19 Replies Latest reply: May 23, 2019 4:28 PM by hmmmm RSS

    How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback

    hmmmm Senior Contributor

      I would love to hear some feedback from everyone, but especially, old timers who have resisted the changes then decided to use Instant booking.


      I really have a lot of fear and resistance, I like control.

        • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
          treeguy Contributor

          At first I resisted because like you I did not want to relinquish control.  I switched to IB a couple years back.  My bookings did increase and my workload decreased.  Other than one quest who apparently did not read the house rules or see that we do not allow pets, I have not had any issues.

          • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
            bonesxxx Contributor

            I gave in... I still get about 50% normal bookings.  Here is the template I created to send to all instant book reservations:

             

            Dear Guest_Name,


            Thank you for booking my property using Instant Book.

             

            While I like to offer this feature to my clients for ease of booking, I also find that excellent communication is the key to a mutually enjoyable experience.  The better the communication, the better the experience.

             

            This note is just to clarify that the number of people in your reservation is accurate and that there won't be any other people spending the night at the cabin (yes, I've had people reserve for 2 and show up with 6).  Also I wanted to confirm that your reservation does not include any pets (again, yes, I have had people reserve for 2 people and show up with 2 huge German Shepherds).

             

            I hate to have to bother with this but, as you can see from my short tales above (and I could regale you for hours with others), it's in both of our best interests to ensure no miscommunication.

             

            I appreciate your understanding.

             

            Kindly,

             

             

            Owner_Name

            • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
              margaret CommunityAmbassador

              I am not sure you would consider me an old timer, I have been in business almost 10 year with 2 properties. I was very resistant to use IB but eventually decided to try it after a conversation here in this group with another member who gave me some reassurance. Although I have IB activated it is not often that my guests use that option. The majority of my guests inquire first. I don't feel there is much difference between IB and 24 hr R2B. Prior to activating IB: Check that your settings correctly reflect how close in you are willing to accept bookings, check that your house rules clearly state that you require a signed RA and anything/everything else that you want the guest to be aware of before booking.  When you receive an IB, call or email to go over the rules and expectations with the guest, at this time you can get a feel for the guest.

               


              • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                u0999 Premier Contributor

                define old-timers? 20 years or more retning?

                I am renting on my own since 2015.

                 

                Lately 95% of bookings (I am assuming we are taking about vrbo) are IBs. people either book or they don;t.

                I rarely get inquiries anymore, and when I do, they usually do not convert.

                  • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                    scowol Active Contributor

                    u0999  I think that you are commingling an Inquiry into the poster's question.

                     

                    • Owners who are on IB have an Inquiry option.
                    • Owners who are on 24-hour have an Inquiry option.

                     

                    I'm on 24-hour, but also get 95% of my bookings without a prior inquiry.  So an owner that is either on IB or 24-hour review can have the same booking metrics.  An inquiry is not an option to opt in or out of as HA provides that for both booking methods offered.

                      • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                        u0999 Premier Contributor

                        All I am saying that since IB was rolled out, I get no more inquiries(almost), regardless whether it is 24 hr or actual IB ( tried both ways) . I think it has to do with vrbo making "inquire" button more obscure/harder to find for the guest and that happened concurrently with all-out push for IB. So guests either take a plunge and "request booking" (whether instant or 24 hr) OR they don't contact me (the owner) at all. And those few who do contact me, usually don't book.

                    • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                      green_mango Active Contributor

                      I'm not an "old timer" but I've been around long enough to still have Alternative Payments - once I renew in December I will switch to the in-house payments and enable Instant Booking (I would enable it now, but it's not compatible with APs).  I accept all my 24 hour review booking requests, so shouldn't be too different for me.  I use it on Airbnb and like it - those guests are ready to roll and aren't hemming and hawing about where to book.  Guests like it.

                      • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                        scowol Active Contributor

                        I've been renting out two homes for 11 years.  I have never been on IB, so I appreciate your question as I'd like to hear from other to understand the benefit of doing so.

                         

                        I'm on 24-hour acceptance, and am a PP and my market ranking continues to increase/hold steady very high. So I am not seeing any disadvantage in my ranking or bookings.

                         

                        If the benefit is to not have to click a button to "Accept" a booking request, then I will pass. I need to send an RA via SignNow anyhow.   With IB, my concern is the perception that it's "book-it and forget-it."  With 24-hour acceptance, the guest is anticipating an email from me within 24 hours to learn if I accepted and get more information. 


                        For me, the benefit of 24-hour is that if the guest is not a good fit (e.g., planning to have a bachelor party), I can tell the guest to withdraw the booking--which simply voids the booking and the credit card is never charged. With IB, the guest's credit card is charged, but then they have to request a cancellation, and then wait for funds to be credited back days later.

