42 Replies Latest reply: Nov 26, 2018 3:23 PM by ohst8er RSS

    Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!

    ohst8er Senior Contributor

      VRBO has recently added some new boxes to check on the owner's side.  Go to PROPERTY>EDIT PROPERTY>AMENITIES  and you will find boxes like Ice maker, Blender, Soaps, Shampoos, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.  Make sure you look thru the whole page and be sure to click the boxes that apply to you!

       

      I did not see any corresponding filters for these on the traveler's side yet (I still don't quite understand how these two pages sync with each other, some boxes have a corresponding match, some do not and never have)...  still you want to make sure you have all your i's dotted and t's crossed! 

       

      I am nothing short of AMAZED how many of my competitors simply aren't paying attention.  If I search 3 bedroom 3 baths in my tiny area of the island there are 193 options, yet when I click ONE filter, "Full Kitchen," 108 of those listings drop off from the search! 

        • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

          Thank you for the heads up!!!

          • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
            feibus CommunityAmbassador

            and I think they finally standardized my two properties for the amenities list.  I used to have different items on each property, now I do not.

             

            Thanks for the heads up, ohst8er!

            • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
              bushmeadowllc Contributor

              Thank you very much.  I check our listings usually twice a week and this one got by me.

              BTW???.  Can the HA/VRBO teams possibly add these changes into the "Discovery Hub" news and updates??? 

              • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                treeguy Contributor

                Thanks for the heads-up.

                As I was checking out the new options I came across this one:  kettle

                My first thought was a massive iron pot suspended on a tri-pod.  But maybe it is in reference to a dutch oven or large cooking pot.

                What do you all think?

                • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                  bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                  Great!...So that means that if you do not have an ice maker that the guest thinks that would be nice, you lose out.  If the traveler can filter by amenity it can really hurt.  I hope that is not the case.

                    • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                      margaret CommunityAmbassador

                      Yes it is the case, the traveler can filter by amenity, that is why ohst8er is posting that we should be sure all amenities are checked off. I am also not sure the amenity filters are working correctly. I have the same amenities checked in both of my properties but when I test on the traveler side, some searches with certain amenities chosen only show one of my properties.  

                        • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                          bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                          Ridiculous...so a traveler may lose out on a great property because they checked all items that would be nice, but not necessary.  I fought filtering for amenities (beyond the basics) for years for our local destination site.  Ironing board is a good example.  Most people don't need an ironing board for a short 3 night stay, but they just might check it.  Way too bad...

                            • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                              ohst8er Senior Contributor

                              Meh, I just can't get worked up about that stuff.  We DO have an ice maker.   We DO NOT have a BBQ (not allowed in our complex), and we do not have a hot tub or a jacuzzi.  I have had people ask me about a BBQ, and when I say we do not have them, they move on.  I can't have what I can't have, and stewing about it gets me nowhere. 

                               

                              There are over 7,000 listings in my area, and it IS actually possible to filter so thoroughly that there are only 12 properties to choose from.  You could probably filter down to 1, but the system stops letting you filter.  I don't have a problem with people being able to be that specific.  I'd rather someone book what they want than book my place and THEN say, "wish I knew you didn't/couldn't offer that."

                                • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                  bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                  I have no problem with listing amenities in the description.  I think that is a necessity.  But filtering for amenities, I think is ridiculous.  Sure I would like a dishwasher, but when it gets right down to it other things are more important, like views, stairs, number of bedrooms for most, pet friendly, etc.  But hairdryers I cannot see the importance.  Most people travel with a hairdryer.  Most people travel with basic things.  And many people travel with their own pillow.  I just think it is shame that someone loses out because they chose to filter for something that would be nice but not necessary, like an ice maker.  I never filter when I am looking for a place to stay except for pet friendly and only when that is necessary.  I go by photos and that is it...no reviews...just photos.  Glad we are all different.  

                                    • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                      ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                      bobbie32 people travel with hair dryers IF they have to, and they leave them at home when they can. As an owner they are SOOO inexpensIve to provide for your guest, and a nice convenience to have, especially since many have been conditioned that they no longer need to travel with them.  If you don't already offer them in all your bathrooms it's something I would certainly consider doing.

                                        • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                          bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                          We have offered a hairdryer since 1995.  Some get broken and some get taken.  But most often people bring their own.  We are in an area where we are just one of the destinations as part of an extended trip...3 nights here, 3 nights there and 3 nights in the city, etc, so one may never know what they are being offered at the various places.  I always travel with a hairdryer and never use the one that is offered, in a hotel or VR.  Guess we are all different which is indeed a good thing - makes the world go round.  But my point is I would never even consider choosing a home based on whether to not they offered a hair dryer.  There are much more important things to consider, so why filter for the small stuff. Listing the stuff is important, not filtering for such. 

