14 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2018 12:14 PM by ohst8er RSS

    Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!

    ohst8er Premier Contributor

      By way of example, if I go to my favorite online shoe store, or clothing website, and I want a dress for a wedding, or shoes to match, I can say... sort by black dresses and blue dresses, and most websites have been programmed to show me BOTH.  I pick out my blue dress, then I go to my fav shoe site and filter to show me heels in blue or taupe.  And I'm shown again BOTH.


      If I go on VRBO to book a vacation and want a VR that allows me to sit outside because I've been cooped up in the office for MONTHS, I see I have an option to click balcony and I also have an option to click patio/deck.  Gosh, I don't care, I just want FRESH air!  I'll click both options!


      And what you will be shown is VR's that have BOTH.  Only.  Meaning a VR that has both a patio AND a balcony.   Not a patio OR a balcony, which is what the traveler really was looking at, kind of like, I'd consider blue or taupe shoes, just show me both and let me decide.


      Think about that.  Your lovely condo with the view of (fill in the blank) from the back balcony will not show up in searches if the traveler ALSO clicked patio or deck.


      Yes, I did call CS, yes, they will "submit feedback" and yes, they DID encourage me to do so as well. 


      I also asked, "doesn't VRBO have a team that tests these things out, like Apple does with their iPhones?"  Answer, NO. 

        • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
          sapphiresteve Senior Contributor

          That is why in formal logic a distinction is made between an "inclusive or" and an "exclusive or".

          • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
            ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

            Boolean searching.

            • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
              feibus Senior Contributor

              That's a great idea, but how do you make it simple in the UI so that someone can choose whether its fireplace AND deck OR balcony AND washer/dryer?


              Been there, done that, easier to just limit the choices than to try to make the UI so complicated that no one wants to use it.

                • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                  bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                  Provide list of amenities that are used for filtering - the basics.  Then provide a list of amenities just for info and not used for filtering.  Filtering everything can be a disaster, as an owner can lose out by not offering one simple amenity like an iron.  Sad...very sad...

                    • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                      bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                      But this is why I never use the filters, and NEVER filter by date.  I scroll thru the listings knowing full well that the filtering system does not work.  So I look at all listings starting with ones with low listing numbers, then ones with great photos and then look at amenities.

                        • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                          As an owner you know the filters are not always accurate. Travelers most likely do not realize that so it is an issue that should be addressed. Most traveler enter dates and many filter for amenities that interest them, if properties are being eliminated that may be suitable that is a problem.

                            • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                              bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                              Guess I go to places that are less crowded so the choice of rentals is not that many.  It is easy to scroll thru all the listings where I go.  In fact, is is always a disappointment that there are not more houses for rent.  Sometimes only 2 to choose from. So that takes me to AirBnB and regional sites.  AirBnB usually has more to choose from, but harder to find info off platform.  Regional sites usually only have rentals run by PMs and they are usually run down.  Oh well...


                              I might add that we avoid crowded locations whenever we can.  So beach resorts are out as well as condos.  Everyone is indeed different...

                                • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                                  bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                  I might add that they only thing I filter for is "pet friendly".  Then I have to hunt thru the photos on listings looking for carpeted places.  We are tired of having to bring our own carpet.  We will do it, but it is a hassle. 

                                  • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                                    ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                    bobbie32, you have to step back and view this not as YOU would search, because this is not about you (or me, or anyone in this community).  You haver to look at this the way a traveler might search.   feibus it's easy, see my Zappos example below


                                      If a traveler looks in say, my area (and I'm not alone in this), they have over 6,700 listings to choose from.  How do you ever pick that one place?  Without filterable options the answer is, you can't, atleast not easily.  Searching by number of bedrooms doesn't work, that only cuts 6,700 down by "some."  I agree, of course I would not want to be taken out of the searches because I don't have an iron and ironing board, however #1 if the traveler feels they NEED this, and you or I don't have it then we aren't the place for them.....   And if the traveler doesn't CARE about an iron and ironing board, they just won't click it.


