18 Replies Latest reply: Aug 27, 2012 8:23 PM by swlinphx Branched to a new discussion. RSS

    Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice

    meredith HomeAway Employee

      We're creating a space for you to ask our resident experts, the Community Ambassadors, your most burning vacation rental questions!


      No question is too small or too strange, so fire away!

        • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
          loscuatrotulipanes Community All-Star

          I've got a question for the other Ambassadors: how much do you spend on marketing on a monthly or annual basis? Since this amount will be different for rentals of varying nightly rates, it would be great to hear a variety of perspectives...


          • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
            swlinphx Premier Contributor

            What exactly constitutes one as an "Ambassador".  I've seen people with fewer points and/or posts that have that label.  Did they ask to be one?

            • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
              swlinphx Premier Contributor

              Wow, when I joked they'd probably delete my last post I was just kidding.  Apparently it was more true than I thought.


              Apparently Big Brother didn't like that I pointed out that the selection process seems arbitrary, even if you have more tenure, posts, or even contributory points (which take into account quality and kind of posts). Are we not to question that there is no set standard and it is left to the whim of whoever does the inviting?  That sounds like if someone doesn't like you the rest doesn't matter.  And now posts that even question it are deleted too?  Nice to know.  I'm disappointed if this is how it is, and then especially if they delete a post for questioning the process.  Feels a little totalitarian to me.


              UPDATE:  I take that back.  As Laura pointed out below the comment of mine which had been removed was transferred to the new thread she linked to: http://community.homeaway.com/message/23496#23496

                • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                  Active Contributor



                  Your post was not deleted; it was branched to this new thread.


                  As per our Community Guidelines, we ask Community members to "stay on topic and be constructive."  The guidelines also state: "Don’t go widely off-topic or evolve threads into personal conversations."


                  You'll notice that this thread is about asking Ambassadors for their expert advice about vacation rental-related topics, not to discuss why you haven't been invited to participate in the Ambassador Program.


                  I'd recommend you read the Community Guidelines again.



                    • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                      swlinphx Premier Contributor

                      I have taken your point into consideration Laura and thank you for your input.  However, the conversation naturally evolved from my asking what the criteria was for invitation into the Ambassador program.  I received a response that it was based on posts, tenure, points (quality and types of posts and topics), etc.  It was only natural that I then respond using the best example I have (my own) which demonstrates how that is not the case.  You're very aware I was deliberately overlooked long before the more recent events, but after how unfairly I felt treated I did feel it necessary to finally address this publicly.  I would be more than happy to hear how you feel I did not qualify for this privilege or invitation for months now (and this long before recent events in which I was -- in my opinion, unfairly -- banned).  Feel free to privately message me if you would like.  I have always been open (and have requested) to hear any kind of solid proof or reasoning.  It bothered me enough that I decided against renewing one of my pricey VRBO listings that recently expired.


                      All us users here are always talking about personal experiences they have with renters, software, horror stories, and yes, dissatisfaction with some of the services or responses received from HomeAway itself.  That is nothing new.  I understood taking something "personally" as being directed at another user personally, not citing one's own experiences to back up one's stance or reason for their opinion.  Perhaps the Guidelines should be more clear that dissent against HomeAway is not permitted.  As you know, I tried to resolve this with you privately via e-mail and messages here and was rebuffed.  I felt others would be interested in knowing what I have discovered and experienced, as they too are users here who may have experienced (or come to experience) a similar situation as I have.  I was sharing, which we all do on here from time to time, something I truly thought might be of interest to other users.  I do understand why you would not want me to speak of it so for that I apologize.  I have said all I will say publicly here on the matter.  Thank you most sincerely for your time.

                        • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                          tansy Active Contributor

                          swlinphx I was asked to be an ambassador, I felt, because I'm not afraid of coming forward...when things have gone wrong with HA I've banged my drum and when things have gone right I've been the 1st to say.


                          I personally think the ambassador programme is a great idea as we are used as the bounce board...I am sorry you feel banned.


                          I am with FlipKey & a few other sites - I have to say I really do admire HA for taking this initiative and working directly with us owners, with the other sites all you get back from them is high level gobble **** rubbish when there is an issue with a stupid review or similar.

                            • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                              msdebj Senior Contributor

                              I'm smiling here, since I was "spanked" for a comment I made here as an Ambassador. Rightly so, but I was frustrated by the lack of response from the Mother Land. I tend to  lean towards the "Owner/Advertiser". 


                              I've learned to use my Amb. status to  ask HA/VRBO specific questions abt. some very valid concerns some owners post on forums, and sometimes it works, at times not so much.


                              I take my Amassador status seriously, and hope HA/VRBO does also.