                                           

                                          A pizza wheel in something I would love to see in most homes, but sadly it is not usually included. So we always bring our own. I could go on and on, but I hope you get my point that it is the basics that should be included when filtering.

                                        • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                          planthealth Active Contributor

                                          I swear some of my guests dont read the listing or look at the photos. I try to put all the info I can and still.....guests arrive assuming one thing even where my VRBO listing and my contract and our email say something else. Mindboggling. I cant see my guests filtering for anything.

                                            • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                              bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                              Way too bad...but that is usually an inexperienced traveler like those that use AirBnB.  We now have a "what to pack" list that has over 100 items and just recently added a carbon monoxide detector.  I do not know what I would do without our list as it make packing so easy.  And yes, I agree that people don't read and that is the type of guest I do not want. They arrive and expect the world.  Again an inexperienced traveler IMHO.

                                               

                                              The problem I see with filtering for minor things is people might lose out on a great rental when could have done without some minor thing.  And how far will HA take it?  Are they trying to set the standard for all vacation rentals so that all offer the same thing?  They ought to take a survey as to what owners feel is important to offer, and for instance, pick the top 10 things for filtering.  Owners know what is sought after most often.  Website developers usually have no clue.  They think it is neat that people can chose from so many options not realizing that they are messing things up, and that a traveler might miss out on a great rental that meets 90% of their needs.  Enough said...as I have said, this is something I am very passionate about and has been something I have fought for years.

                                                • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                  While I agree that some travelers may filter out great properties, there are some items that may be very important to the traveler. I use filters when I book a  place whether it is a hotel, resort or VR. There are certain amenities that are deal breakers for me and I don't want to have to wade through hundreds of  listings that I won't even consider. I would guess HA and other sites use traveler feedback for what to add to the filters rather than owner feedback. BTW what makes you think those that use ABB are inexperienced travelers? I have been listed on ABB for many years and I have not had that experience. I don't find any difference in the guests I get through ABB than those who book through HA/VRBO. That could be due to my location, it is not an area that attracts the young, party crowd.

                                                    • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                      ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                                      margaret, there ARE some things that are "must haves."   Agreed.    I think that most owners, when they look at the filter list, they say "yay" when they CAN click it, and darn, when they can't.  Unless it's skiing/snowboarding when you are a beach destination, or watersports when you are a ski destination, etc.  Anything that gives me an edge over the other 7,000++ listings, or at least, keeps me keeping up with the Joneses. 

                                                        • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                          Yes, I also check off all the amenities that pertain to my properties or my area. I have found similar results to yours, some listings that are in my area disappear when certain amenities are checked, although I know those amenities are available. I think this could be because the amenities list has changed over the years and has not always been consistent on all listings. Both of my properties now appear to have the same list of amenities but until recently this has not been the case.

                                                        • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                          bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                          IMHO, travelers that use AirBnB are usually not as experienced as those that have used other methods for booking long before AirBnB even came on the scene.  I follow the AirBnB forum sometimes, and hosts comment on what type of guests they typically get.  So I have gone by that.  We have not had many guests that have found us using AirBnB probably because we are way too expensive.  But the few that we have had, were inexperienced travelers that were new to renting vacation homes.  They had no clue as to what they booked and what to expect.  I agree...that maybe it is the location.  We are in a "bucket list" location and not a family vacation location.  Locations are indeed very different, particularly east coast and west coast.  I have never booked a home on the east coast, only west coast, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Australia.  Thus, my experience might be very different than most. 

                                                        • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                          ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                                          A what to pack list that has over 100 items???  i just sent my 12 year old on a camping trip for school and it had 30 "must have" items on it.  ONE HUNDRED??  Can I ask what sort of things you require guests to bring? 

                                                            • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                              bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                              This is MY packing list and has nothing to do with what our guests might bring. It is what we feel we need to take when booking stays at vacation rentals...like TP, disposable washcloths, paper towel, soap, shampoo, pizza wheel, fresh sponge, lighter fluid for removing pitch, wine glasses, aluminum foil, handheld vacuum cleaner, swiffer, and on and on.  We have been adding to the list for a very long time.  We have been renting vacation homes for 40 years and we never know what we will be missing and we hate to have to keep buying everything while on the road.  So we take necessary supplies. Frankly I do not trust what is posted on a listing as the item might be missing when we arrive or might be broken. We want a hassle free stay so we pack the car with everything we will need. So this is just what my husband and do.  We also have a list of things to do before we leave like stop the mail, close the blinds, turn on the radio, set timers for lights, etc., etc.  We are indeed all different....a good thing...

