don't think that HA is lying to us regarding this metric for the marketplace. 

                 

                I frequently look at calendars of competing properties in my marketplace, and there are tons and tons of weekend (2-night) reservations.  In fact about half the calendars in my marketplace have 2-night reservations.  So what that is telling me is that there are indeed lots of travelers looking for 2-night stays, and HA is advising me on my dashboard that (only) 58% of all searches meet or exceed my minimum stay length. Specifically, the percentage is "Searches that meet or exceed your minimum stay length."   But there's enough travelers (in my marketplace) seeking 4+ nights, and so it's not adversely impacting my success.

                 

                Bottom line, it's just data based on what HA's traveler's are entering into the number of nights they are seeking when they start a search for all properties.  If you want to have that metric hit 100%, then set it for 1 night. But for most owners, that's not necessary.  It's just data to help an owner make a decision.

                  • Re: Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong
                    ohst8er Senior Contributor

                    scowol, sometimes we never know how something will affect us until we try it.  We can only assume.   And I assume that allowing one night stay's for my listing, us being 12 hours away, has the potential to be a colossal disaster.  But I can only assume this.

                     

                    When we first started I set our listings to 4 night minimums (7 nights in the peak summer weeks).  I assumed this was the smart thing to do.  I also assumed that the smart thing to do was to build in our cleaning fee with our rate.  And when someone sent an inquiry asking for a 3 night stay, I would reply that it was cost prohibitive to do so.  I assumed this was the best way to manage it.  But after some time I decided maybe I was missing something.  I set our minimum from 4 nights to 3, and  ADDED ON the cleaning fee. I assumed people might balk at this.   I assumed we'd start to see lots of 3 night bookings.  We got a FEW.  What we did get was MORE FOUR night stays.  HUH?  Wasn't expecting that. 

                     

                    I also assumed that if I switched from building in the cleaning fee for 7 night stays during peak weak, to making it an extra charge it would hurt our bookings.  I finally just made ALL stays incur the $150 cleaning fee, but only because VRBO wouldn't allow us to have it built in for some, and an extra fee for others.  I assumed wrong on that one, we still booked.  I also assumed I'd HATE IB, and would never ever do it.  It's been great (knock on wood). 

                     

                    So, all that to say, I can only ASSUME that dropping to a 1 night stay or a 2 night stay would be a bad idea.   Am I going to try it, like I did so many other things? mmm... I'm gonna assume that we won't be making that change, so I'm gonna say I'm CERTAIN I'll keep ignoring that ranking metric!

                      • Re: Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong
                        margaret CommunityAmbassador

                        I was also very wary of allowing 2 night stays. My housekeeper asked me to try it explaining many other housekeepers she knew cleaned properties in our community that allowed 2 night bookings without issues. I was aware she need the extra work/$$$ and did not want to lose her to another owner so I decided to give it a try. She was right, a lot of golfers book for 2 nights, they usually come in late at night, golf all day the next day, eat out at a restaurant then leave the following morning. They spend very little time at my place. It has been a win/win for both my housekeeper and myself.

                    • Re: Why your minimum stay percentages on your owner dashboard are so wrong
                      homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                      Hello Everyone,

                       

                      We wanted to follow up on this thread and clear up any confusion/inaccuracies.

                       

                      1) What the OP is saying is inaccurate. Dateless search is not included in our minimum stay metric in Ranking Metrics. If someone does a dateless search as a traveler, someone with a 7 night min stay is just as eligible too.

                      2) What HomeAway is trying to highlight to you, with this metric, is that there are opportunities potential searches/bookings that you may be missing out on based off of your minimum stay setting.

                      3) We're sorry that you came to that conclusion yourself or you were misinformed in some way.

                       

                      The minimum stay metric is accurate.

                       

                      Thank you.

                       

                      Erinn

                      HomeAway Community Manager