34 Replies Latest reply: Feb 25, 2013 6:02 PM by mrdel RSS

    New Dashboard - Book it now?

    kiawahcottage Community All-Star

      Hi,

       

      Took a quick look, did you notice under settings there is an option to add a "book it now" button to your ad (checked by default).  Anybody planning to enable this "feature"? 

       

      Paul

        • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
          anja Senior Contributor

          I noticed this too yesterday when I was in my account to edit my rates.  The first thing I noticed was that the default setting was for "online booking button on my listing"   !!!!   and I was surprised to find that setting. 

           

          So, if people do not want travellers to be able  to "book their home" directly from their listing, then log into your accounts to change it to  "No 'book it' button on my listing". 

           

          I disabled the feature, right away.  I'm not in favor of automated online "reservations" for my home...it's not a hotel...and I don't want HA-VRBO to act like "Expedia" on my behalf.  Maybe others will like it...but this is my home and I'm not open to changing the way I handle accepting and rejecting inquiries.

           

          To be fair:  if you leave the "book it" feature as your default, the way that HA set it up, though, does give the owner 24 hours to accept or reject the booking.....and if the owner does neither of those things, if the owner just ignores the booking, for example, or doesn't check their emails for 24 hours, then the booking will automatically be cancelled "by the system"...and the traveller gets a notice....and no payment gets transacted..

           

          From inside our "setting" area, the button is clicked by default for: 

           

          • 24 hour review - Enable travelers to submit a paid reservation request from your listing. You have 24 hours to review and either accept or decline each request.

           

          It's all fine...as long as the system does not malfunction.

           

          So, change it if you don't want  this feature!

           

            • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
              crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

              Anja,  is there the ability to send your own contract if you sign up for pay now!?  I also use Right Signature during my booking process.

               

              Doug

                • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                  anja Senior Contributor

                  The process is via RM, so you use the system as you will...

                   

                  This is what I found, written by a HA guy, responding to another member's question (I found the thread in the RM Group)....

                   

                  QUOTE:

                  The new BookIt with 24 hour review is not a required feature.  Its designed for those owners who are interested in receiving online bookings with a 24 hour review.

                  As an owner you can choose how you want to receive inquiries and reservations, all for free with your listing:

                  --->  Email and phone inquiries only

                  ---> Owners recieve inquiries and request payment

                  ---> Online Payments - After receiving an inquiry, owners  can easily schedule and send secure online payment requests through ReservationManager

                   

                  ---> BookIt with 24 hour review - Guests can view availability, click the "Book It" button, get a quote, review and agree to the rental agreement, and put down an authorized credit card.  Owners  receive a Reservation Request and have 24 hours to accept or decline the booking.  The guest credit card is only charged when the owner accepts.

                   

                  With any of these options including the Bookit feature, you still control your calendar and can always reserve or block out dates as needed.  Guests will not be able to request dates that are reserved or blocked on your calendar.

                  UNQUOTE

                • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                  crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                  Paul, thank you for catching this:

                   

                  I just went through the process and found these areas of concern:

                  1. There is nowhere to put cleaning services. So you could either blend that service into your rate or what I did was add an "Event Rate" and called it "Cleaning Services"
                  2. Contracts have to be cleaned up to match automatic booking.  My concern if I am right is that we will never know the address of the renter in case you need to go to court to recover monies that we all know PPL will not cover for other reasons.  Does this mean we now sue VRBO/HA directly?

                   

                  SAGE/others....Chime in here please!

                   

                  1. Does this mean that by VRBO/HA controlling the whole process they take on all the liability but on the other hand the names and contact information now belong to VRBO/HA and we can not contact them down the road if we chose to leave VRBO/HA and go to a normal service like Flipkey?
                  2. If we chose "Book it now" should the contract now be between VRBO/HA and the owners/PM's?  To Anja's point we have now become an 'Expedia' type of offering
                  3. So if you opt out of "Book it now" does that mean you go further down the "Search Results Ranking"?  I know that this criteria doesn't show up now but like ever other surprise we wake up to find........it will probably be there soon. 

