22 Replies Latest reply: Dec 6, 2018 11:40 AM by homeaway_community_manager RSS

    Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?

    edapostle Contributor

      I call time and time again just to speak with someone in India that is simply reading off a cue card.....

       

      this months issues are they list my house as being 8.3 miles form a ski lift when in actuality it is 0.8 miles away. Homeaway puts this distance banner on the main search page which can be effecting peoples decision to even look at my property. I have called twice and even sent screen shots from google maps. They are COMPLETELY oblivious to my question and have told me to call google or they they are going to have their supervisor check with google. I sent the google image!!!!! They try and deflect syaing "oh, well we use google". When I responded that its .8 miles on google, in your car or walking they deflect to say " oh well, then Ill check with my supervisor". Funny though, when I asked to speak with that supervisor they JUST CHECKED WITH.... they were in a meeting. my pin is correct and my address is correct, homeaway for some reason places me 8 miles away when my house is literally inside the access road of the ski resort.

       

      Another issue is that while I'm fully booked when others have barley started, I have the most reviews, all 5 star reviews and wonderful complements in my reviews. im not a premier partner because my acceptance rate is below their metric. A metric that should have no bearing on whether or not I'm a premier partner. In the past I've canceled requests because people send me official requests rather than inquiry's by accident. In the past HOMEAWAY TOLD ME TO "JUST GO AHEAD AND CANCEL THEM".  Come to find out, that effects me negatively. Homeaway says " sorry, they shouldnt have said that". "Brittany" tells me that being a premier partner is about acceptance rates. I informed her that right on the pages of premier partners below their name and icon it states "Premier Partner- The owner or manager of this property consistently provides great experiences for their guests."


      So according to homeaway its about guest experience but according to "brittany" at homeaway support its about acceptance rates.


      When asked what to do when say a 19 year old books my house when it clearly states in my policies that you need to be 25 she says to have them cancel the reservation. My question to her was "what if they dont want to or they dont respond to my request?". Her response was .... "well then you get punished for it. " This has literally happened to me!!!! How is this fair!!!????


      My acceptance rate is 69% but im booked solid. When asked how im supposed to improve 100% booking she had no answer and simply continued to state that my acceptance rates needed to be higher.


      USELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



        • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
          margaret CommunityAmbassador

          Sorry you are having a tough time with CS. I don't have any suggestions for you issue with the distance from the ski list being incorrect except to try calling during business hour in Austin, Texas in the hopes of getting a CS rep that is in the U. S.

           

           

          The metrics do in fact have a bearing on being a PP. The metrics used to qualify for PP are-Bookings, Review Count, Review average, Acceptance Rate and Cancellation Rate.

          The note you see on the traveler side is for the travelers benefit.

           

          Do not cancel requests to book, this will not help you improve your acceptance rate. You can correspond with the guest during the 24 hour window to determine if they are a good fit for your home. If you are not going to want to book them (a 19 yr old or whatever) you can tell them to withdraw the request to avoid being charged or if you have already accepted you must tell them to cancel the reservation to receive a full refund. Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous but it is the way it must be done. The guest must initiate the cancellation or withdraw the request to avoid a ding in your metrics. Send the guest the following instructions to withdraw or cancel.

           

           

          cancellation process for travelers

           

          Log into your traveler account

          Click My Trips

          Select the reservation that needs to be cancelled

          Click Request Cancellation

           

           

          Withdraw request for travelers

           

          Go to My Trips in your traveler account.

          Select the booking request you want to withdraw.

          Click Manage your booking.

          Click Withdraw booking request.

          Choose the appropriate reason code for withdrawing the request.

          Click Submit.

            • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
              edapostle Contributor

              Why is that the way it "must" be done? Other than homeaway trying to force our hand to book every single request whether or not a good fit or within our policies? homeaway support made it very clear that its not their problem and they dont care. All they are concerned about is collecting as many service fees as possible.

               

              There are much better ways, easier ways, more friendly ways it can be done. Homeaway just chooses to abuse the homeowners for that $$$.

                • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                  It is the way it must be done because it is the way that is most beneficial to you. I agree that it is not ideal but if I list on HA/VRBO then I must work within the system they offer. I do not accept bookings that are not a good fit or that are not within my policies. You are correct, it is not their problem and they don't care if you don't like the system. HA is a business, they are not about caring they are about making money. I know it is hard to adjust when things change but it will benefit you to search through this forum to get some insight on how to manage your listings without compromising on you policies. 

