13 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2019 2:08 PM by grant570 RSS

    Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.

    benburke Contributor

      Hey Community.  If anybody wants to give me some advice I'd welcome it.  I have three properties on VRBO and two of them confuse the heck out of me. 


      This property:  www.vrbo.com/1252781 does great.  It's running at about a 97% occupancy.  It's a fine little house, but there is nothing great about it.  The kitchen is small.  There is no pool.  Furniture is all average stuff, etc but it's always full.


      This property:  www.vrbo.com/1474519 is much nicer.  It's in the same neighborhood, has a great yard with a fire pit, outdoor furniture, pool, etc.  It has games, nice furniture, nice finishes, etc. The house was about $100,000 more expensive too.  This thing doesn't book.  I typically have it $30 more per night that the house above but I sometimes have dropped the price all the way down to $70 a night and I get nothing and in the meantime the other property which is not as nice rents quickly at $149. 


      The only thing I can think of is the time when they were posted.  The first property has been up for a little over a year.  The second one has been up for about four months.  Maybe VRBO changed the analytics of how new properties show up on the site and the second one is less visible?  I don't know.  I'm at a loss.


      Thanks for any pointers!     

        • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
          calicalling Active Contributor

          Lovely home and garden!


          Not an expert and I honestly think its a crapshoot/guessing game as to why some properties fail .... but I can give my suggestions on ways you might improve the new listing:


          Use some of your outdoor pics at the beginning of your reel. Maybe highlight a couple of indoor and outdoor pics at the beginning before you do the full house pics. The pool/outdoor living is a real selling feature so I'd want to bring travelers' attention to that. Your home is so synthesized and coherent in design that the pics all start to look like each other after a while (white everything with blue accents). I think breaking that up with some outdoor shots would benefit the listing.


          Try rewriting the copy or breaking it up into smaller, easier-to-scan pieces.  You probably already know that travelers don't read, they scan.  One super easy fix for your copy : Your first paragraph reads a lot like bullet points, so you could try breaking it up into actual bullets with headings. If you want to spend more energy, Guesthook and a few other services give free advice on their blogs that is helpful in writing copy. They will also write copy for you for a very low fee (I haven't used that but some Comm members have, maybe they'll chime in).


          Take time to respond to reviews. You have several reviews and no responses. Responding to reviews gives travelers a sense of who you are as an owner/manager and is well worth the time it takes to write a few lines of response, IMO.


          My opinion (and I do understand why you choose it) but a no refunds with cancelation policy would kill my business. It might work for an established property in some markets but if you're trying to build business with a floundering listing, a more lenient cancel option would help (IMO). I only use a restrictive policy like yours on Airbnb, where I only take last minute reservations.


          Hope that helps.

          • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
            u0999 Premier Contributor

            You are not alone, I am in same predicament. The specified item was not found.

            • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
              ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

              Love the area; we go to Scottsdale several times a year.


              Your pictures are very professional, but I cannot see what the house looks like due to the lighting used; very austere.  I would like to be able to discern the size of the rooms. Important would be clear shots of the master suite, the kitchen layout, and the best view of the backyard to include the pool and dining, 


              Best wishes for more guests!

              • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
                ohst8er Premier Contributor

                benburke, I have no idea how many people use filters when they do a search but... 


                When I search for this listing  https://www.vrbo.com/1474519


                and click on this filter

                Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 8.43.50 PM.png


                you disappear....


                I've also tried searching with filters for your other property and cannot find it.  I was trying to ferret out which filter i clicked that caused that listing to drop off, but it's 9pm and I gotta get my son off to bed, so I had to click off.  I would suggest doing a search of your area using filters.  Search for the exact number of bedrooms (gives you less listings to sort thru), then click ALL the filters that apply to your listing and see if you can find yourself (be sure to click that pesky, properties are good for for families).  If you cannot find yourself, that means either your guests have not mentioned how good you are for families (and I think u0999 can tell you how frustrating THAT is), OR there is an option you have not selected on the owner's side. 


                The filters do change from time to time, so I would make sure you have all the hot buttons clicked on the owner's side,t hen search for your listing via filters.  Sometimes it takes a process of elimination to determine which one is making you fall off the radar.


                ALSO.... the more booked your calendar is, the less you show up in searches when travelers use dates.  The less you show up in searches, the "less popular" the algorithms deem you to be.  The less popular you are, the less you show up in searches, etc.   Go back to your listings, take a good hard look at them... are your pictures good?  Do you have a good "lead" picture (your thumbnail).  Does your description and photos make someone want to stay at your place vs your competition?  Did you tell your future guests all the amazing things about your location?  (things to do).  Once you have done all that, email your listing to your friends and family, post it on FB, etc and ask everyone to click on it from all their devices and look at it.  Explain to them that the clicks equate to likes which drives "popularity" in the algorithms.  I just encouraged a friend to do this because her calendar was full Jan-March, and completely empty for summer.  My condo is right behind hers and my calendar was softer for winter, but is almost sold out for peak season.  After she did these things she got quite a few inquiries and so far one has resulted in a booking.  It NEVER hurts. 

                • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
                  dinamight Contributor

                  I tried the Family filter as well and the same thing happened - your second property disappeared (I didn't check the first one).

                  Not sure why, it says Children Welcome and Children Allowed. Perhaps call HA about this?


                  Also, I would swap that first photo of a table tennis table for one more appealing, e.g. the outdoor furniture.

                  • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
                    benburke Contributor

                    Thanks for the help.  I'm trying to figure out the family filter now.  That's a good one. 

                    • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
                      georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                      I think two things might help:

                      1. Improve the photos, and re-arrange them also. Agree with comments above about showing better outdoor features for lead photo and rotations. Also important to group gatherings is a fabulous cooking area and kitchen, and a den large enough to gather. I dont think these important features are rotating through photos quickly enough and with punch quaility.  ( I also suggested that u0999 rearrange photos but I dont think my advice was acted upon. ).

                      2. Fix your headline. Current headline could have more pizazz, ...it lacks a punch, has spacing issues, and also has a spelling error: ( fit pit )

                      "Home with large private yard+ pool, BBQ, and fit pit"

                      Perhaps somethng like:      Private POOL Oasis | Cook's Delight-Family Fun | Near OldTown

                      • Re: Need help from the experts. Good house performs horribly. Average house performs great.
                        grant570 Active Contributor

                        As a renter, the first things I notice is the 1252781 one has 1 more bedroom and 1 more bath than 1474519.  Also, 1474519 has a pool which although will be an attraction for some it will chase some away..They show as different areas, one is Papago Paradise and the other is Village Grove which may matter if people filter to that level.. If I filter for 4 bedrooms in your location, your 4br is the cheapest 4br in Papago Paradise and only the 4th from cheapest for an all of Scottsdale 4BR search.It even shows up on the 1st page under a 3BR search for Scottsdale sorted by price..  I would say 1252781, just has an advantage in being found by a renter due to the combination of 4 bedrooms and lower price where the 3 bedroom is less likely to be singled out by someone filtering.  So unless you close in the carport for a 4th bedroom on 1474519 the difference in demand will probably be difficult to change.