This may be difficult to explain, but I don't blog or follow most social media. Therefore, I have limited experience with using forums beyond reading the current "All discussions" listing, which is of course, limited to a certain number of entries on the home screen.
1. Like Most: A. Reading other people's support suggestions (bad review rewrites) and cool stuff that other people do at their rentals.
B. Learning about the changes that other people have noticed happening on the HA web, as I do not receive any newsletters or missives that alert me to those changes and how I can best deal with them; i.e., keeping me up to date.
2. Hard to Use: A. Searching for submissions and/or responses that I have written previously. You know, along the lines of "Didn't I see that same thing about a year ago?"
3. A specific Update area for HomeAway to alert, inform and advise community members about the changes that are coming or have happened. I never see a newsletter; I don't get emails saying "Hey, here are the directions on how to format your 50 new pictures". I didn't even know we had 50 pictures. What else have I missed?
4. I only look at the All discussions listing page....are there other features?
5. I would love to see this forum return to a helpful site; i.e., other owners assisting in how to respond to a bad review, what to do if you are a newbie, where to get good quality hotel size soaps/towels/cleaning products, what cool thing did you add to your rental that your guests raved about....I am well aware that I have contributed to the "What the hey is being done to us now" tone of the forum, but much of that is due to the ridiculous amount of time that I have to spend working with the website and the constant changes in both policies and programming, as well as the introduction of third parties (Yapstone) to what used to be a nice advertising website where I got full value for the dollars that I spent there (Gold level).
I would like to think of the community as a book that is constantly updated. Remember what Christine Karpinski used to offer?
I only have a couple of comments Erinn.
1. it would be nice if this was not public and only available for HA owners. Guests don’t need to constantly read about what wee might be upset/concerned about.
2. The current content on the right side of the page is sometimes missed because it does not feed into our inbox on the website, as does the “all discussions” currently does.
3. It would be nice to have lists (like the seasonal list) very visable at all times for us to access easily and quickly!
(sorry if this doesn’t really help much)
Erinn, great questions, which I will consider in order to be thoughtful in responding . . .
But I do have a question for you, and other forum members, which relates to the ease of use of the forum: Is there a way to view my previous posts/comments - a history of my posts?
If there is, I have not been able to find it. I frequently find myself re-writing advice/ideas I've written up once, sometimes twice, and I don't necessarily want to recompose a paragraph or two to address a question and/or offer advice. I'd like to be able to locate/view my previous comments.
I'm going to assume you're asking about the software and not the content, since the content is less of a "feature".
1. I live in the "inbox" page most days so that I can see what's changed on threads I'm interested in, then I go once a day to look at new threads in the full discussion page. So that "monitored threads" page is the most helpful to me.
2. The All Discussions page doesn't always include every discussion (sometimes it ends up in a category that's not included in the "All" list, though not sure why). Having to become a friend to DM someone, especially the @HA people. Seems like some people should be automatically DM-able. I really really hate the way big discussions stop being able to be shown hierarchically, because I totally lose my place in the linear view. Search is sometimes hard to find something, the indexing needs to be more sensitive to language/synonyms. Need better/more categories. Need a way to have it include the groups I belong to in my view of All Discussions, so that those postings I can see are just part of the main page for me.
3. An RSS feed of new activity so I can put it in my home page . Support on mobile/tablet. Support for normalizing posts to my time zone.
4. There are a huge number of features I don't use... the Actions buttons on the right I've never touched. I also have never Shared a post. I also am not sure whether I can mark someone else's post for a decision/action/success... and if I can't, why show them?
5. Likes are nice, "points" can probably be eliminated.
- 1.What features do you like you best about community?
One of my favorite community features is the inclusiveness the forum provides. Overall the community is welcoming and available to anyone who posts questions and shares experiences. Regardless of the current state of affairs regarding changes, updates and frustration there is valuable content and a wealth of knowledge in the collective genius.
One of my favorite features is “Groups” however they never seem to get any traction. Not sure what to do about it. Quite frankly many of the features at the bottom of the home page are overlooked – but my favorites.
- 2. What features are hard to use/troublesome?
Not having the ability to “pin” top posts, welcome messages, guideline highlights etc. is a feature I would find helpful and useful. Conversations tend to get buried and difficult to access and retrieve. The search content feature isn’t easy to find and navigate. Better keyword function would help.
A tutorial on functionality would be helpful. Where to find information: FAQ’s, documents, blogs, etc. Identifying key areas of information and containing the information outside the conversation feed as in a “go to” format. Perhaps auto generated when a new member creates a profile.