                                                               

                                                              I might also say that the need to make lists all started with our back-packing adventures when we were younger.  You quickly learn how important it is to plan ahead. You cannot run to the store when you need something that might be lifesaving.  You learn to trust yourselves and no one else.

                                                                • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                  ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                                                  Dang!  That’s already a lot of stuff to schlep.  I hope you stay for months.  

                                                                  • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                    swlinphx Premier Contributor

                                                                    If a place says they have a spatula and you're afraid that it may be inaccurate you can simply show that to them and they will replace it or you can buy one for $1 at Dollar Tree and leave it behind (or take it with you).  That seems easier than second guessing everything they list and worrying it won't be there and then packing tons of extra stuff.

                                                                      • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                        bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                                        Places we go don't have a dollar store.  Most of what we haul right now is for our 14+ year old lab.  She has special needs to get up and down stairs, and non-slip runners for floors, and of course, a swiffer and hand-held vacuum cleaner for her dog hair - we leave a place spotless!  Our list includes all of our clothing items, medications, hats, gloves, chains, wine, champagne and glasses, backpack, camera equipment and lens, binos and scope, tri-pod, cooler, etc., etc, etc.  It is a great list - don't know what we would do without it.  We haul all of it, including a very large dog crate and dog bed, in a 4-runner for a weeks stay.  We do what we have to do. 

                                                                         

                                                                        I do not have a spatula on the list...I could do without one. 

                                                                      • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                        planthealth Active Contributor

                                                                        As an owner I am afraid to say I offer stuff because I cannot inspect after every visit. We try to get to our VRs every 6 weeks, but it is 8+ before we can get to them in the summer time. We instruct our cleaner to put out a roll of TP so arriving guests at least can use the facilities before unpacking, but we caught her once (in 3 years) where there was none. I have wine glasses, but have found one missing when I do an informal inventory check (vice my annual actual inventory). I have beach chairs in the condo but do not advertise it, sometimes they grow legs and walk off. So I try to under promise and over provide, hopefully that provides a satisfied guest.....

                                                                          • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                            twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                                                                            planthealth - I have in my contract that we advertise our available amenities in good faith, but shall not be held financially responsible if they don't work or are missing.

                                                                             

                                                                            I understand this puts us at risk of a bad review if something is missing.  So if the guest is particularly concerned about an amenity (such as binoculars), I have the housekeeper check to be sure it is there before they arrive.  If it's missing, I let them know and the guest can either bring their own, or I'll ship it to them and let them take it with them and leave it there (we're a fly-to location in the Caribbean so it can be hard to get replacement items quickly from stores on-island).

                                                              • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                swlinphx Premier Contributor
                                                                Ridiculous...so a traveler may lose out on a great property because they checked all items that would be nice, but not necessary.  I fought filtering for amenities (beyond the basics) for years for our local destination site.  Ironing board is a good example.  Most people don't need an ironing board for a short 3 night stay, but they just might check it.  Way too bad...

                                                                I must say I'm having trouble following your logic unless I'm missing something.  The traveler isn't forced to click on a filter, they only click on it if it is a deal breaker and they don't want to see properties that don't offer a specific item or amenity.  So what is the harm?  I don't see what you are objecting to.  It seems you are annoyed with the traveler who may consider an item a must-have or deal breaker, but this has nothing to do with HomeAway or their filters.  No one is forced to click on any filter, and if they do it is the traveler who insists.

                                                                 

                                                                ...if I'm misunderstanding let me know.

                                                                  • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                                    Sorry...I disagree.  I think a traveler selects what would be nice, but not a deal breaker.  If it was a deal breaker, then I would agree.  But take for instance a microwave, they think it might be nice...but a deal breaker???  And there are other things that would be nice, but not necessarily a deal breaker.  Another example might be a king bed.  I would likely select that, but would be willing to accept a queen.  I have seen friends use the site and they click on everything that would be nice.  Then I tell them that they might miss out on a great rental if they continue to do that. They have no idea what they are missing.

                                                                     

                                                                    Edited to change hairdryer to microwave, since hairdryer is not a filter item on HA/VRBO - thank goodness.  But I have seen a hairdryer as a filter item on some OTAs. And what if they only select cabin?  They might miss out on the cottage or chalet since that is what the owner chose to call it.