                   

                  This could really be a good enhancement if all the tea leaves lined up correctly. 

                   

                  Doug

                    • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                      serenade Community All-Star

                      I could add 'cleaning fee' under 'add other fees', but couldn't add extra charge for additional person(s)! So my nightly for example is $400/night, for 6 ppl maximum. Additional up to 2 ppl, I charge $20/person/night. There is nowhere in the RM that allows me to put this, unless I missed something there.

                      • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                        sage Community All-Star

                        Doug -

                        Sorry, I did not spot this sooner.

                         

                        VRBO/HA take on liability?  Ha!  I read the terms and conditions to reflect an attempt to put all risks on the owners and guests.  It is an incredibly one-sided agreement.  See http://www.vrbo.com/global/termsandconditions.htm sections 15 & 17.  And HA would say they do not control the process because owners still have the option to reject a rental within 24 hours.  The contract would be between owner and guest.

                         

                        I do not plan to use the Book It function.  It does not give me the flexibility to handle rates the way I want, especially for a special event (Ironman race) that is a super-premium period.  But even more importantly, I do not like the way it (and RM) handle the rental agreement.  I don't think the rental agreement produced through this process is enforceable.  (Maybe some day I'll give a detailed explanation regarding why.)  And I require guests to complete a registration form with some personal data including the names of everyone in the party, and to provide me with an image of their driver's license or passport before I accept the reservation.  From what I have seen, Book It does not give me the opportunity to require such additional information.  (If I was meeting guests on their arrival I would confirm identity then, but since I mail keys to guests the reservation process gives my only opportunity to verify identity.)  I think that most guests are likely to think that they have done all they need to do once they 'Book It.'  It is likely that the various details I want prior to being committed to the reservation are not going to be done within 24 hours.  So I would be caught between accepting an unvetted guest, or declining the reservation but trying to convince the prospective guest to work with me to provide the information I want.  I think it risks confusing guests at best, and probably alienating many.

                         

                        Book It certainly looks like something that we will be pressured/coerced to use in order to make more money for HA from the fees collected processing payments.

                          • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                            crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                            No problem and even waiting for your input is appreciated.  I am gong to try to use RM.  I was going to do "Book It Now" but ran into so many problems that I changed it back to RM only.  If the new rate format doesn't mess things up too much I will still use the RM booking and in the note that it sends to the renter I mention that the legal document is being sent via Right Signature.  Seems to work pretty well.

                             

                            Doug

                          • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                            thale Community All-Star

                            @everyone - you guys might all benefit from reading this part of our help area on Online Booking

                            http://help.homeaway.com/knowledgeSearch?c=HomeAway&k=online+booking&Type=Owner

                             

                            @crescentbeach4u

                             

                            1. You can set fees for cleaning services for Online Booking/Book it now under your "settings" in your dashboard. You can set cleaning fees, pet fees, etc under the "fees and taxes". You can specify the label for a fee, the amount of the fee, and whether or not it's taxable.

                             

                            2. Whenever a traveler makes a payment (via Reservation Manager or now via online booking) they must fill in their address. So the address is collected at the time of payment. You will still have access to this information.

                             

                            3. The names and contact information for your customers are available to you

                             

                            4. In Online Booking/Book it now, you have 24 hours to accept or decline a travelers reservation request. This gives you an opportunity to contact the traveler or vette them further.  If you accept, then the contract is between you and the traveler. So your contract that you use today should be acceptable - although perhaps you will modiffy it to refer to the reservation request.

                             

                            5. One way to think of a reservation request is that it's like a "super inquiry": the traveler has clearly stated their desire to book your property and has put money on the table. We make it very clear to travelers when they are booking that the booking doesn't become a reservation until the owner accepts. No payment is made and no money changes hands until the owner or manager "accepts" the traveler.