What I find most troublesome is the ability of members to hide behind a keyboard of anonymity. Anyone: owners, managers, travelers or just someone random has the ability to create an avatar and post.
- 3. What features are missing?
Easy access to video content and other resources produced by HA. Webinars are a favorite method of content delivery (for me). Accessing the info on my own time and spending time digesting. Having the content available with active discussion Q/A would be an improvement.
Spotlight sessions with key product team members. When an active discussion generates “feedback” a huge benefit would be the product team weighing in and actively addressing the situation. I realize time is valuable (for everyone) however the good will created form “checking in and updating” would go a long way. “we heard you and this is what we can/can’t do”.
Interactive discussions and live presentations within the community. On such and such day and time there will be a live discussion on “listing copy”. Similar to the “lift my listing” process- live
- 4. What features do we currently have we don’t need?
Over load- Jive is a complicated platform (for me) there is functionality I’ve never used or attempted to understand.
Ambassadors, all stars and other designations. Often the designation is mis represented as being a "shill, employee, kool aid consumer or someone with super powers.
- 5. Anything else we should know?
Personally I would like the community forum to function like a private Facebook Community: News feed and the ability to turn comments off and on. Easy access to files and the ability to communicate directly with members. The DM function is cumbersome. The format is much friendlier following discussions.
Thank you for soliciting feedback and tolerating my BRAIN DUMP !
I second having the community NOT be made public. That certainly keeps me from posting anything too personal. Also, I know it was mentioned above about folks hiding behind anonymity, but in this day and age of cyber hacking I'm VERY hesitant about what I share. I'm sure I'm not alone in this.
Also, alot of the info on the tabs, such as Interacting with Guests, Get more bookings, new to renting, etc is VERY Dated. There are items that are from 2009! If I was a new person looking to glean info from a community forum, I would wonder how relevant the forum was, when so much of the content is from a previous decade.
1. What features do you like you best about community?
I like having a place to vent! I like that there is a representative from HomeAway participating and getting involved. Many companies rely on outside moderators not employees. I like the resource of talking to other owners and sharing information and experiences.
2. What features are hard to use/troublesome?
There are better forum software products out there. I've been out of the game so long I can't remember them, but there are easier to use platforms with more useful features. I like this style of forum more: https://www.greenhybrid.com/forums/ and Home Theater Lounge | Home Theater Forum and Movie Discussion Board - I really like how the 2nd one lists "new posts" down the right side.
I would like more "control panel" features. The ability to add more than just an avatar - include things like owner's location, property locations, other info about the owner (5yrs owner, 2 yrs on HA etc) that would display on posts not just if you clicked on a user's name and looked at their profile. I used to belong to a forum about cell phones and each user would specify what phone they had and it was displayed with their ID on each post. That helped when discussing certain features/problems.
Automatically quoting a post when you reply to it specifically (without having to then click the quote bubble).
The biggest complaint I have is that no matter what I do, the forum logs me out all the time and I always have to log back in.
I would also like it if there were more categories for topics. Everything seems to get lumped into one big group of topics. Something along the lines of "Payments, rental agreements and taxes", "reviews, responses, and thank you notes", "Promotion and Marketing", "cleaning, repairs, and maintenance", "Account, Software, Company and Website issues", etc.
3. What features are missing?
Perhaps a list of commonly asked topics or questions that have been answered? FAQ style. Files?
I like the idea of a place where HA could post updates, notices, changes, etc.
I also like the idea of a separate owners only section and a public section.
4. What features do we currently have that we don't need? I don't know. I don't use many features.
5. Anything else we should know?
Honestly, I would like HA to make some small changes to address the operation of the HA website/property listing manager first.
Oh, I just thought of a good one.... First of all, Erinn homeaway_community_manager, I know we have Customer Support to answer our questions, but frankly, YOU are a much better source. There are tons of threads and discussions here. I know you try to read every one but I'm sure it's not possible to be on top of everything. There are SOME things we DO need you to laserbeam focus on though. Can we come up with a better way to summon you to certain hot button issues, or, can there be a way to flag certain posts as urgent in nature?
1. I mainly use the forum. Very helpful, and a chance to contribute as well.
2. It is hard to track the additions since I last looked at a thread.
3. ohst8er mentioned Erinn is far more effective for forum participants than CS. I fully agree. Would HA consider turning the forum toward including a user group function? What I am suggesting is significantly increasing two-way exchange between HA folks and forum participants. I don't mean one-way communications via videos, etc that then garner feedback with no obvious reaction. Rather, engage the threads periodically as a matter of routine. And, maybe publish the CIP list here - with rough launch dates would be even better.