Has anyone tried www.scenicrentals.com? They advertise $10 (yes, I said 10) per year and give 12 pictures for free. They currently limit only 60 properties per city so it's first come, first serve. I cannot see why you wouldn't want to spend $10 to give it a shot. I'm only looking at other alternatives because VRBO has gone against it's original philosophy of only allowing owners to advertise. I have no relationship with the above-mentioned web site. Just curious to see if anyone has used them with success. Thanks.
This is to let those who have participated in this discussion that VRBO has indeed added an OWNER (or PROPERTY MANAGER) icon to the site to differentiate between the two. It was noted in the thread just started by adameaster regarding his poll. While a treaveler cannot do a sort by owner or manager, this is a very big development. In my original post of Feb 26 which started this thread, I shared wording of a request to HA and a modification to VRBO asking that owners be differentiated from property managers.
The end result is that both of these sites did listen! Homeaway added a "Homeaway Sort" which can be managed with great success by owners to move up in the listings (see my posting of July 27th regarding how I was told it works). VRBO added the two icons. This is a victory for all of us in this community. I am actually impressed by the responsiveness of HA in trying to address this matter.
The reality is that listings of property managers will probably not be going away from these sites no matter how much we complain, but certainly we have moved forwarded in getting tools to allow us to compete more effectively. To those who would prefer to list on sites without competition from property managers, the option of moving elsewhere is still viable. To those who wish to remain with HA and VRBO with the enhanced ability to function as a more powerful David (owner) against a powerful Goliath (property managers/realtors), the tools semm to be there for you to use. Hopefully, these tools will prove to be as positive as I think they will be for our owner community.
I am glad to see some effort by VRBO regarding this, but it really isn't enough. VRBO should be for owners and Home Away for anyone. That was the original idea when VRBO was founded. Home Away came in and bought several owner vacation websites and implemented their program including this new Review policy where someone can post anything they want and the owner can't do anything about it. If a rental agency wants to remove the competition they can post bad reviews. If a renter wants to black mail an owner they can post a bad review. The owners can do nothing. Maybe if you manage 400 condos you have the budget to file suit. But individuals are stuck. That was not the intent when VRBO was founded. It was to help the liitle guy (individual) not put them out of business.
I am extremely pleased with the new icon designating owner management. I requested this almost a year ago. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I have never had a malicious review. The only review less than 5 stars said the living room furniture was not comfortable (not enough back support). I responded to this on the site saying that though we'd never had a complaint about the furniture, I would immediately buy more throw cushions. The cushions on our living room furniture are only a few years old and were very expensive, so replacing them is not an option, especially since there has been only one complaint out of over 40 reviews.
As far as what VRBO "should be" is IMO HomeAway's concern since they purchased it from its founder. Mergers and acquisitions happen all the time. I'll admit I was unhappy to find management companies advertising right along side my new (as of Aug, 2010) listing because it seemed that they were violating VRBO's TOS. My best remedy to this was to add "Rent directly from owner" to the title of my listing. I haven't looked at the TOS recently, but I do hope those have been changed accordingly so that new listers know what the rules are. We were totally booked for the summer months by March 1. From the conversations I've had with renters, most of ours were looking specifically for owner managed cottages, so the new icon should be a great advantage. Many of those renters told me that they search exclusively those sites that offer owner managed rentals. Others have said that this was their first time renting directly from an owner and that they found VRBO because of recommendations of friends. I still think VRBO gives us the best exposure.
I wanted to chime in with a little more detail related to the new “owner” and “property manager” icons you’ve noticed on VRBO. This was implemented thanks to your feedback!
Here are a few of the key icon features:
• Owner and Property Manager icons can now be found in VRBO search and index results; the icons distinguish properties managed by owner vs by property manager
• Owner and Property Manager icons now appear on property listing pages
• VRBO now has text on each listing page that clarifies if a traveler is contacting an owner or property manager
• The traveler now has the ability to filter their vacation rental search by Property Manager or Owner
(To search by owner, the traveler must use the following terms in the Search Bar: "managed by owner", "owner managed." This will return listings that are exclusively managed by owner.)
These new features now enable travelers to make informed rental decisions based on who manages the property, if they desire.
Thank you again for being vocal about this issue. Please keep the feedback coming.
I think Home Away is missing the point, again... The icons don't address
the fact that VRBO was originally for Vacation Rentals By Owner. When we
first started there were 16 listings. Now there's 3 times that. So my home is
rented less than it used to be. I understand that it is your best interest
to get as many subscribers as possible, but that may not be in the best
interest of "Owners".
Can you tell us how to change the settings on our ad ??
We do all our own bookings for our rental property, so the potential guests are contacting us (the OWNERS) and not the management company.
We do have a company that works as a property "caretakers/management" for us, but our VRBO guests have no contact with them unless they have a problem during their stay which they need sorted out.
If someone rented a property via these "caretakers/management" they would have entirely different pricing, rules, terms and conditions, reservation form... etc.
The VRBO ad is now showing incorrectly... it says "contact Management".... but the contact details... are for the OWNERS and they can rent ONLY this property.
Thank you !
I really appreciate what VRBO has done with the "owner managed" icons. I know it means a lot to the folks who found our cottage in Duck, NC, who didn't want to deal with an agency. However I'm afraid the search function as it is is totally useless. Not a person in 10,000 would know to enter owner magnaged in the search field. It would be very helpful if you could do the following on VRBO's home page, very easy to implement since it would be on only one page. I know that even I, with just a bit of web design experience, could handle that in a matter of minutes.
Have 3 search fields, one right under the other:
Search homes managed by agencies only
Search homes managed by owners only
IOW, there would be a built in filter in the first two. For example the first one would have a NOT owner managed filter, the second would have an owner managed filter, and the third would have no filter.
Thanks for your help,
I would be surprised if VRBO couldn't fix that for you. Actually, we're almost all involved in some sort of third party management. We have our cleaning company, a maintenance company, and various other businesses who take care of our place when we can't be there. I would be really surprised if there weren't a bunch of "mis-iconed" listings.
Homeaway is a business. Yes, they want to make the most profit they can. Any business that doesn't won't be around for long. Consider banks....we dealt with the Bank of Powhatan (one branch in our very small rural county) starting in 1977. They were terrific and everybody there knew all their clients by name, most of them knew the names of our children. Then they were sold to some larger bank. The same employees were at our branch and all was well. There might have been another sale at some point, but THEN it was sold to Wachovia. Even though many of the employees were the same, their "policies" were different. We were NOT happy, but there was absolutely nothing we could do. Now we've been taken over by Wells Fargo. The old employees are gone, and we're nothing but a number, policies are one size fits all. Yes, we could go elsewhere, but we'd just be chasing small banks who would eventually be sold to the behemoths. Fortunately we're senior citizens and don't really need anything from banks any more.
Homeaway can change the rules all they want. I for one really appreciate the new icons. VRBO/HomeAway probably has more hits than any other vacation rental web sites. I don't consider agencies to be any competition at all. I figure that I'm competition TO THEM. I can equip my cottage with expensive kitchen goodies and lots of supplies that I couldn't do when I used an agency. Why? Because it's not the renters who steal, it was the employees of the rental agency. Now, after almost one season of VRBO under our belt, we've had no theft, no damage, and total control over who rents our cottage. I can compete because I can offer our cottage for a little less than an agency does and provide ammenities that won't "go away". Our agency charged us approximately $235/week plus 20% of the rent. We were fully rented for the summer months through VRBO by March 1....AND we haven't lost any sleep worrying about what's being stolen or damaged by employees or renters over which we had no control.
Chatterbox Too in Duck, NC