48 Replies Latest reply: Oct 11, 2019 1:42 PM by scowol RSS

    Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?

    3seasbeach Contributor

      Looks like VRBO no longer allows us to see details of past reviews by travelers and owners.  When viewing a reservation, you can see that there are reviews and star ratings, but I can no longer click on that information for the details, nor can I click and see the owners profile info that is available.  I am wondering if this is a bug or the new norm?img12.jpg

        • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
          1500main Contributor

          mine as well.

          I first noticed this yesterday when someone made a booking reservation with NO NAME

          I approved it for other reasons figuring it was a glitch, but when I went to their message, they had NO NAME and I could not click on the "1 Property Review"

          Clicked Edit Booking and I could see their address, nothing in the FIRST NAME, LAST NAME fields.

           

          Called CS and asked about this, was told it was because this was "a very old account"

          Then I asked about why I could not click on the "Property Review" link and they said "Oh that's probably because that property is no longer listed"

           

          Never bothered to look at the other Guest info, so what CS told me was BS.

          • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
            feibus Senior Contributor

            Yeah, not happy about this.  For amazing customer service, having those reviews told us where guests might get picky on us.  Not having it means we don't have that little extra info to delight the guest.

             

            Bad choice, Vrbo.  Please allow us to see those reviews.  Oh, and if the owner responded to those reviews, would be good to see those as well, since they're instructive for other owners as well.

            • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
              ha-moderator-annalisa HomeAway Employee

              Hello 3seasbeach, I can understand your frustration on this issue. This is a change that was recently implemented. If available, you will still be able to view the Traveler's photo, average rating, recommended by partner, and verified ID.

                • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                  bonesxxx Active Contributor

                  Was this recently implemented change run by any of the owner groups first?

                   

                  My guess is that it was not because I can't see any owner group saying this is a good idea.

                   

                  And, if you are not getting owner feedback before making such changes, that's not good -- for either of us.

                    • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                      scottr Active Contributor

                      Probably wasn't run by owners, but I'm guessing Vrbo got complaints from guests (their primary revenue source), that owners wouldn't rent to them because they had bad reviews, or had submitted poor reviews to owners.  Vrbo decided to hide poor guest behavior, so that it wouldn't impact their service fee.  Problem guests are just passed to the next owner.   Poor guest behavior is a trend that I have observed, and was more pronounced this year.  It may be because I'm getting older, but I gave two 1 star guest reviews this year. 

                    • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                      samincal New Member

                      Well moderator annalisa ha-moderator-annalisa

                      I'm outraged!

                      Can you provide a rationale for this decision, honestly? 

                      What does a renter have to hide in letting prospective owners know how they treat previous owners?  Their past reviews are the best reflections of that treatment.  Are they fair, overly judgmental, entitled?  Giving a poor review if all other renters give 5 star says something about the renter.  Giving a poor review along with many others tells us they have good judgement; it makes you want to show them how good a rental experience can be.  Why shouldn't a renter be fully transparent?  We as owners are certainly required to be.  It HAS to work both ways!  HomeAway/ Vacation Rentals BY OWNER has, and continues to, REPEATEDLY chip away at the ability of owners to vet prospective renters. You say what will remain are: 1) photo -- what is that suppose to tell us (age, race/ethnicity)? Those criteria should NOT be used. 2) Number of stars? All owners know this is virtually meaningless. 3) Recommended by partner??? What if they never stayed at a partner house. Anyway, even less informative than star rating. 4) verified - what?? HA/VRBO can't even properly verify the email address!

                       

                      Just another straw on the proverbial camel's back.  I hate to break it to you, but YOUR clients are the RENTERS and OWNERS.  Why, just why, can't you ask owners, FOR ONCE, what they need?

                      • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                        scowol Active Contributor

                        As feibus stated, I use the prior guest reviews to understand when I have a guest who commented on likes and dislikes with their prior stay so that I can meet their likes and also prepare/mitigate their dislikes.


                        This is really, really disappointing as it's a move toward less transparency and keeping information from owners.  There was a rationale to be transparent with this for years, so there must be a rationale for now deciding to hide it?