                             

                            6. If you don't accept the reservation request within  24 hours, the reservation request is declined by the system. There is nothing stopping you from sending a res manager invoice after this period. 

                             

                            We are at the beginning of enabling online booking and our goal is to enable the convenience of online booking for travelers while providing owners/managers control over the booking process.  We look forward to more feedback from folks in this forum.

                             

                            hope that helps!

                             

                            tom

                              • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                                Thank you Tom.  I have moved forward and am at the point to where I am trying to figure out the pricing quirks (how to add prices to make sense as well as showing up properly for customers)

                                 

                                Doug

                                  • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                    old_frog Contributor

                                    Upon reading this thread and considering, my thinking is similar to that of Sage. 

                                     

                                    I have concern about the guest's perception that all they need to do is use the book it now option and give credit card payment information. Then I have several choices:

                                       1.  Accept, but by doing so deprive myself of the ability to vet the guests in my normal way.  Certainly, 24 hours may not be sufficient. 

                                       2.  Reject because I do not have enough information on the guest/group.  In doing that I would most certainly create a negative and dampen the good will and guest’s enthusiasm for the rental.  A negative is created.

                                       3.  Contact the guest/group to vet the guest /group.  Again, a negative is created:  A problem property owner as they were under a mistaken impression from the onset. 

                                     

                                    There is also the issue of the contract and verifying the identity of the quest.  If there are problems, the property owner is stuck with them.  With out a signed contract, enforcement will be very difficult.  Good luck with a set of rules from a home away site and an IP address indicating that some unknown person accepted.  I doubt there would be any success in an attempt to subpoena someone from HA/VRBO as a witness to the on line reading and acceptance.

                                     

                                    Perhaps is HA/VRBO were to put more effort into the Book It Now idea so that it is also viable to and provides needed information to the property owner, I would participate and be enthusiastic about doing so.  My initial thoughts are that a minimum of the following is needed:

                                     

                                    1.  The prospective guest to submit with the Book It Now booking:

                                        A.  Completed property owners completed rental application/questionnaire that would be part of the book it now process.

                                        B.  Proof of identity (ie. Drivers License scan, etc.).

                                    2.  Increase the review time to 48 or 72 hours.

                                    3.  Retain the ability for signed written contracts as part of the booking.  Perhaps this should be a step C of 1 above. 


                                  • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                    skiandglee Active Contributor

                                    Tom,

                                     

                                    Is this the "auto-magic" rate calculation we talked about on one of the ambassador calls?

                                     

                                    I am looking at it now and am unable to create a rate structure based on what I use and is used in all of the reservations in my area.  Perhaps if I elaborate it will become clear the differences.

                                     

                                    My area it's standard to charge a minimum stay amount and days.  It's a 2 day rental in my area minimum and some call it a weekend rate, some call it a 2 night rate.  i.e. it can be friday and saturday or tuesday and wednesday but bottom line is that there is a minimum amount we will take to subject our home to the wear and tear of a rental stay.

                                     

                                    So for my case

                                     

                                    2 nights = $1995 minimum

                                    3 nights = $1995 + $450 extra night

                                    4 nights = $1995 + $450 + $450 (2 extra nights)

                                    ....

                                    7 nights = $3995 weekly rate

                                    8 nights = $3995 + $450 extra night

                                    ....

                                    and so forth

                                     

                                    Let me know if there is a way to use your system to setup a rate structure like above.

                                     

                                    Thanks,

                                    Rick

                                    www.vacationrentalhelper.com

                                      • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                        New Member

                                        Hi Rick:

                                        You may want to read this discussion.  You will be able to set your week-end rate, but I couldn't see how to define only the first two nights (I have the same problem).  Your 3 and 4 night rates will not be issue. When you get to the weekly rate, read the post.  You can get either the rate calculator to work correctly, or the weekly rate to display correctly (with Basic rates), but I could never get both to display correctly at the same time. In my case the nightlty rate that was displayed to guests was the weekly rate divided by 7.  Not sure what will happen in your case since your nightly rate (450) is less than your weekly rate divided by 7.

