45 Replies Latest reply: Nov 30, 2013 1:32 AM by serenade RSS

    Guests rating system

    Contributor

      Wouldn't it be nice if VRBO would start a guest rating service whereby owners could check to see if the guest they are going to rent to are 5 star or 1 star.   Posted by owners only and viewed by owners only.  

      As a owner you could list their rating and why you rated them.   ie; they tore the place up and I will never rent to them again.     or     they left the cabin in as good a shape as when they got there.   

        • Re: Guests rating system
          Contributor

          Gordon,  what a wonderful and  useful suggestion for us owners who support the web site with our fees. I truly hope that VRBO will  start this progam option.  It would be so helpful to us all! 

          Gin

          • Guests rating system
            mike Contributor

            Great idea, are there any legal obstacles?

              • Re: Guests rating system
                Contributor

                Thanks Mike and Gin

                 

                      Re:  legal obstacles? 

                 

                      The guest are allowed to rate us aren't they?    Seems fair we would be able to rate them.         

                 

                       It would not be VRBO that rated them it would be owners, and if the owners said things that weren't true then maybe the renter would be able to respond, the same way we do when we feel that what the renter said wasn't true.   Fair for one is fair for all, eh?  

                 

                                                         Gordon

                  • Re: Guests rating system
                    mike Contributor

                    I totally agree, it could be a positive as well since a guest could refer an owner to their positive rating on VRBO, or HA etc or ...

                     

                    Here is another idea for HA, how about having travelers create a profile we as owners could review prior to booking them? It would tell us where they are from, which properties they have booked in the past and display reviews from owners who booked them.

                     

                    Mike 

                      • Re: Guests rating system
                        Contributor

                        Way to go Mike.   I hope HA and VRBO are listening. 

                         

                        For instance, I would not charge a cleaning fee if a traveler had a 5 Star rating and their former owners had stated that they had left the cabin in a "very neat condition" or words to that nature.

                         

                        Which would be an incentive for the renter to leave the cabin in a neat condition.

                         

                                                         Gordon

                        • Re: Guests rating system
                          Contributor

                          Gordon

                          We better stop while we are ahead .  I do not think that VRBO or HA would set up a program for a renter to add info.  The web sites are designed for the Rentor's to pay and display their info.  The web sites are paid by us, not the renter.

                          For now, I think we should pursue your initial thought and toss your second one out to the wind. 

                          Gin

                            • Re: Guests rating system
                              Contributor

                              Gin

                                       The web sites are paid for by us (for us), if it benfits US then I don't see tossing it to the wind.   Let's not stop, let's try to develop through "discussions" a better idea.   More input and less "stopping while we are ahead" will lead to a better solution, eh?

                               

                                                     Gordon


                                • Re: Guests rating system
                                  Contributor

                                  Gotcha Gordon :-)

                                  Being a member of VRBO for several years, I have found it is hard enough for them to make changes that I feel are to our advantage... I just have to believe we have to take one step at a time.  I am not against your additional suggestion.  I just feel we cannot push too hard.

                                  I have been a supporter for having them delete all the information at the bottom of our E-Mail inquiries,  and I  have expressed my discontent through these forums.  Unfortunately, it appears that they have ignored our request.   I have found all of it is just another (in my opinion) unnecessary step to have to delete all of it when I respond to an inquiry that comes through their web site.

                                  Here are all the lines that I feel strongly, have to be removed:

                                   

                                  "MORE WAYS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION
                                  1. Increase your bookings:
                                  Respond to inquiries within 24 hours. Reply within 3 hours and your likelihood to book increases by 54%!

                                  2. Update your calendar:  This improves the quality of the inquiry you receive and also saves you time.

                                  3. Check your inquiries regularly on VRBO.com:
                                  All your inquiries are viewable online 24/7 by clicking the 'View Inquiries' link after you login to your account. Since email is not 100% reliable, please be sure to regularly check this source.

                                  4. Learn from the experts:
                                  Get tips and advice on everything vacation rentals at the Community - http://community.homeaway.com

                                  5. Increase cash flow: Most travelers today expect to pay with a credit card. Secure more payments by accepting credit cards. Sign up today at: http://vrbo.com/global/cc.htm

                                  6. Say goodbye to deposits:
                                  Property Damage Protection protects your vacation rental home from accidental damage caused by renters without requiring a damage deposit.