                        • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                          sfbritt New Member

                          This is a very disturbing change. I use a guest's past reviews to determine if they are realistic or if they are incredible nit-pickers. This is yet another bad decision that my husband and I are weighing as we decide if we're going to keep our place listed on VRBO.

                          • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                            3seasbeach Contributor

                            ha-moderator-annalisa But why?  What is the rational behind this decision?

                            • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                              johnz Contributor

                              As a so called 'partner' we have the right to see past reviews that renters have given. It improves our level of service when we know that the incoming renter had previous complaints about XYZ, so we can stress to our cleaners to make XYZ is properly cleaned. On the other hand. some renters try to extort refunds from owners with the threat of a poor review. You can usually tell this is the case by the review written.

                               

                              I have a future renter that rated another property a 3. They complained about dust underneath beds/couches. I will make sure my cleaners double check that there is no dust underneath the beds/couches as a result of reading her review. Although I think the review was harsh, it wasn't bad enough for me to consider not renting to her because of it. I have had a couple of renters like this in the past that left me 5 star reviews after staying in my properties.

                              • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                                this move seems to work against the legitimacy of the review system.

                                I dont understand why an owner should bother to review a guest, if we cant get information about their behaviors in order to protect our property.

                                • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                  pedrito New Member

                                  Just piping in to say I  HATE this, and the fact that VRBO (Expedia/HomeAway/whoever the heck you guys are now) just quietly (sneakily) takes almost everything else useful away from us.

                                   

                                  PLEASE STOP!!!  Or at least notify/ask us, the owners (we're your "customers", too, remember???), before making these godawful changes.

                                   

                                  Like the others here, I used this information to help vet guests, mostly because you have already removed almost every other tool I used to be able to use.

                                   

                                  Anyway, after close to 20 years here on VRBO, I already know what to expect from you.......

                                  • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                    casitacynthiasantafe Contributor

                                    Why was this change made? As did others here, I used these past reviews to see if the traveller had particular problems in the past that I could be sure not to repeat. This was useful information. HomeAway touts a lot of "metrics" that I really don't find useful at all (such as the "opportunity" suggestions to raise or lower rates for a particular time period by a few dollars). But access to prior reviews was truly useful.

                                    • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                      pedrito New Member

                                      Can we get a more helpful answer, please?

                                       

                                      NONE of my guests have ever had photos on their inquiries or booking requests; the ratings have all been 5 or none at all; the "recommended by" partners are YOU guys; and the "verified by" just means they entered a functioning email address (no actual verification of name/age/planet/anything remotely useful).

                                       

                                      This IS frustrating.  After 18 years, I am used to you all pulling stuff like this but at least tell us why.

                                      • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                        martyp Contributor

                                        Annalisa,

                                         

                                        Several members of this group have asked you for the reason of this change.  Could you please respond?

                                      • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                        hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                        I have not been able to see them for ages.

                                        • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                          moosebigd Active Contributor

                                          I noticed that this feature disappeared a few days ago.  By not allowing us to see this information about potential guests, it sure does increase our risk for accepting potentially undesirable guests into our homes.  It was the first step of my vetting process.   Why have us provide guest reviews if no one else has access to them?

                                          • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                            scowol Active Contributor

                                            So... with this change, why do they even bother showing an icon that the traveler has written XX property reviews at all now?   The traveler could have written "5 property reviews" or 5,000 and it won't matter.  I would suggest just removing this now useless piece of information/icon.

                                            • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                              linky17 Active Contributor

                                              So many salient points made here.  Thanks to all.  Especially to 3seasbeach.

                                               

                                              Three Questions > intended for the Vrbo Mod Posse: 1) "Why?" + 2) "WHY the secrecy?" + 3) "When will this be corrected?"

                                               

                                              Bonus Question > for those who pay this platform so to supply its inventory/reason for being/earnings: "What constitutes the value of 'PP' status to you absent access to prospective Guests' 'history?'"

                                               

                                              Heck ~ I can't even tap into this info for a recent Guest who left a five-star review.

                                              • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                sfbritt New Member

                                                It's disappointing that this thread is marked "assumed answered" when there's been no info provided, other than "we made this change recently." No reason, no rationale, no explanation. Just...it's gone, suckers.

