18 Replies Latest reply: May 18, 2019 7:55 PM by u0999 RSS

    VRBO Service now at $599!

    kmcbhense Contributor

      Just had a past guest call me. They were searching our rate quotes for a fall week. Rent is less than $4000 for the week, and the VRBO service fee was an additional $599! So that's a 15% surcharge, and for what? I can have a full service property management company that handles everything in a rental for that amount of money. Theres a reason why guests are leaving VRBO in droves.

        • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
          feibus Senior Contributor

          It's whatever the market will bear.  You wouldn't want anyone to tell you you couldn't charge more for something if someone was willing to pay more.

           

          If travelers want to use another platform to find their vacation homes, there are a lot of them out there... the question is whether owners are putting their vacation homes out there to be seen on those platforms.

            • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
              patpat Contributor

              feibus  I know I, as an owner, didn't want to use another platform other than vrbo/ha, but with seeing slow bookings, I went ahead and put one of my properties on another platform. The results have been unbelievable. Let me say that again...the results have been unbelievable! While vrbo/ha has many issues, there are many good things as well. Again, I did not want to use another platform!! I am not happy with multiple platforms, but getting more bookings so quickly from elsewhere makes me think I should start putting the other properties on others platforms as well, but I am hanging on hoping vrbo/ha gets their sh_t together and realizes that they have been losing market share so fast. And if it's a 15% traveler surcharge, that's turning travelers to other sites, that would tell me the market is not bearing that 15% surcharge. So the answer to your question will be that yes, owners will be putting their vacation homes out there to be seen on those platforms as I have had (had) to do.

                • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                  feibus Senior Contributor

                  Absolutely correct.  If you're not on more than one site, you're probably missing out on finding guests.

                   

                  Personally, I hate ABB, but I also find it useful for booking our slowest month of September, so I keep it turned on to book just openings within the next 60 days.  I also am on two resort-specific listing sites.  Vrbo still provides the bulk of the bookings in our market, but I've seen 25% of their bookings replaced (so far) by other sites.  Eventually that might turn out to be more as travelers get smarter and figure out they can search on the title of our listing to bring up our web site and just book direct.

                    • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                      patpat Contributor

                      I totally agree. I absolutely hate ABB too, but they have replaced 60% of the vrbo business for one property in a short amount of time. I would put the others on it as well, but I have a couple family members that suddenly came down with some serious health issues, so I'll need to divert my attention. More bookings aren't worth the hassle for me right now.

                  • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                    maybe somewhere someplace there exists a market where renter will pay $599 and not blink. But that is not my market. heck we get people arguing over $130 cleaning fee. We get renters that make decisions on which property to rent based on $10 per night rent difference. I posted a thread recently how VRBO managed to go from 85% of my bookings in 2015 to less than 30% in 2019. On the flip side, I am starting to get calls via my Google My business listings. #bookdirect

                      • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                        feibus Senior Contributor

                        That's $600 on a $4000 stay.  My market, normal stay is about $1000-1200.  I suspect from what you've said, your market is also not $4000 for a normal stay.  So not as big an issue to me or my guests.

                          • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                            u0999 Premier Contributor

                            I do get a few stays close to that amount for my new place (Thanksgiving, Christmas). And guess what - half of such are booked DIRECT. regardless of the final $$$ total, 15% is over the top to pay for anyone. At this point I view verboh  with "whatever" attitude. Don't get me wrong, I am spending my efforts on marketing elsewhere. But I no longer fret (and haven't for a long time) about mythical "search position", ranks, and other things verboh does to dashboard , MM, any "features" / glitches etc. I just figure out how to work with/around the glitches if they happen. Basically like having an old car, at some point you decide: I'll drive it while it runs until breaks down and stops, but until then I will not fret over every squeak and leak and non functioning windows motor; I will not put anything more than a quart of oil into it every now and then. I will not put any money or effort into fixing it and I will just junk it if it stops running.

                      • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                        green_mango Active Contributor

                        Ouch!  That's jumped up from $499....  I ran a quote through mine too and also got $599.   All that does is make guests more motivated to #bookdirect - $599 is nearly two free nights they can add to their vacation

                        • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                          susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                          On the plus side, they called you. #book direct. Vrbo help with guests for 1st time rental, at least to have guests think they are working with a big company that will protect them if need be.. For us lucky enough to have repeat guests, after first stay, guests know you and your place are legit so they don't need Vrbo assurance.

                          • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                            captmarkhd Senior Contributor

                            I have noticed a big up tick as well in travelers fees. I had a quote for about $2,300 for the rental, HA charged them $259 as a booking fee, ouch in the past the same booking would have been $169.00

                            • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                              johnz Contributor

                              Because of the continued increase of the service fee, I am having my best BookDirect year ever! I had a choice to make, either lower my rates to eat some of the cost of the increased service fees or independently advertise my property. I choose to advertise my own property, currently running google ads, posting in many facebook groups, etc. VRBO's service fee revenues from my properties will be much less than what they received last year! Their increased service fees percentages led to a decrease in total revenue for the year! Since the service fees are so high now, I am considering raising my direct booking rates so I get more money in my pockets from those bookings!

                                • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                                  patpat Contributor

                                  Well there you have it HA/verrbo! "Way to go"!! Are you listening now? So sad that you not only upset the O in VRBO, but you have to find a way to turn away y(our) guests.

                                  • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                                    ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                                    My larger home is booking this year with lots of repeat guests calling direct and not going through VRBO.  New guests are being turned off by the high price service fee, which is fast approaching two nights lodging.  Why give up two nights of your vacation for a service fee that has no "service" attached?

                                    • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                                      green_mango Active Contributor

                                      Yep!  This reminds me - whenever a guest books directly with me, I run the numbers on both Airbnb/VRBO and let the guest know approximately how much they're saving by #bookdirect.  Now, it looks like they'll be saving even more and my own website looks like an even better deal

                                        • Re: VRBO Service now at $599!
                                          feibus Senior Contributor

                                          That's an interesting marketing concept: "Ask me how much you'll save in VRBO fees by booking directly with us!"

                                           

                                          I can see both sides of this one.  Not sure whether it's good or bad to do that when you consider the guest's behavior after that relative to the booking platforms.  Does it mean more business for "meh" PMs like Vacasa who have more choices online and can grab those guests another way by having enough product to go around?