                                  Learn more at:
                                  http://www.propertydamageprotection.com/?aff=vrbo&utm_source=O&utm_medium=Inq&utm_campaign=4

                                  QUESTIONS?
                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                  If you have questions or need assistance please visit our online help system at:
                                  http://www.vrbo.com/help

                                  Happy Rentals!
                                  The VRBO Customer Support Team
                                  "VRBO", "Vacation Rentals by Owner", & "Carpe Vacationum-'Seize the Vacation'" Reg. US Pat. & TM Off"

                                  All of this is just too much!   Why they do not do something about this is beyond reality.   Certainly, do not want to stifle your enthusiasm and requests.  I hope that you did not take it offensively.  Sometimes I flap my fingers, before I think about how it might be taken

                                  Gin :-)

                                    • Re: Guests rating system
                                      mike Contributor

                                      Gordon,

                                      I agree with your point, anything HA can do to improve owners or travelers use of their sites they likely would view as adding value and hopefully resulting in new and retained customers. I am confident they are just as interested in knowing more about the travelers as they are the owners.

                                       

                                      Mike

                                        • Re: Guests rating system
                                          Contributor

                                          Thanks Mike

                                           

                                                I know that I would like to know if I am trusting my investment to a nice couple with a good reputation or a %#@^% hoodlum.   Like I said I have just bought these two cabins this year, one in January and one in March and I have had very good occupancy and very nice people, except for one who partied down and left it a wreck.   I would rate him one star and I won't rent to him again.   The others I send thank you emails and tell them that we want them back.

                                           

                                                                             G......

                                        • Guests rating system
                                          otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                          I agree... whever I remember (most of the time), I purge the VRBO/HA nonsense from my e-mail replies.

                                          It doesn't belong in any replies that I make to my guests and, frankly, adds no value whatsoever to the e-mail the VRBO sends to me.

                                           

                                          P.

                                      • Re: Guests rating system
                                        New Member

                                        We have listed our property since 2003.  I have asked for a guest rating system or protocol on several ocassions.  Legal obstacle was sited as the reason for not adding such a forum for owners only.

                                         

                                        As we have had to deal with problem guests, about one per year, we have modified our rental agreement imposing severe penalty, the entire deposit, for non-compliance.

                                         

                                        My wife and I are both hard working professionals and our investment income is from rental property.  Guests, don't rent your property for a week.  They believe they own it and may act as they wish. 

                                         

                                        Overall, we have been very fortunate and the vast majority of guests have left our property as they found it.  My brother in law was not as fortunate.  His condo at Aspen was cleaned out between guest visits by painters who moved all furnishings out and didn't bother to come back and paint.

                                          • Re: Guests rating system
                                            mike Contributor

                                            This seems to be a hot topic, I discovered a similar post under Interacting with Guests > Screening, not sure how to link to it.

                                             

                                            Could we post guest reviews here in the community? Functionality would likely be a challenge I suppose. 

                                              • Re: Guests rating system
                                                New Member

                                                I have asked about a guest rating.  The response has been a legal obstacle.

                                                 

                                                Guests can rate the property via posts.  However, my understanding is that owners must approve all reviews prior to posting on the public domain

                                    • Re: Guests rating system
                                      Active Contributor

                                      Hi everyone,

                                       

                                      Thanks for all of the great feedback. I want to assure you we ARE listening, and take all of your thoughts and suggestions seriously (Gin, to that end, your recommendation to remove the marketing verbiage at the bottom of VRBO's email inquiries has been conveyed to the VRBO marketing team, and I hope to have an update on that for you soon).

                                       

                                      Regarding a "guest rating system," please keep in mind that as per our Community Guidelines, we ask that you protect the privacy of yourself and others:

                                       

                                      " — Keep personal information about anyone else private; including names of other people, home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.  We recommend you keep your own information private as well. In our discretion, certain exceptions may be made from time to time in connection with unlawful activity."

                                       

                                      Our Groups functionality may be of some interest here, particularly because you can create a private Group. If you'd like to learn more about Groups on our Community, you can read this blog post which I posted a few days ago.

                                       

                                      I hope this helps. And thank you again to all for your excellent feedback.

                                       

                                      Kind Regards,

                                      Laura

                                       

                                      HomeAway Community Manager

                                        • Re: Guests rating system
                                          Contributor

                                          Laura :-)

                                          Thank you!  I will be forever gratetful if we can get all that stuff out of the inquiry E-Mails.