                                         

                                        Scott

                                          • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                            skiandglee Active Contributor

                                            Yeah, this isn't going to work for me and for anyone listing in my area.  The nightly rate just isn't applicable when you charge a minimum 2 night rate.  My $1995 minimum 2 night works out to almost $1000 per night but adding nights on at $450 per night after that keeps lowering the rate all the way to the cheapest rate which is weekly.

                                             

                                            Obviously they need to allow us to opt out of their rate calculation if it doesn't fit our model.

                                             

                                            Rick

                                            www.vacationrentalhelper.com

                                              • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                scottr Active Contributor

                                                Opting out seems to be the consensus of the owners, but HA has stated that it isn't in their plans.   They should allow owners to use the old rate structure if they are opted out of "Book it Now".  I understand that they need a more structured rate system to do quote calculations, but the current implementation isn't ready.

                                                Scott

                                    • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                      crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                                      Well I have tried numerous times to guess, work it out with the help desk but each time unsuccessful.  What I have found is that the base rate quadrant works and its easy to make the numbers work.  Its the seasonal rates which have not worked yet. 

                                       

                                      I am going to just keep base rates in as they are correct and then post my seasonal rates under the Description section.

                                       

                                      Hopefully we will be given a solution that works correctly soon.

                                        • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                          scottr Active Contributor

                                          I did that, but them started getting inquiries for peak season (we're in off-season now).  I have to quote a higher rate than what the site shows.  If I change the basic rate to peak rates, I won't get any inquiries for the current off-peak season.  Be aware that when you use the basic rate, your nightly rate will show as your weekly rate divided by 7.  That number is likely much lower than your nightly rate.

                                          Scott

                                          • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                            scottr Active Contributor

                                            I can't find the correct post, so I am adding my latest finding here.  Someone suggested setting up an Event Rate to show users the correct weekly rate.  The idea was to set up an event that covered several months and call it Winter Weekly Rate" . THIS DOESN'T WORK.  It will allow users to see the correct weekly rate, but the Event Rate is also used in the calculation of the daily rate.  So the users will see a riduculous day rate of a few $. 

                                            • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                              scottr Active Contributor

                                              Capture.PNG

                                              In case anyone is interested Flipkey Seasonal Rates are incredibly easy to set up.  You can also get a 60 day free trial.

                                            • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                              sage Community All-Star

                                              As I have worked through this, I have concluded that I probably could get Book It to display rates in a way that I could live with.  I would not like the result, but I could live with it.

                                               

                                              But beyond the technical issues, I find myself troubled with the philosophy behind Book It.  In an ideal situation, it can streamline the process and add certainty.  But it also dehumanizes the process. 

                                               

                                              Why do our guests love vacation rentals by owners?  It is because of the owners.  Not the computers or a corporate entity.  I think that most of us enjoy having some kind of personal relationship with our guests even if we never meet them and communicate only through email, and I think guests respond positively to the personal interactions.  Take away the exchange of emails or phone calls to book a rental, and we are on our way to being invisible to our guests, and they may as well stay at a Holiday Inn.

                                               

                                              I realize that HomeAway is a soulless corporation.  But don't force that on us owners.

                                                • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                  anja Senior Contributor

                                                  sage,

                                                   

                                                  You took what was in my heart and on my mind and crystalized it.   I could  not have expressed it better!

                                                   

                                                  I saw  the "default setting" in my account which I was not even asked if I wanted...which was suddently "Book It Now"...and for a nano second before I "switched it back" to "No Book It"....I did indeed think about the de-humanization of my business reducing it (not enhancing it) to an "Expedia"  experience. 

