12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 16, 2019 4:02 PM by ohst8er RSS

    Are we required to respond to inquiries ?

    georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

      As happens to many of us,

      a potential guest ...

      1. Sent an inquiry

      and immediately then

      2. Sent a booking request on another total thread.


      - I accepted the booking request


      I failed to respond to the inquiry, as the 2 separate conversatiions did not sink into my brain once the booking was accepted and completed.

      I called into CS to ensure that I would not be dinged nor "punished" for my failure to respond to an inquiry ( 4 day lag time until I saw it ) since the guest also completed a booking.

      CS told me that it matters not at all....that we dont have to respond to inquiries,  and that a non response, or delayed response,  does not affect any metrics.

      She insisted that we only have to respond to booking requests, and not inquries no matter how I rephrased the question and reasked the question and tried to get clarification about my failure to respond to the inquiry.



      ( This took place  at 8:48 PM tonight on the PP line ).

        • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
          linky17 Active Contributor

          Absent any authority whatsoever to truly answer your question: I'll venture that 'yes,' you should reply, even to double-duty people.  Willing to bet, too, that a 'hanging' anything might be construed as a -negative- in terms of your ranking/placement?  If only because timely communication is what sets some apart: even if it's just to say "see above/below" -- or -- "glad that my home will work for you!"


          You're a pro, and I know that what I've offered is not new to you.  Maybe Erinn will chime-in with the Absolute Answer? 

          • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
            hmmmm Senior Contributor

            I have had that happen several times...Ugh

            So, when I catch it, I just send a note, to let them know they have two separate emails or inquiries or whatever going.

            • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
              crcasablanca Contributor

              This is what I see on my Ranking Metrics as of now:



              So, CS is probably correct, for now.  But at some point this will change.  So I would always try to respond within at least 24 hours of an inquiry.  Sooner would be better but don’t lose sleep over it.

              • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
                koko Contributor

                From  recent experience I can tell that it will influence your ranking metrics. I tanked from 100% response rate to 86% and therewith in the overall placement. CS is simply not truthful when they say it does not matter. IT DOES.

                • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
                  homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                  Hi georgygirl1955,


                  What the Customer Support Rep told you is correct, at this time, as we have removed response rate from ranking metrics.  While not measured currently it's not a bad idea to respond to all inquiries anyway. Ultimately you still want to provide the best possible customer service to your travelers so responding to every inquiry, even if it's a duplicate is the right thing to do. So, to recap, response rate is not a measured metric, so not responding won't impact your ranking metrics, but you should respond to all inquiries in order to provide the best possible traveler experience.


                  Thank you.



                  HomeAway Community Manager

                  • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                    My first response to an inquiry states...


                    Sorry, we are out of the office and will respond to your inquiry as soon as we return to the ranch. 


                    It gives me time to get my so-called act together.  It works even though I usually respond within a few hours. 

                    • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
                      feibus Senior Contributor

                      Why would I think it's a bad idea to take Response Rate lightly just because it got temporarily removed from the metrics...?

                        • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
                          ohst8er Premier Contributor

                          +1 to what feibus said.  My experience of attempting to book VRBO, back in the days when owners weren't on the clock, was that I would send out maybe 10 inquiries.  Very few would respond.  Some would respond, eventually,  that they were not available, even though their calendar showed they were.  Some would respond only with booking requests, which later resulted in getting emails saying my first payment was due, etc.  Some would finally reply WEEKS later .


                          I tried multiple times, got nowhere, and instead switched to booking timeshares.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who experienced this.  When we first started on VRBO in 2015 we used to get multiple inquiries with simple questions, "Do you have a pool? How far to the beach? "ARE YOU AVAILABLE FOR X WEEK?"  You know, the kind of questions you'd send to 10 people hoping someone, even one someone would reply.   There's been alot of  changes on VRBO, and we've bantered around at length as to which ones have been good and which ones have been bad, but it's NEVER a bad thing that travelers can finally count on being able to get a response so they don't feel compelled to ask 10 different VR's if they are available for July 4th weekend, and crossing their fingers that someone will finally get around to responding. 


                          I know no one likes playing beat the clock, and I sure as heck don't like playing it when it's a traveler who's already booked and thinks they can just hit that "ask owner a question," button everytime they have a thought pop in their head, but let's sure not head back down the path where a traveler goes elsewhere because they don't trust the platform to ever get a timely response. 

                        • Re: Are we required to respond to inquiries ?
                          ohst8er Premier Contributor

                          Thought I'd revisit this thread to share an experience I recently had in attempting to find a place for a friend to stay.  As I've mentioned previously, I have attempted to book via VRBO several times but have never been successful, due to poor or no owner response .


                          On Friday evening I was helping a friend with a special request.  7 people, 2 big dogs, wanted a place close to us in July.  They've never been to Hilton Head.  I sent friend several links to various places.  A few I noticed were managed by a mgmt company I had not yet heard of, and those few had zero reviews.  I am usually a bit skeptical of that scenario, but the places were nice and took dogs.  I hit the "ask owner/manager a question button," and asked my question, I am an owner in your area, looking for 1-2 places for 7 ppl and 2 dogs, for a friend, noticed you have several places with no reviews, please advise.. friendlier than that, just paraphrasing here.


                          Got a canned response an hour later, someone will get back with you, our hours are M-S from this time to that time.  Ok, NP, I can wait.  Saturday rolled around and I got an answer to my question, it was because they were new to VRBO.  Makes sense.  So I gave them my story, here's what I need for my friend, 1 place or 2 works, etc.  I wrote it in such a way that they would know, this isn't a fishing expedition, I am genuinely looking for a place for friends, we are staying in our condo and they want to be close to us for the same weekend. 


                          I GOT NOTHING BACK.  That was Saturday, today is Tuesday, and no response.     So again, again I did not book with VRBO.  Now, to be fair, my friend DID, she found a place that suited her and booked via VRBO, but once again I'm left scratching my head.