                                          Gin

                                            • Re: Guests rating system
                                              mike Contributor

                                              Laura,

                                               

                                              Is HA developing anything in the way of a traveler community? As it relates to the issue of a guest ratings, if I was able to view a profile of a traveler in a traveler community it would provide a great deal of confidence when renting to them. I could see what properties they rented in the past and possibly any communication between them and the owner. Thoughts?

                                               

                                              Thanks

                                              Mike

                                            • Guests rating system
                                              otttoyboy Active Contributor

                                              HA>> the recommendation to remove the marketing verbiage  at the

                                              HA>> bottom of VRBO's email inquiries has been conveyed to the VRBO

                                              HA>> marketing team, and I hope to have an update on that for you soon.

                                               

                                              Any update on this?  It's a lot of extra work to remove the marketing verbiage at the end of each e-mail and it is text that no owner should ever send to their guests.

                                               

                                              Please keep pressing marketing to have this removed ASAP (also remove from HA please).

                                               

                                              P.

                                              • Guests rating system
                                                lrbaldwin Active Contributor

                                                I haven't seen anything more about removing the marketing verbiage since your April response.  Actually, I hadn't really noticed it because I always call my prospective renters if they look interesting to me.  However, now I see that the marketing is to OWNERS, not RENTERS, so it should not be included in a response to renters.  I will take the time to remove it whenever I send responses to inquiries.  IMO, there is more than enough marketing presented to us owners as it is.  In fact, I recently got a call from HomeAway/VRBO asking for feedback on my experience over the past year.  In the end I realized it was simply another marketing ploy trying to get me to subscribe to HomeAway in addition to VRBO.  All of my feedback was answered with "that is not our department" or something similar.  I was very put off by that phone call.  Can we get on a DO NOT CALL list for HomeAway?

                                                 

                                                Thanks,

                                                Linda

                                              • Re: Guests rating system
                                                New Member

                                                The concept of a guest rating system is a long time coming! If a guests opts in at the onset we will know about it and then they will be reviewed as well. Including being able to post photos of how they left the place. It is not fair or right that we have no recourse!

                                                If they opt out they CAN NOT leave a review, and or threaten you with a bad one!  I have been quite lucky with reviews. If a guest stayed at my house...and chisled me on price, compalined about a spot on the toilet or a speck of mold on a shower curtain (smaller than a dot) you should know.  They have the potential to ruin our business with thier reviews.  I had a guest leave a 5 STAR review but complain that the water was not hot enough - she never told us this! And we bent over backwards to help her with her travel plans. Also, even if they opt out we should be able to ping their email address so we know they are trouble!

                                                  • Re: Guests rating system
                                                    Contributor

                                                    Mike, you are "spot on"!

                                                      • Re: Guests rating system
                                                        mike Contributor

                                                        Thanks Gordon. I am planning to attend the HA Summit this weekend and will definitely share our discussion and this topic with our host. Laura I look forward to a possible conversation during one of the receptions.

                                                          • Re: Guests rating system
                                                            Active Contributor

                                                            Mike, I look forward to meeting you and talking more at the HomeAway Summit this weekend.

                                                            As far as your question re: HomeAway developing a Traveler Community, I can't get into future specifics, but I can tell you that the idea has been discussed internally, and your feedback, along with others on this thread, helps add weight and urgency to this item on our list of customer product requests.

                                                            Thanks so much, and see you soon.

                                                            Laura

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                                                                mike Contributor

                                                                Thats great news! I look forward to meeting you as well.

                                                                  • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                    anja Senior Contributor

                                                                    Hello Mike, Laura, Gordon, VictorsVillas, Gin, Paddle  in this Group.  I'm new  to the Community...and to Groups. But, I am not new to VRBO. I've been using VRBO for years and always was pleased with its performance {until it was bought by HA and it changed so much}. I agree with Gin about the "annoying" and "excessive" vrbo marketing that tail-ends the inquiries. And, I am not happy with the "review' policy at all the way VRBO/HA is 'running it'....and I can see now that many,many others feel the same.  I am keenly interested in the ideas here, especially that posted by Gordon, on a "guest rating system". As the last post was in April, I wonder if this topic has 'petered' out?   Did Mike and  Laura meet up and discuss this at the Home Away Summit?  No more  discussion...was it considered at the HA Summit "dead on arrival"?  