                                                    • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                      scottr Active Contributor

                                                      Has anyone toggled this after the last upgrade?  If you enable "Book It Now", the change is made immediately , with no prompting.  If you then go back to "Online Invoicing", you get a pop-up "Are your sure you want to do this?".  I know HA wants owners to adopt the new functionality, but let the feature speak for itself.

                                                      Scott

                                                    • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                      kiawahcottage Community All-Star

                                                      Sage,

                                                       

                                                      You nailed it!

                                                       

                                                      Paul

                                                      • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                        New Member

                                                        HA is on a mission to pump and dump, make changes to the industry with innovative thinking and technology! The more change they make the better they look to investors and then things work out great for HA.  If an executive believes so much in his/her own company they should never buy their options and sell immediately.  They should be building for the future.

                                                        INSIDER TRADING.JPG

                                                      • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                        crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                                                        I have been playing around sending test bookings with "Book It Now" all evening.  Besides Sages points I have found other concerns:

                                                         

                                                        • Because the "Check Calendar" is in very little type size, the renter who was in a hurry will not go to our actual calendar and check the dates.  As a result they will pull their dates from the BIN calendar and then hit the BIN button.  In many cases the user is then given a "Dates are Unavailable" and they must keep doing this on and on until the renter becomes very agitated.
                                                        • Once you have gone through the booking you have to click a "I have read contract, etc".  As with most Internet offerings most people just click the box and have no clue what they have just agreed to.  As an example my problem with this is:
                                                          • My whole complex is smoke free.  There are numerous very prominent and VIP in my complex that have tremendous pull and they are ruthless on our association rules.  If a renter comes in and books in a hurry because they have now been conditioned by HA to shop by prices, they forget to look at the details or in my case "smoking is prohibited". 
                                                            • The renter smokes in my condo and I have to do serious cleaning which causes extra money.  I am also fined by my association for allowing this to happen.  The renters then refuse to pay the extra money because they never saw anything that said "Smoking is Prohibited". They put a block on their credit card because using BIN they can do it.  They also now give me a bad review as they say they never understood all the rules.  As a result HA does not support the owner and we are left holding the bag.
                                                        • Hotels have staff on duty all the time.  We do not and VRBO/HA should always offer this unique service because it has to be a personal business model or it will not work IMO.
                                                        • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                          New Member

                                                          The book it button in my opinion is the worse thing that VRBO has done so far. I allow pets and there is a $10.00 per night fee or the first dog and $5.00 per night for each additional one. Of course this does not work. We also offer additional services at varying rates as we ARE MUCH MORE THAN A STANDARD HOTEL ROOM! What I find to be most upsetting about this change however is that for those who chose to have this feature they also now get a little icon that states "online booking available". Well I have paid a hefty hunk of change to advertise on VRBO and my guests definately can book on line through reservation manager. Not having that little icon though indicates that it is more difficult to book through me which is not the case. Reservation manager IS online booking! Telling us that we have a choice but only adding that little icon to those willing to loose control over their property by agreeing to become a standardized Expedia module is in itself false advertising as it indicates something that is untrue and it seriously ticks me off.

                                                            • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                              crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                                                              I believe the function will eventually die or in other words go way down on the priority marketing list at HA/VRBO.  It has not been a positive marketing angle.  As an example for Northeast Florida where I have my property there are 2290 properties.  Out of those 2290 there are only 10 properties that allow online booking.  This is a terrible percentage and not worth keeping a project team involved on it within HA/VRBO.  It is also interesting to note that I checked those 10 properties out of the 2290 available and found that the renters are not preferring this type arrangement either as none of these 10 properties had impressive calendar block dates!   I would bet if you do a sort in your area you will find similar numbers. 

                                                               

                                                              Doug

                                                            • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                              New Member

                                                              I have had the "Book it Now" button for a couple of weeks now and I really hate it. It sends emails to the guest without allowing me to personalize the message and it doesn't include my standard cleaning fee. If I try to edit the request, it sends two emails to the guest, telling them to disregard the first. What a mess! I'm removing it today.