                    • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                      edapostle Contributor

                      There is that phrase again....." that it is beneficial to me" ....... that's what support keeps saying when I can clearly show that it is in fact hurting me. " along with "yes sir I understand"..... when they definitely don't understand or care. "Were going to cut your legs off sir but its beneficial to you because now you dont have to buy shoes ever again!" Great benefit!

                        • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                          I mean it is beneficial to you since it will help improve your metrics. I would like to be able to cancel without penalty when I feel it is needed but that is no longer possible. If I want to list on HA and I want to succeed I must work within the system they offer. Like most owners, I wish it was still the old VRBO system but it is not so I work with what I have.

                          • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                            ambidextrous Active Contributor

                            Eda, I'm puzzled. You are booked 100% If it's through HomeAway exclusively, I'm not sure why you're here complaining.  But if you are booked through HA and through other sites, it may appear that you are collecting leads on HA and booking them off the platform. And whether you are doing that or not is not really the point -- the point is that you booking metric of 69% acceptance is below a threshold that HA wants to preserve. They want transactions, and do not want guests turned away. But seriously, if you are booked 100%, why oh why are you complaining about anything that HA is doing. Count your money.

                             

                            And to your other post about the physical location of the CS rep.... I have never asked a rep where they are from. If they can help me, they can help, whether they're in Austin or Mumbai. If they cannot, you ask to escalate. But it's kinda disrespectful to suggest that someone is less that capable to help you based on their nationality.

                              • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                edapostle Contributor

                                I have turned people away that dont meet my criteria which lowers my acceptance rating. People either dont respond fast enough to cancel or i have to cancel. If I was a premier member ( only being held back by acceptance rates) I would have access to information that would lower my cancellation rate.

                                  • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                    margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                    I truly do understand you are frustrated by the system and by my responses. I am only trying to help you understand how you can improve your acceptance rate without compromising your policies. The changes have been a struggle for everyone at one time or another but we have many here in this group who share information and ideas on how we can accomplish our goals within the HA system.

                                    • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                      ambidextrous Active Contributor

                                      edapostle wrote:

                                       

                                      I have turned people away that dont meet my criteria which lowers my acceptance rating. People either dont respond fast enough to cancel or i have to cancel. If I was a premier member ( only being held back by acceptance rates) I would have access to information that would lower my cancellation rate.

                                      You're sort of missing the point. First, this is not about you, it's about the customer experience, and people looking for a place to stay don't like to be kicked to the curb when they do not meet your criteria. (I'd love to learn why you decline so many people...)

                                       

                                      Customers want to make an offer and get a confirmed booking. When you decline someone, that customer is less inclined to book on HA and may go to AirBnB instead -- and we all lose. A decline rate of nearly a third of inquiries is really high. If I were you, I would make sure that your rules are clear so that under age guests do not even bother inquire.

                                       

                                      Bottom line is that there are rules that benefit Expedia and the guest. We need to play within those boundaries, and if you are outside, figure out how to say yes a little more frequently. If I were at 100% occupancy, my rates would be jacked up immediately -- weeding out the kids and improving your net income.

                                    • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                      edapostle Contributor

                                      Maybe my complaint seem petty to someone who has a harder time booking but someone who is only half booked and has 1/10 the number of 5 star reviews should not be a "premier partner" and get special badging over someone who has a proven quality product and service. Call me old fashioned. 

                                       

                                      Well, to be fair, no CS has ever helped me with a problem. They talk in circles until you hang up.

                                      • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                        edapostle Contributor

                                        What flavor kool-aid was it?

                                          • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                            ambidextrous Active Contributor

                                            edapostle wrote:

                                             

                                            What flavor kool-aid was it?

                                            Eda, you're great at making friends, I see. The Kool-Aid flavor is "Reality".

                                             

                                            HomeAway has changed, successful owners will adapt or go somewhere else. I sort of miss the days when I could buy an ad and pump my listing, but the fact is, for me, I have been able to raise my nightly rates and net more income than in the good old days.

                                             

                                            Frankly, I'm starting to have a hard time believing that you're fully booked and still complaining about how you're treated by customer service.

                                  • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                    edapostle Contributor

                                    Acceptance rate shouldn't even be a criteria. If you want to call someone a premier partner that insinuates they are the best. A high acceptance rate only shows the partner has no criteria or standards that need to be met. There is nothing premier about low standards.