                                                                      • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                        mike Contributor

                                                                        Hi anja,

                                                                         

                                                                        I did meet with Laura and Leah at the Summit (a pleasure) and we talked about a guest rating system. It appears HA strategy is to establish a traveler community where owners can view profiles of potential guests. A traveler community would potentially give owners the ability to communicate and educate travelers in a community setting vs a Owner / Guest relationship. I have seen some new tools on the traveler side from HA maybe Laura can add some comments on any new developments since the Summit.

                                                                         

                                                                        Mike Cushing

                                                                        BookbyOwner.com

                                                                          • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                            Active Contributor

                                                                            Hi Mike,

                                                                            It was a pleasure to meet you at the HomeAway Summit as well. On the traveler front, here's what I can tell you right now: HomeAway is actively looking at ways to show owners more information about travelers via traveler profiles (would include info such as traveler name, photos, etc). We're also always considering methods to enhance the communication between owners and travelers - particularly on Community, so stay tuned for more info on that front coming soon.

                                                                            I hope that helps. Thanks for all of your great questions and comments.

                                                                            All the best,

                                                                            Laura

                                                                              • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                                anja Senior Contributor

                                                                                I'm revisiting this "proposal" by HA/VRBO here for ways to show Owners more information about Travelers via Traveler Profiles which would include info such as Traveler name, photos, etc..  It was a great idea proposed...in my opinion...and I believe it would be an asset to "The System" for both Owners and  Travelers, alike.  I know that this business of renting private properties challenges The Trust that both Owner and Traveler must create between each other. Without the Trust, the experience for both parties is bound to be negative in some way....to the detriment of the Owners' business reputation, always....and The Travelers' who "feel they're getting burned".  In my opinion,  HA/VRBO would really be providing a unique service to stand out from other rental portals, to enhance the Service for their paying clients as long as it was a fair and balanced system where Owners could review Traveler Profiles...because the Travelers already have the Owners' "reviews" ...and all the other details on the their property.  I can imagine a few different scenarios but one could be:  a Traveler would create a free account, log in and upload their profile ...keep their profile current....and refer to their "profile" when ever they send an inquiry to Owners.  Of course, again The  Trust is an important factor....Travelers would  have to be honest with the details they upload.  When I first read this idea on this Community thread, I though that I could get excited about it.  But, what happened since April 2011?  I have noticed the Traveler Community added here, but there is no "Traveler Profile" created.  Is this proposal dropped by HA/VRBO?

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                                                                                    New Member

                                                                                    I don't think its been dropped .......  it was never seriously considered!   They are just not interested in taking our point of view .... and we are the paying customers!    I am actively exploring alternative sites as a matter of principle.

                                                                    • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                      Contributor

                                                                      Also, if an inquiry writes in their email "will you accept  $xxx instead of the price I have, I don't answer them, if they can't afford the cabin I don't want them.    It has been my experience, in related fields, that they are most likely TROUBLE.

                                                                    • Guests rating system
                                                                      New Member

                                                                      Only just picked up this thread but have been commenting on the 'Bad Reviews' topic which covers similar ground.   Vacation Rentals actually told me that they are aware of their customers being upset by their Review policy, (but don't seem to care!) and stated that legally they are not permitted to have a 'Bad Guest' opportunity.   So the guests can damage our reputations but we, the customers providing and paying for the website entry, are not allowed the same privilege!!!    I am still pursuing this with VR but they will not budge.   It is just not right that we are not consulted before any review is published.

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                                                                        New Member

                                                                        guestchecker.com

                                                                        You can rate and review guests

                                                                        • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                          Contributor

                                                                           

                                                                          Unfortunately this new policy is devastating to owners.  We never received an email from VRBO letting us know about this new policy and only found out about it when we couldn't to stop a bad review from posting.   We've been with VRBO for almost 7 years now and never received a negative comment.  We took comfort in the fact we had control over what people could post. I don't see how we can maintain the privacy of our property when any traveler can list information like our address and VRBO will do nothing about it.

                                                                           

                                                                          So here we are with a bad review from a guest that didn't receive their security deposit quick enough, got angry, and left a review with negative information about our property.  We understand their frustration and did everything possible could to appease them short of showing up at their door with the cash.  Now our property has 1 star review that has brought our rental inquiries to halt, we haven't received one inquiry since the review posted a week ago, we averaged 5 a day.   If an angry traveler can say anything they want, true or not, and have this much affect on our business and tarnish our name then I won't be renewing my subscription.