                              Kindest regards,


                                • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                                  swlinphx Premier Contributor

                                  Thanks for your input tansy & msdebj.  To be honest, there are two issues here.  One is what I spoke of, that I don't know of anyone else with similar amount of posts, "points", consistent contribution, and thoughtful responses, participation and feedback as me who has not been invited already.  I don't suspect I will get an answer to that question, although it would be nice.


                                  The other issue though would still remain even if I was an Ambassador too.  It seems to me that everyone on here who has a reasonable amount of posts and who contributes frequently is suddenly an Ambassador.  I tend to see just as many, if not more, who are Ambassadors than who are not.  So even if I were one, I'd have to question how "special" that really made me.  When you give the majority a trophy, it loses some meaning.  I think it would help to clearly outline what criteria they use to invite members, since it doesn't seem to be consistent or fair.


                                  I personally think the seniority, posts and point rankings is enough of a "badge" for new members to see who it is that may have more information or experience to offer, or at least who is more responsive.  I question selectively singling out certain members while disregarding others, especially when there seems to be no consistent basis for how they "invite" one to be an Ambassador.  As I said before, that kind of unclear and inconsistent sanctioned recognition of members could do more harm than good to promote good will among members in the community.


                                  Anyway, thanks again for your input. 

                                    • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                                      tansy Active Contributor

                                      Here's me thinking it was because I've been doing holiday rentals for over 10 years and have been advertising with HA for this whole length of time...


                                      Once upon a time here in our area of Normandy there were 4 holiday rentals - we owned 2 of them - there is now in excess of 800...I remember the days of uploading photos via email and my husband who is a professional photographer helping the chap in charge of uploading photos in London as he was a newspaper man and had been at the cutting edge of technology...


                                      I used to pick the phone up and speak direct with the MD of what was then holiday-rentals.co.uk with 872 properties on the whole site.


                                      I've been consulted and asked views almost from day 1 of advertising with holiday-rentals, recommended loads of folk to go on the site. BTW never have been offered payment or financial reward for my time and input so I am not on the payroll of HA.


                                      I don't know what has happened to make you think this way all I know is I think it is a good idea to get views and thoughts from the coal face and with the experience I have if I can help newbies or the workings of the site then I'm there!


                                      But I would prefer that you didn't think it was a sham to appoint Ambassadors...I've seen too many forums become a vitriolic bullying space...so far we haven't had that on HA forum...long may it continue. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I do believe these forums should be a place folk are not frightened to come onto and ask questions or make a valid point of view.


                                      Hopefully your 'experience' whatever it is is dealt with and you start feeling better...

                                        • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                                          swlinphx Premier Contributor

                                          Tansy, I don't question your personal qualifications, experience, etc. but it does not seem to be the basis for many who are invited and labeled Ambassador.  I have been a customer for 8 years on all their sites, have a higher point ranking (currently #13, but was #12 or higher before), higher post count, good feedback from most other members (including other Ambassadors) and a high record of contribution and starting threads.  There are many Ambassadors with less in all these areas.  That you might be experienced and deserving has nothing to do with the dozens now labeled Ambassador who have far less "credentials" (for lack of a better word) - experience, posts, contributory points, etc.  Unfortunately, your personal satisfaction has no bearing on the inconsistency I see constantly, and the fact that more than half the members who I find regularly posting (maybe 2/3 or 3/4) seem to be Ambassadors.  I post frequently and so far it seems only the members with the least points and number of posts are not labeled with the Ambassador badge.  When the majority has a trophy it loses a bit of its significance.


                                          You are one member, but if you look at the trend there is no consistency when those with less in all areas are invited yet those with much experience and contribution are not.  Fairness isn't whether one person is happy, but rather that when looked on as a whole there is some accountable pattern or clear qualification.  Perhaps they should outline what those qualifications are, if they have nothing to do with experience, points, posts, contribution, membership, customer history, etc.  That may clear things up a bit.  Unfortunately, so far it seems like more of a "favorites" game, based on the a single moderator's approval or decision.  For your reference, here is a link to the member ranking page, sorted by status:


                                          At any rate, as I said a couple weeks ago there's really nothing else I care to comment about it until I am given some kind of response from HomeAway directly, but I do feel it is necessary to point out the inconsistency in the award system here that otherwise does not coincide with the general ranking.  Most discussion forums have direct mileposts to achieve a new status and are a direct result of meeting that criteria which is the same across the board for all members.  I am happy that you're happy though -- there's no reason you shouldn't be. 



                                          P.S.  As Laura mentioned above (and I agree), this discussion really belongs in another thread created for this purpose.  Unfortunately, in order to respond to you I have to do so in this thread. It may be helpful for a moderator to move these comments over to that other thread with the rest of them as well.  Here is the link:



                            • Re: Dear Ambassadors: Ask for Expert Advice
                              Active Contributor

                              I am curious. How many ambassadors are there? How many attended the last conference in Austin? How many are withing the united states and how many are outside?


                              Rentals are not the same everywhere. We all have interested differences.


                              Would love some feedback.