                                      • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                        margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                        We have no say in what the criteria is for PP, that is for HA to decide. I will have to disagree with your statement "A high acceptance rate only shows the partner has no criteria or standards that need to be met. There is nothing premier about low standards." 
                                        A high acceptance rate can be achieved by doing as I suggested previously, without compromising any of your policies. Many of us here on this forum have a high acceptance rate that certainly doesn't mean we have no criteria or low standard.

                                        • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                          greggt Senior Contributor

                                          But being a Premier Partner has nothing to do with standards if you are a Large Property Manager. We still have properties on Panama City beach that are "Premier Partners" with lousy or in fact zero reviews.

                                            • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                              margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                              Agreed that is a problem. My understanding is that by Jan PP will be by each listing not by account so that should correct the PM issue.

                                              • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                                edapostle Contributor

                                                And that is very wrong. Homeaway is deceiving potential renters thinking they are protected and will be getting a quality product when they may not.

                                                  • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                                    greggt Senior Contributor

                                                    I really disagree here, while I strongly feel Home Away has cheapened and pretty much completely missed the mark on the whole Premier Partner program by pretty much putting the badge up for sale. I think any potential renter has enough sense to look beyond the badge and make judgements based upon the listing itself by looking at the reviews, pictures, and descriptions.

                                                    I have not noticed an increase in bookings or inquiries since becoming a PP as I think most everyone except maybe HA feels this was a failed program. Guests are not dumb, they look what you have to offer. If you have 40 Five Star reviews, recent pictures, a good description of what you offer they are not going to choose a different property with zero reviews or maybe 6 three star reviews over yours even if the are a PP property.

                                                • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                                  ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                                  edapostle, I'm going to assume by this statement, "A high acceptance rate only shows the partner has no criteria or standards that need to be met. There is nothing premier about low standards,"  that you are just frustrated and venting out your frustrations.  I'm sure you did not mean to insult the many PP's on this platform, myself included.  And fortunately I'm not one to get easily offended, so I will take it as I am assuming it was written, out of frustration.  


                                                  That being said, this isn't Twitter, or Facebook.  This forum operates as a very well run community.  We exchange ideas, we help each other, we vent when necessary, or sometimes just because we feel the need to.   I've certainly done my share of venting, including on the very subject of letting Property Managers have their entire portfolio as  a PP, when half their properties might be junk.  Fortunately enough of us complained about this that it is finally being fixed,  as greggt and margaret mentioned.   But what we DON'T do is make blanket comments such as the one above that kind of throws large groups of people under the bus, nor do start a multitude of threads making  blanket comments about homeaway support being absolutely useless, or make comments about where they are from, etc.  We've all had our share of frustrating calls, and when I am in a call that seems to be going nowhere I either ask to speak to someone else, pretend to be fine with the answer but call back and shop for someone more knowledgeable, or I just keep pushing the CS rep to stop a minute, stop reading from their screen, and really take the time to listen to the question and try to understand it. 


                                                  I don't think HA/VRBO is deliberately in the market of "deceiving potential renters..."  I think it was more that they didn't fully think thru ALL the possible scenarios of giving Property Managers PP status across all their portfolio.  They know now, because their owners told them (some of the very people on this forum, including me), and now they are working on putting the p oop back in the goose.  Or the cats back in the bag.  Whichever.


                                                  My point is, many on this forum love to help, myself included.  And we'd be happy to help you with anything we can.   But if you've ever been on a forum that's nothing but a giant B&!%^ fest it's no fun, and it chases people away pretty quickly.  That's not the forum homeaway_community_manager cultivates here, and for that we are all very thankful. 

                                                  • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                    I am a PP with 100% acceptance among my 3 properties. I happen to think it is not because my "standards are low". Maybe I am just lucky.. or my house rules are very clear, and restated in so many places in my listings that last time I had to decline someone ( was due to under age) was before  they started counting declines. One other time a gentleman was tying to book for way too many people and I asked him to cancel which he did.  Now I may have just jinxed myself but to get below 70% acceptance rating.. maybe there is something not clear in your listing description, rules or even rate settings that causes people to request to book and you to have to decline them. Just saying.

                                                • Re: Anyone else find homeaway support absolutely useless?
                                                  homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                                                  Hi edapostle,

                                                   

                                                  Our apologies for the way your call was handled today. We've escalated the case to our Resolutions team who will be reaching out to you. We've also reached out to the supervisor of the rep in question to review the call and coach accordingly. Thank you for letting us know.

                                                   

                                                  Erinn

                                                  HomeAway Community Manager