                                    But they do care about other things, pools, AC, Heat, laundry, near the beach, ski in and ski out, etc, and they will click those.


                                    One of my favorite shopping sites is Zappos.  They sell shoes and purses, and other things as well, but I love them because I can always find that perfect shoe.  What makes shopping on their site so amazing is I can do searches like this:


                                    Mens .. Size 8W, or 8.5W , Black (or) Blue (or) Red ..Adidas/Nike/Reebok  and they show me exactly that, every 8 and 8.5 wide mens shoe that is black or blue or red or have any of those colors in them, in those brands I selected.  




                                    Blue (or) Taupe, size 10, 2 inch, strappy, heels, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren......  you get the picture


                                    I might get 3 to choose from, I might get 33 to chose from.  The bottom line is, I can narrow THOUSANDS of shoes down to a subset of what I am truly looking for.


                                    If I choose Black and also choose Red for my colors, it doesn't show me JUST shoes that have black AND red in them.  That's not what I want!!  I also am not looking for a BLUE AND TAUPE strappy sandal, (though I will get shown those too)  What I am saying by selecting blue AND/or Taupe, or Black and/or Red is that I could be perfectly happy with any of those options, show me what you got and let me decide. 

                                    Back to talking about VR's,  I would argue that the majority of guests that just want a place to be able to sit outside don't really CARE if it's a balcony or a deck, or a patio.  So the search should be set so that if they click on Balcony and also click on Deck or Patio, it should show them all X bedrooms in their search area that have a balcony, deck, OR patio, or any combination thereof.  NOT, only locations that have a balcony AND a patio/deck, which is what appears to be currently happening.

                                    I would suggest that everyone take the time to search their own listing and their own area and see exactly how these different options work for, and possibly against, their own listing. 

                                      • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                                        bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                        I totally get what you are saying.  And I am indeed looking at this as the traveler, particularly these days since we are getting out of the VR business.  But my husband and I are still traveling and will book at least 3 to 5 vacation rentals, for 3 to 6 nights each time, this year alone.  Like I have said…I have been fighting the use of filters for over 20 years.  I would vote for no filters except for the basic issues.  I might change my mind entirely if a place stood out from the rest but did not offer all the features I like.  I like new adventures.  This is why I dislike the use of filters.  Some people simply do not know what they are missing by not scrolling thru the majority of listings.  But I should also say that I do not go to overly crowded popular locations because I hate crowds of people. So scrolling thru long lists is just something I would not do.  Which is probably why we live in the middle of nowhere. 


                                        That said…and I continue to say, that we are all different and you cannot put everyone into the same basket.  Some people are adventurous and will be more open to looking at different options.  Some people are closed minded and might be upset if they got a patio instead of a deck.  But frankly deck, patio, yard, or balcony should not be a filter.  It makes no sense.  But perhaps stairs, pool, spa or hot tub should be filters as well as the number of beds.  There are some things that would be nice, but not a necessity.  It is the basic necessities that should be filters IMHO.


                                        For example, right now because of current situation with an aging dog…my needs are…


                                        -Single story house or at least a 2 story with the master bedroom on the first floor.

                                        -Carpet or large area rugs in the master bedroom and living areas


                                        -Linens provided

                                        -Cell phone reception

                                        -Pet friendly

                                        -At least a queen bed


                                        Things I would like but are not necessities are…



                                        -Garage to park car

                                        -Outside seating area

                                        -BBQ, but rarely used unless clean

                                        -Microwave oven


                                        -King bed


                                        Bottomline is if I selected those items on my “like” list, I probably would not find anything to book.  I might also add that I might book a 6 bedroom home (for just 2 people) if it had my needs.  For me... it is all about the photos that help determine what I choose.  I really could care less about reviews, size and costs.

                                          • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                                            ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                            regardless of what the magic answer to filters is or isn't, if they are there, they should work correctly.


                                            By way of example, we have a SCREEN PORCH!  Where's our filter button?