                                                • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                  samincal New Member

                                                  The action of concealing something, i.e., other reviews, suggests there is something to hide.  What is it that should be hidden from owners and why?  There is no discrimination aspect, which is the only thing that make sense.  At the end of the day, transparency is a good policy and I can not even think of an example of when it is not.  And why the radio silence from moderator(s)?

                                                  • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                    timthek Active Contributor

                                                    Why are you guys asking "why" VRBO made this change? The answer is clear and obvious....and is the same reason for most of their stupid changes. They believe it will get them more bookings. Period. More bookings = more money in their shortsighted view of the world. In their minds, if we can see the guest's past reviews, and they aren't sparkling....we might decline them...and then VRBO would lose a booking ($$$). So to get more bookings, they hide the guest's reviews. They don't care if this guest is lousy and trashes you or your house. They will make their $327 service fee. They don't seem to comprehend that the long-term result will be that owners will dump their platform for one that doesn't value dollars today over all else.

                                                      • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                        sfbritt New Member

                                                        Good morning, Pedrito! I've got my place on both VRBO and Airbnb, as a whole-house rental. Airbnb does vacation rentals of whole homes as well as by the room or by the couch. Just thought I'd mention that in case you weren't aware. (For the record, I've got my quibbles with both platforms, but I'm watching VRBO's share of my business shrink each quarter. My husband and I are thinking about canceling our VRBO listing when it expires next year.)

                                                          • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                            casitacynthiasantafe Contributor

                                                            Thanks for posting this info, sfbritt. I, too, have held off listing on Airbnb, but the continued insults from HomeAway are pushing me in that direction.

                                                              • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                sfbritt New Member

                                                                Good morning, Cynthia! The disappearance of the reviews will likely be the last straw for us. We've had our place listed on both VRBO and Airbnb since June 2017 (when we bought our place), and neither one is perfect -- not by a long shot. But what we've found is that while the ground rules have remained fairly consistent on Airbnb, VRBO keeps changing MAJOR things with little or no notice or input.

                                                                 

                                                                Important to note, in light of the Yaptone payment kerfuffle: Airbnb disburses funds the day after the guest checks in. I'm used to it on that platform since that's what we started with. Also important to note: Airbnb doesn't collect the security deposit, if there is one, unless the owner claims damage. So guests have a smaller outlay to make their reservation on that platform (they agree in the booking process to pay for damage if it occurs, up to whatever dollar figure the owner has set).

                                                                  • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                    pedrito New Member

                                                                    The fund disbursement thing is quite possibly the only thing keeping me from Airbnb for now.  And I totally expect that will change in the near future.

                                                                      • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                        sfbritt New Member

                                                                        I hope it does. It would make our decision a slam dunk.

                                                                        • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                          bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                                          I honestly don't understand why people place such high value on advanced payments.  I appreciate it but I don't need it.  In fact, I don't book the revenue until the stay occurs regardless.  To me that's when the service is offered and used -- not when the reservation is made.

                                                                           

                                                                          What if, for example, my cabin was inaccessible due to fire or something?  I'd have to refund a bunch of money I'd already spent?  No thanks.  It doesn't exist for me until the stay is complete. 

                                                                           

                                                                          Seems a silly reason not to increase your bookings and online presence by 100%.  ABB is eating VRBOs lunch and you are missing out on the action.

                                                                            • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                              linky17 Active Contributor

                                                                              (Shoulder tap x 4 … ~ Seems to me that your observation is worthy of its own post?  There have been other threads that have touched on this topic, but not -- IMO -- in any detail after the Yapstone versus HA 'processing' switch.)

                                                                                • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                  bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                                                  I think you are correct in that it has come up but been interwoven with other topics over the past few months - especially during the Crapstone fiasco.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  As u0999 mentions below,... that's the other side of the coin.  And it's a fair point.  Not enough of a point IMHO to NOT list with ABB... I'll take the 15-20 bookings I get with them in trade for the occasional bad actor from their CS team.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  My fear is that we will give ammo to VRBO/HA to do away with advanced payments by talking about it... so shhhhhhh

                                                                                    • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                      wildiris Active Contributor

                                                                                      Oh, I think HomeAway is planning to do away with "Advanced Payments " that are free of charge.  They just aren't announcing it yet.  They want to get as many people switched from Yapstone to the new HomeAway Payments system as fast as they can.  Every change that Homeaway has made in recent years is following something that AirBnB does.  Why should "Advanced Payments" at no charge be any different?  Mark my words - HomeAway will start charging extra for "Advanced Payments" just as Yapstone and AirBnB do now. 

