24 Replies Latest reply: Jan 8, 2019 6:14 AM by georgygirl1955 RSS

    Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response

    fun2drum Contributor

      I'm a happy camper with HomeAway, and I use it exclusively to rent out my second home at the beach.  I play by the rules and I'm able to rent the house all I want to.  HomeAway is a large company with a smart marketing department.  That's why I have a hard time understanding why the default response to a general inquiry from someone checking on different homes is to pre approve them, block the dates, and start billing them for a reservation they didn't make.  I have made it a practice to always change the response to a simple reply and quote with no pre approval, but yesterday I used the phone app to respond because I was traveling for the day.  I changed the response from "pre approve" to "reply with quote" as usual, but it pre approved the inquiry anyway, sending a bill to the prospect.  Then it sent another one last night, and again this morning saying the payment was overdue.  He was only getting information on houses, never intended to reserve, and was understandably worried.  I had to apologize and cancel the "reservation".  Admittedly there may be something different on the phone app that I'm missing regarding changing from the default, but why would something so off-putting to our inquirers be the default setting in the first place?  If I were using a service looking for a vacation place and I started getting overdue bills from the places I simply inquired about, then I would never want to use that service again.  Is it possible for HomeAway to change the default for a general inquiry to "reply with quote" so that we're not automatically badgering them for money to pay for a reservation they didn't make?  Wouldn't that at least make some kind of sense?  Thanks

        • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
          twomoreyears Senior Contributor

          HA's metrics are bookings.  Period.  Not happy guests.  Not happy owners.  You can't measure happiness.  Wall Street rewards for financial performance, not on a happiness scale.

           

          Therefore, everything they do is engineered to drive bookings up - to change "lookers" into "bookers" before they leave the HA website.  They presumably tested this process in one of their A/B tests, and it resulted in more bookings.  Changing the default to just answering an asked question does not push hard enough to get someone to book, so I suspect it will stay this way.

           

          I'm with you - I try to run the rental of our home as a business, but our business model is designed to match the guests with our home and based on excellent service.  Therefore, I do not want hard - core sales techniques.

          • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
            bobbie32 Premier Contributor

            I won't respond until I am at a computer.  I simply no longer trust the system and have to carefully choose what I click on.  I now have to travel with a laptop or block all dates. 

            • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
              ohst8er Senior Contributor

              fun2drum, that's odd.  I went into an inquiry from the app on my smart phone, just now to test this out.  Mind you, it's an old inquiry, so perhaps I don't have all the options to choose from that I might from a brand new one.  I clicked reply and there's a quote, with an x by it that I can remove, then there's the option to add request payment, and an option to add attachments.  If I get rid of the quote I just have the blank message screen, then once I type my message I can just hit send.  There's not even an OPTION to do a pre-approval.

               

              When I reply on my laptop the default is to "pre approve with quote" and I NEVER do that.  Well, almost never, a few days ago I had sent an edited quote for the month of February, told the traveler they can just click the "request to book" button in the email.  They did just that, but the rate they were given when they did that was the original rate, before the discount for the full month.  (that's an issue for another thread though).  So at that point I sent a pre-approve, but only because I needed to push that revised quote to him (thought I had did that when I sent him the revised quote), and also because I KNEW he was trying to book.  Unless a traveler messages me and said "I tried to book but...."  I won't use that default! 

                • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
                  mtnmama3740 Contributor

                  I've cracked the code.

                   

                  ohst8er wrote:

                   

                  fun2drum, that's odd.  I went into an inquiry from the app on my smart phone, just now to test this out.  Mind you, it's an old inquiry, so perhaps I don't have all the options to choose from that I might from a brand new one.  I clicked reply and there's a quote, with an x by it that I can remove, then there's the option to add request payment, and an option to add attachments.  If I get rid of the quote I just have the blank message screen, then once I type my message I can just hit send.  There's not even an OPTION to do a pre-approval.

                   

                  The reason you aren't seeing the issue is that you didn't select a template (e.g. "Default Available").  That's when the quote and payments are populated.

                   

                  Here's what I successfully did to reply with my "available" template with a quote, but without payment requests....

                   

                  Click Reply

                  Select "Default available" from templates

                  Click “Request payment xx payments”

                  Scroll to bottom of payment schedule

                  Click Remove Payment Request

                  (Now you see the quote)

                  Edit the quote or not and select "Attach to Message"

                  Now when you click "Send" only a quote and no payment requests go out.


                  I confirmed that there is no tentative reservation on my calendar, and no copies of payment requests in my inbox.  Lot o' hoops but better than waiting for a PC (in which case I might forget) or simply replying to the email (which doesn't contain the quote or my standard template).

                  Success!

                • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
                  green_mango Active Contributor

                  Thanks for sharing - I never pre-approve anymore because I don't want guests to get inundated with reminders to pay & when a pre-approval times out it counts as a cancellation in the metrics....  so now I know not to reply from my phone - yikes! 

                    • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
                      greggt Senior Contributor

                      Plus two other things, if you don't convert it to a booking it counts as a cancellation and it books all your other Availability Calendars for those dates.

                      • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
                        fun2drum Contributor

                        Well, I would like to think there's a way to do it on the cell phone without pre approving, but after this experience I'll stick to the PC (and I'll use extra care with even that).  It's not just an inconvenience for this to happen.  When I'm signed up for booking I don't even see what positive difference it makes if I pre approve anyway.  If they want to rent, they just go ahead and book the house, then I approve it - so easy.  A false reservation by pre approval just ends up as a cancellation  because the "reservation" was never supposed to happen.   Okay, I know it's probably never going to change, and I acknowledge that I need to be more careful, but I appreciate the chance to vent a little here with you all.   

                      • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
                        rinaldomoon Senior Contributor

                        I don't sync any of my calendars with any sites.

                         

                        Question... why do it? does the convenience out weigh the problems that arise?

                        • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
                          georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                          THE ANSWER IS:

                          1. Don't sync to any other sites

                          2. Get a laptop and a phone that tethers together via bluetooth so your phone provides and internet connection to your laptop. Do all your work and answers only on the laptop.

                          • Re: Pre Approval of Reservation as Default Inquiry Response
                            mtnmama3740 Contributor

                            This frustrates me to no end, too.  I'm going to stop using the app to reply and wait until I'm on a computer.  It's especially bad when the guest inquiry is to ask if they can break the house rules (e.g. hold an event, bring more people than max, bring cats).  I reply "no" and then pre-approve them and send payment requests.  Mixed message!!