                                                                           

                                                                          After reading all the issues others are having with this new review system, I wonder how clear the VRBO notification email was.    If anything is going to change or improve we need to voice our concerns in a positive constructive way to everyone we can.   I understand where VRBO is coming from, they have to protect their name and reputation and be fair to everyone but I hope they listen to us and understand that they will need to moderate the reviews a little more closely to protect the small businesses and private customers that got them here.

                                                                            • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                              New Member

                                                                              This is a perfect example of what can happen with their current policy - very unfortunately for you.   Of course a bad review is damaging when there is so much competition out there!    Why would anyone choose a property with even one bad review even it was unjustified.  That's why it should be thoroughly substantiated before VRBO or VR even consider publishing it on our website details.   They are really not taking this seriously enough but I don't know how to get to them -  and I've tried but to no avail.   They are just not listening and are giving priority to the renters - who don't pay them anything!!!   Its SO wrong.

                                                                            • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                              vincentvent Contributor

                                                                              Actually HomeAway bought Homelidays whch does this... If they slapped all those great features the businesses they purchased with our money developped into one website it would be heaven.

                                                                              Oh and they could do a redirect of all those useless portals to one site and charge us half.

                                                                               

                                                                              Going to bed to dream about it because it will never happen...

                                                                               

                                                                              Vincent

                                                                              • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                                marilyn Active Contributor

                                                                                For those of you who did not have the opportunity to spend a few very very lucrative days at the homeaway conference, homeaway stated and showed examples of new traveler profile sections of homeaways site. This is a truly amazing feature that will help all of us. We will have the opportunity to see past traveler rentals, reviews from past rentals from the traveler and a small amount of additional information. We also have an opportunity to check out our travelers via their Facebook page.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Hope this helps.

                                                                                Marilyn

                                                                                Www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

                                                                                • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                                  New Member

                                                                                  I've found that the AirBnB model works better,  Guests are more likely to "behave" if they know you can review them in a publicly accessible forum.  I recently had a guest book through Airbnb and then she came up with a whoile list of complaints about my property AFTER she checked out - of course asking for a partial refund.  I told her that all my reviews were fabulous and that I rarely have problems with guests or the property (all true) - and that if I knew about the problems when they occurred, I would have fixed them, but learning about them after the fact was useless to me or her. 

                                                                                   

                                                                                  My housekeeper checked the house and found most of her complaints were groundless.  She threatened me with a bad review and I kindly informed her that SHE would be getting a bad review from me if she did that.  She was new to the airbnb community and had NO reviews.  So, the threat of a bad review was enough for her to back down.  We wound up not reviewing each other - which was the best solution I guess.  So, I wish homeaway would implement a similar system that is integrated into the VRBO and Homeaway sites (not some third party site that few people know about or use).  It's a good form of protection because there are some loonies out there.

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                                                                                      Senior Contributor

                                                                                      Yes, that is what is nice about Airbnb's policy.  A guest is way more hesistant to extort with a false review because you can tarnish their profile too.  Plus, the guest only has 24 hours to report to Airbnb if the place is dirty or not as advertised.  After that time period has passed, then Airbnb releases the money to the owner.  That was funny that that girl did not know how the process works.  Also, the good thing such as in your situation, is that after 30 days have passed from the time the review link was sent, then you cannot review each other.  So, at least after 1 month you don't have to worry if that guest will try to take revenge a year down the road.

                                                                                    • Re: Guests rating system
                                                                                      serenade Community All-Star

                                                                                      Oh, how I so wish that we are able to review guests in return, a huge headache of running this rental will be taken away. When you think about it, most of out problems are fixable: you can fix a broken shower, jammed window, anything as long as you make efforts to fix them. Only when it comes to guests reviews we become totally helpless. I just deal with two cases this week.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      The thing is, this will not happen with the bookings I got from Airbnb, since guests are fully aware that they can't do that without consequences. Early this  year, I accepted reservations via AirBnb. The lady who placed the booking (thru Airbnb) knew this guy as a vendor for her company. And I actually met the guy in person. Seemed like a very nice guy. Turned out, he invited a few friends to my apartment, smoked inside the unit and got drunk until early in the morning. My other guests in the building emailed to let me know this.

                                                                                      When the guest checked out, I contacted Airbnb as well as the person who made the reservations. In one day I got things sorted out - they released the security deposit and the reservationist gave me a very nice review to compensate my trouble.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      This sort of guarantee definitely gave  a peace of mind.