                                                                      • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                        ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                                                        So if someone misses out on something, they miss out on something.  It's like buying a car online.  Pretend you are a car buyer.  If someone searches for EVERY car that is say, 2013 or newer with 50k or less miles you will be so inundated with options it will make your head spin.  So you start to go down the list.  Power windows a must.  Power seats, hmmm, yea, I might like that.  Colors... ok, I HATE black cars, and white cars, too hard to keep clean, but I'd love a red one, or a green one, or etc etc.  Hmmm... I'd love a sedan, I don't want a truck. Heated seats??  I had no idea there was such a thing as heated seats!  OMG I live in Vermont, I'd LOVE for my seats to be heated.   Do I want a VW?  hmm, maybe.  Do I want a Nissan?  Goodness no!  My Aunt had a Nissan once and she had nothing but problems.  Ford yes, dad says those are good cars, GM, no, I had one 10 years ago and had nothing but problems.  

                                                                         

                                                                        click, click, click, click, click...

                                                                         

                                                                        This is just an example of one person's thought process.  The next person will have an entire different method.  Do they miss out on something?  Yes, lots of somethings.  But, they narrow down to things they want.  If they find they cannot AFFORD heated seats, and heated mirrors, and all the fancy gizmos, they can slowly click those off.  OR, if they find that they have outpriced themselves, etc.   But ultimately what they will GET is what they want, at a price they can afford, with possibly some extra bells and whistles they didn't even know they couldn't live without.  

                                                                          • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                            bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                                                            Gotta said…that obviously I am not normal.  The only filter I click on when trying to find a place to stay is “pet friendly” when we travel with our dog, which is mostly what we currently need to do.  But if that was not necessary, I would never click on any amenity or filter item.  I go by photos - period.  I am looking for that special and unique place and I really don’t care about the amenities since we typically bring what we know we will need.  I really don’t care about reviews.  We have been renting vacation homes for 40 years. Have I been burned before?...Absolutely due to false advertising and fake reviews.  I want special, special, special, special or out of the ordinary.  We have booked places for just the 2 of us from $100/night to $500/night.  I do not care about size.  I do not care about convenience, so a place could be in the middle of nowhere, which is why 30 years ago we booked the place we ultimately purchased.  I do not like the normal popular locations because of noise and crowds of people.  Can I tell that a place will be noisy?…only if I can see the proximity to neighbors via maps and google earth.  I go by the published population for a given area to determine crowds.  And I stay away from areas that have 1,000 rentals to choose from, unless the area is really spread out.  On second thought, I would use a filter for "quiet location”.  But I doubt if that will ever become a filter, due to increased population. 

                                                                             

                                                                            We are all different and I know that the way I search is not the norm. Are there others like me?  Don’t know.  But I know that people that ultimately found our place, searched the way I typically search. They were looking for that special place and could have cared less about the amenities, even though we offer many.  They found our place at the very bottom of the list.  And now we no longer list on the various sites, except for maybe 14 nights a year until we sell.  It has been a good run.  But we will continue to book vacation homes when we travel to who knows where.  Enough said....

                                                                          • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                            margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                            I have hairdryer as a filter

                                                                  • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                    susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                                                                    How hard is it to send an email or include changes such as these in the monthly report? I appreciate all the help and heads up from members of this group but HA is not a grass roots organization. Better communication from HA, please.

                                                                    • Re: Head's up Peeps, there's some new amenities boxes to check!
                                                                      homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                                                                      Hello Everyone,

                                                                       

                                                                      We wanted to respond to this thread to provide some clarification. First, the updates were to add amenities that travelers look for and are available at many properties. This was done so these amenities will appear on your listing and travelers have a clear understanding of what’s available at your property.

                                                                       

                                                                      Second, not every single amenity becomes a search filter, so the amenities page and the search filters page will never match completely.  That doesn’t mean those amenities are not searchable as key words.

                                                                       

                                                                      Search filters are created for the most popular amenities based on traveler searches.  Travelers can search by keywords, so we can correlate which words are searched most often and add those as search filters or remove ones that are no longer being searched. We strive to keep search filters current and relevant. 

                                                                       

                                                                      It is NOT a good plan to just check everything because you’re then creating a poor traveler experience. As an example, if a traveler is booking your property because you have a high chair and crib indicated as amenities and they show up and you don’t have those things, the traveler is not going to be pleased.

                                                                       

                                                                      We have announced this change in our Recent Updates section of the Discovery Hub.  Thank you!

                                                                       

                                                                      Erinn

                                                                      HomeAway Community Manager