                                                                • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                                  shannon.martin HomeAway Employee

                                                                  Hi jk64,

                                                                   

                                                                  I'm sorry the Book It button is not working for you.  One of the design aspects of that feature was to remove the need for the owner to respond with a quote to the traveler manually. The traveler can commit to paying the auto-generated quote and you have the option to contact them personally and decide if you want to accept or decline their request to stay at your property (within 24 hours).

                                                                   

                                                                  To make it easier, you can add your standard cleaning fee to your quote under Settings via the "Fees and Taxes" link (there's a video tutorial here).  By changing the automatic quote to the traveler and adding the cleaning fee manually, you divert the automatic process into the manual invoice process, thus sending the traveler a second invoice (and voiding the reservation request where they had already entered their payment info).

                                                                   

                                                                  If you prefer to to revert completely back to the manual invoicing process, instructions are here.

                                                                   

                                                                  I hope this helps!

                                                                  Shannon

                                                                    • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                                      New Member

                                                                      I am not sure why you are contacting me 2 months after I posted and got rid

                                                                      of this feature. It does not work for anything other than a total standard

                                                                      payment. There is no way to personalize on that option and since I am not a

                                                                      hotel room, it does nothing but send an inaccurate quote.I charge 10 a

                                                                      night for a first dog and 5 a night for each additional dog. I also add

                                                                      insurance for anyone renting that is under 25. I want to know who is

                                                                      staying in my home. I also think it stinks that you only mark as online

                                                                      booking for those with a book it button whe I have paid close to 700 for my

                                                                      listing and have reservation manager which IS online booking.

                                                                      It's misleading in that guests are not under the impression that I have

                                                                      that as well. I notice that NOBODY in my area is using bookit so I guess I

                                                                      am not alone. It was a bad idea. If you want to improve VRBO may I suggest

                                                                      that you make the calander for quests be viewed the same as it is for

                                                                      owners? When guests are checking out on a Saturday the public calander

                                                                      shows as being booked for the entire day. On owner page it is cut in half

                                                                      which makes more sense.

                                                                        • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                                          shannon.martin HomeAway Employee

                                                                          Hi pcb.bluehouse,

                                                                           

                                                                          Actually, my response was to jk64 who just posted their question on Dec 7.  Since you have responded on this thread, you will continue to receive all posted responses via email unless you choose to stop email notifications on this thread.  If you are reading this online, scroll to the top of the screen and you will see a link on the right that says "stop email notifications."

                                                                           

                                                                          BTW, I believe your suggestion about showing a half day for checkin/checkout days is on our enhancement list for VRBO.

                                                                           

                                                                          Sorry for the confusion!

                                                                          Shannon

                                                                        • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                                          old_frog Contributor

                                                                          Perhaps the "Book It Now" feature might be better received and work it HA/VRBO had a rating or vetting system for renters similar to what exists for the dwellings/owners.  I would be interested in participating in a program if, for example, I knew that the potential guest had 10 (or pick a number) of positive reviews by other owners. 

                                                                           

                                                                          I suspect others owners might be interested also.  The first thing that needs to happen is for HA/VRBO to establish some type of review system for the renters/guests. 

                                                                      • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                                        bwanapops New Member

                                                                        I am new to the vacation rental business and vrbo.  I think I have the book it and quote able quotes figured out but when  a customer requests a quote for dates that cross over different rate periods the calculations are incorrect.  When the dates are all within the same rate period the calculations are correct.  Am I doing something wrong?   Thanks vrbo 445447

                                                                        • Re: New Dashboard - Book it now?
                                                                          New Member

                                                                          I installed the book it now button and on my first response VRBO gave the prospective renter the incorrect rate.  I cancelled the book it now button.  I sent Customer Support an email pointing out their error and got a nonsence response that never mentioned the problem.  I did not accept the renter.  But at 7:15 am I got a VRBO response that the reservation was cancelled because I did not respond by 9:15 (same day).  Clearly this is not the way to go.