                                            Unfortunately, since I already know these things don't work as they should I am forced to work within the confines of the system and click both balcony AND deck/patio, then put "screen porch" in my description, because if someone clicks both as filters  we are completely left out in the cold. 

                                              • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                                                bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                IMHO...They will NEVER work correctly since the developer is likely not an owner or a traveler.  They will never get it...sad...very sad...


                                                That said...since they will never work correctly they should be limited, with only the basic needs offered for filtering.

                                • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                                  timthek Active Contributor

                                  Well, I think that the filters are a tough call. You want to give travelers the choices, but at the same time it is tough to filter the filters. I almost think there should be a radio button for each filter instead of a checkbox. Like a "required" button and a "preferred" button. If the traveler clicks "pool" - required he only sees places with pools. If he click "pet friendly" - required, "pool" - preferred he sees only places with pools with pet friendly listings displayed first. Basically, some sort of ranking to the criteria. In fact, maybe not even a ranking, but ONLY show houses with the required amenities, but then in the listings displayed you clearly note which of the preferred amenities of offered for each place. That would be nice.


                                  As for the balcony/deck/patio dilemma.....While you say you ONLY care about outdoor space, I think the current filters setup is"OK". A patio or deck is usually a ground level outdoor space for dining, cooking, hanging out. A Balcony is an elevated outdoor space attached to the exterior of a building. I think a lot of people would differentiate between the two. If I was looking for a condo, a balcony makes sense but a deck or patio isn't going to be a private outdoor space. If I am renting a house, a balcony is probably a small little space where I can stand for fresh air or maybe have 2 little chairs and a cup of coffee. There is definitely a distinction, and while some people just want outdoor space, I think for most travelers there would be a difference and a preference.

                                    • Re: Balcony, or Deck?  Yes, please!
                                      ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                      timthek, the problem here is, everyone is going to go about this a different way.  You mention "A patio or deck is usually..."  When we use words that are vague it opens things up to interpretation.  I'm not saying I disagree with YOU, I'm just saying, there are interpretations.  I agree what you mean about patio, we had one when we were kids, it was a slab of concrete right on the ground with a cover built over it.


                                      At my own house, we built what we call a deck on the exterior of our house. It has railings all around it.   If it didn't and someone fell off of it they would plunge 6 feet down to rocks/earth below. And yet, the opening is at ground level.  So that essentially meets your criteria for patio/deck AND balcony, because it is also an 'elevated outdoor space attached to the exterior of the building."  We also have space we call a deck because it is off the main floor of the house, but it's elevated from the deck I mentioned previously.  I'm sure you figured out, our house is built on a hill.   All that to say, these filters become clunky when you try to make them fit everyone.   


                                      Our VR has none of the above.  We have a screen porch, which is elevated and attached to the exterior of the building, but you can also use it for dining and hanging out.  Many people use it as an extension of our main living area, when the weather is such that you can open the sliders off the back of the condo.   Technically I should not be clicking any of the above, which means that when folks click balcony or patio or deck they would NEVER see me.  I'm not about to do that.


                                      So, either we have NO filterable options for patio/screen porch/deck/balcony, OR, we have ONE filterable option that encompasses all of these, OR... we make all of these options an either/or option.  Because as it stands now, if someone clicks both buttons they are ONLY shown locations that have BOTH a patio/deck AND a balcony.  And realistically how many people truly are searching for a place that ONLY provides both? 


                                      I know it sounds like I'm just trying to be nit picky.  Really I don't care what they call any of the filters, so long as it does not filter ME OUT.    If someone specifies they need a grill, then I'm out.  There's nothing I can do about that, we are not ALLOWED to have grills.  If someone has to have pet friendly, or smoking available, again, I'm out, but those are both by choice.  If someone wants oceanfront, again not me, and not a thing I can do about it.   BUT if someone wants something I HAVE (me, you, everyone), and they can't find me/you/us because the search/filter  method is wonky, THAT'S A PROBLEM.