                         

                        IB stats.PNG

                        • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                          feibus CommunityAmbassador

                          I have two homes, resisted doing it because it would mess with my process, then decided to try it on ONE home as an A/B test to see which would book better.

                           

                          It did help with booking.  I was also able to get rid of my "cleaning is waived on stays of 7+ nights", because people were booking without asking for a quote without the cleaning fee.  So it didn't matter to them and now I pocket more money.

                           

                          After 4 months, I changed the other one over.  I had enough experience at that point to know how to handle it.

                           

                          The big issue for me at this point with IB vs 24-hour is that we have no control over the IB email template while we have an email template for the 24-hour booking acceptance.  So I have to send out a second email after the IB happens that has my booking form and other information that the guest needs to know to complete their booking.  Not great, but we work with what we have.

                          • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                            koko Contributor

                            I was somewhat forced into the Instant Booking because after this year's renewal VRBO had not managed to create a single lead and now 2 came from IB (the version of 7days to 6 months)

                            On Booking I have the same deal and there I had so far 3 IB's which were all very good.

                            I cannot tell you if there is a difference in traveler attitude since I seem to attract a certain clientele based on property type and location and size and therefore it seemed to me more like another tool which could be more positive than negative in the booking scheme.

                            My only gripe with IB is that you have to manually block the check out day to be able to clean if you do not want to turn around in 4 hours for the next one.

                            So after 22 years of renting I am a neutral user who knows that I can turn it off at any time. I would say try it and if you don;t like it turn it off.

                            • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                              kiawahbill Contributor

                              We've listed on VRBO since 2005, switched to IB in January of '17.  The short answer is IB has been great.  Set revenue records in 17 & 18.  On pace to it again in '19.  This is a no brainer.

                              • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                                ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                                We are removing our larger property from the HA/VRBO listing.  However, we will continue to list our smaller property, and will take it to IB instead of 24 hour on a test basis.  A review of the type of guest we have attracted with BIN and 24 demonstrates that at least for this smaller property, IB may be fine.

                                 

                                I would never, ever do IB with my larger property, which is our family/personal vacation home.  We began renting when HA was simply an advertising site.  The changes that HA has made to it's business model, especially BIN and IB with no guest contact or payment information, has caused us to attract persons who want to party/over occupancy; snowbirds who want to have a revolving door of additional guests during their extended stay and folks who think we are a hotel and treat our property accordingly.  When we were able to talk to and vet a guest prior to accepting the rental, we had better quality guests and we met or exceeded their expectations.  I also cannot continue to let Yapstone or HomeAway have control of or access to the income that our larger property generates as there is no payment protection from either company for the homeowner.

                                • Re: How many "old timers" are using Instant booking?  Would love to hear your feedback
                                  linky17 Active Contributor

                                  Two homes, but with decidedly different locations + pricing; I've been a VRBO -- now Vrbo -- subscriber since 2011.  (Property #2 is Jersey Shore/currently archived as it is booked by repeat Guests.)

                                   

                                  Property #1 (the first listed) is in the mid-West, a year-round destination for NFL, MLB, weddings, arts + culture, et cetera.  Although Vrbo claims (via "Metrics") that regional listings here are in excess of 730, that's not the case > appropriate map 'pins' yield roughly 150 LIVE properties.  So, any IB-activated promise of elevation in rank is a non-benefit for me: PP, stellar reviews, great location. Transitioned to OLB just a year ago ... although I was always OLB, but via PayPal versus Yapstone.  Like feibus mentioned/relative to IB: I had a fine-tuned, non-invasive (to Guest/Vrbo spam) "process" in place.  Why mess with that?  

                                   

                                  All of this to say that I DID activate IB less than two weeks ago: Mine is at a higher end of this market's pricing/amenities spectrum, full payment is due up-front, with a "no refunds policy."   Turned it OFF five days later: I welcome single-nights + do get plenty, but also require ("House Rules") that "Friday or Saturday arrivals require a two-night minimum stay."  Both of the two IBs that landed = got through while I had IB engaged were for single-night Saturdays, and both wanted way early check-in and late check-out.  (Another post for another time.  Both IBs are now two-night-stayers.)

                                   

                                  Were IB able to enforce this House Rule nuance of mine?  I'd still have IB, especially since I/we have learned that the Vrbo app -- with its default "pre-approval" -- is not an optimum way for us to respond instantly.  Again: my listing is not lost in this small, mid-West pond of Vrbo listings.  If you have no nuanced needs in terms of minimum stay?  And, if you could use a push up (versus a "Boost") the visibility ladder in terms of the promise associated with IB?  Do it.  You can always* turn it off.  (*As of this moment.)

                                   

                                  Best wishes.  Report back.