Yesterday I received an "inquiry" for a week in August. I was very excited about it... now that schools are going back earlier and earlier, August has become a tough month to book.
I opened the inquiry and the question was odd. It was a question that someone would ask if they were already booked. The week was wide open. I thought at first this person might've clicked on the wrong listing by mistake, but before I responded I checked all my upcoming reservations and sure enough, there was a res in June for someone with the same uncommon last name.
I asked if she was with the June booking, and proceeded to answer her question, something about they were bringing one less person and wondered if the amount changed, and also when the next payment was due. Perhaps it was grandma, I really don't know, and it does not matter for the sake of this discussion.
What DOES matter is that harmless little "ask owner a question button" on our listing, is actually a "3 alarm fire button" on our end, requiring us to respond as immediately as possible, with an attempt to sell how wonderful we are and book the week, lest our competition do it instead and if we DON'T then it goes against our ranking metrics AND our marketplace feed will tell us "remember Susie Q?" She inquired with you recently but has not booked anywhere.
I brought this up on this forum probably 2 years ago because I saw it as a problem, and recall I was met with some indifference, basically, "what difference does it matter what the button is called, and why is it a problem to have to answer someone's question?" That situation I still remember, someone sent me an "inquiry" to ask whether we had an iron and ironing board. Except he wasn't an inquiry I could convert, he was a guest of one of my upcoming renters. My point was, and still IS, it may meet Webster's definition of the word inquiry, but does not meet VRBO's definition.
Well fast forward 2 years and here we are, with Ranking Metrics. NOW... the game has changed. NOW it matters that someone can click that little "ask owner a question button" and if we can't convert that question about an iron, or whether we get a discount because Aunt Sally can't come, then we are dinged.
So again I ask, what can be done so that a future guest, or the guest of a future guest, can ask a question without it counting as an inquiry that we did not convert?