                                                                                  • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                    I think I have stated many times before. Unlike some, for me delayed payments are not an issue with cash flow.  Although a case can be made that my taxes can be due and the stay would not have been paid yet under delayed payments. My beef with it is giving even MORE control to an OTA over the money that is not theirs, and thus also making it easier for OTA to decide to refund some renter 2 days prior to beginning of their stay because they call in with some "extenuating circumstance" like their great uncle died for the 5th time in this calendar year and thus they need to cancel.  so , to answer your question, I do not place "high value" on advanced payments. I place high value on my ability to control MY money, MY cancellation policies and generally MY ability to run MY business.

                                                                                    • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                      scowol Active Contributor

                                                                                      bonesxxx wrote:

                                                                                       

                                                                                      I honestly don't understand why people place such high value on advanced payments.

                                                                                      I believe from reading the posts of others when the Advanced Payments debacle ensued, it is going to create a financial hardship for them to suddenly not get the cash flow.   Many owners take bookings months and a year in advance.   Previously, they would get that revenue at the time of booking, and then X days before check-in.  So over time, they have been counting on a steady source of revenue  So it's the transitional timeframe that can be a significant financial hardship when they historically could count on the revenue for a booking months or years in advance.  Many owners were not prepared for this financially. 

                                                                              • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                pedrito New Member

                                                                                Good morning, sfbritt!  I knew Airbnb also did whole-house rentals.  Airbnb has made their name as big as, if not bigger than HA/VRBO, so I have actually been considering jumping over.  It might make sense, seeing as the old VRBO model is fading away and the Airbnb model is what all the sites seem to be aiming for.  For now, it's still hard to do.  My business hasn't really slowed (yet), it's just the quality of the service and guests that VRBO provides that is rapidly declining.

                                                                                • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                  u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                  It does. But Airbnb is even cr@ppier than vrbo. They will refund YOUR money past no-refund date because renter will call them and claim "extenuating circumstances" such as their 4th cousin's 3rd ex-wife's uncle died and they have to attend a wake in Antarctica.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  It used to be companies competed on who treated people better. Now they are one-upping each other in who treats people worse.

                                                                                    • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                      pedrito New Member

                                                                                      LOL!!!!  I just had my last post removed by HA for being "offensive".  I had used stars to censor myself from using the exact word you've used.  Anyway, it just poofed like the past traveler review/ratings did.  Just like everything else we used to like about VRBO has done, too.

                                                                                       

                                                                                       

                                                                                      This post was "offensive" to HA (I've removed the offending censorship stars and replaced with "GREAT").  It was in response to timthek's comment above.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      "They don't have to comprehend because, in the long-term, their new customers will be ignorant of what this business used to be. They will blindly sign up and happily take whatever scraps HA/VRBO throws them.  Most of the rest of us will just be a bunch of old farts grumbling in the corner because this GREAT site is still the best option out there.  I would leave in a flash if there really was a non-AirBnB type of competitor site to go to.  One that actually does vacation (not room/couch) rentals and respected their so-called "premier partners" and listened to them and doesn't pull GREAT STUFF like this every other week.  Whoa!  Somebody must've spiked my coffee...."

                                                                                       

                                                                                      POOF!!

                                                                                        • Re: Traveler/Past Owner Reviews GONE?
                                                                                          u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                                          well, you may be partly right. I would like to say that the site ISN'T the "best option' anymore, it is just one among several almost equally mediocre options.The starry eyed newbies will swallow anything OTAs throw their way - you are right about that.   But, in a little longer run.. when economy turns (as it cyclically does) the newbies will be 1st out of business... With mostly seasoned owners remaining to weather the down turn. And OTAs will not have overabundant influx of agreeable newbies to replace the dwindling "inventory" supplied by old "farts". Also, money talks. People kept paying cable bills until alternatives emerged and now ppl are "cutting the cord" en masse. Same will happen here. Question is when.