43 Replies Latest reply: May 21, 2019 12:09 PM by amanda_ha RSS

    Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible

    amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

      Premier Partners: Did you know you can use Boost to improve your vacation rental's search position?

      For those of you who have used Boost, we want to hear about your experiences using the product

      and how it helped you secure a booking. Learn more about how Boost works here. Read Boost FAQs here.

        • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
          u0999 Premier Contributor

          0 perceivable effect. It is my belief that  after having the obvious covered (reply to inquiries timely , accept bookings, have great photos etc) there is absolutely NOTHING a PP can do to improve their position. When all other things being equal, it is all up to the whims of mysterious and secretive HA algorithm which properties are picked to be "winners" or "losers".

          • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
            ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

            IMO, Boost is ineffective and I cannot get above the 300 mark.  In physical geographic reality, I compete with less than 200 homes in a five mile swath along a mountain ridge and backing up to a national park  HA search results for my tiny little hamlet are now approaching 3000, including properties that are 2-3 hours away driving time. 

             

            I have applied Boost with all points possible.  Does not get me into the first, second, third, fourth or fifth page of results.  Too time-consuming to keep coming back to see if additional points earned will get me higher in the listings.  My opinion is that this is a tool that will entertain the business VR owner with multiple properties who has hours and hours to spend figuring out how to "game" HA into placing their properties higher in the search results.  It is not for the owner of a second home who is hoping to offset ownership costs with some rentals.

            • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
              floridarob Active Contributor

              Not to be a disruptor, but why attempt to promote this feature, instead of first dealing with such fundamental questions as those raised here:

               

              Now totally confused about Boost!

              (THAT fully explains my experience using Boost.)

               

              And here:

              homeaway_community_manager wrote:

              Hi floridarob,

              Here's what we've said previously on this topic: We're aware that if your listing falls below the tops 1000 in your market then you're currently unable to boost.  We're working on a solve for this concern.

               

              So... how is the 'solve' coming? By the way, the word is 'solution'. 'Solve' is a verb, and 'solution' is a noun. [But why be surprised by this kind of bad English from the people who think V.R.B.O. is pronounced 'verbo'?] Anyway...

               

              Just look at the responses on this thread; no "Yeah, this is a great feature! I use it and really love it. It works for me!" Just... meh... (Yes, I know that's not a real word, but it fits!)

               

              Promoting something that I and thousands of others can't use like this is just rubbing salt in a wound that HomeAway opened up. It is rather like promoting a car for sale that usually won't start; but if it does, the doors fall off, the seatbelts come undone, and the steering wheel comes off in your hands above 5 mph.

               

              Why bother? Why not just fix the thing in the first place so it works properly? And is widely available? Doesn't it make sense to do these things before advertising it for sale? Why waste energy promoting something that admittedly doesn't work?

               

              Is it really so hard to understand that this causes frustration amongst your customer base?

               

              (With apologies for constantly appearing negative!)

                • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                  amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                  floridarob

                   

                  The product team is actively working on improving the functionality of Boost for properties falling under the top 1000 in their market. Updates or changes to the product will be announced once a solution is found. Thank you for your feedback.

                   

                  Amanda

                  HomeAway Marketing Manager

                    • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                      sward6880 Contributor

                      Hi Amanda

                       

                      I raised the issue mentioned by floridarob several months ago via Erinn with several follow ups and consistently received exactly the same response as you set out above  - sorry but its unacceptable to continue to kick this particular can down the road when it affects so many partners.   

                       

                      My market contains over 44,000 listings so the chance of appearing in the top 1000 of an unfiltered search is not great. 

                       

                      We need a time-frame for a solution please not a continuation of "we are actively working on it " etc ....... 

                       

                      My discussions via Erinn obviously came to end on her departure so I followed up with a copy of a quite lengthy e mail sequence to Unji Udeshi on 17 April.   I have not yet received the courtesy of a response. 

                        • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                          amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                          sward6880,

                           

                          We understand the frustration and we have heard your concerns. We are currently working on resolving this; however, at this time there is neither an update nor definite timeline for the resolution. We would like to be able to give you a date but due to the type of update, we would hate to set false expectations. Keep in mind that even though you're in a large market, as a traveler uses search filters it provides them a customized narrowed selection. You could be a traveler's #1 or # 50 depending on their selected filters.

                           

                          Thank you,

                          Amanda

                          HomeAway Marketing Manager

                            • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                              sward6880 Contributor

                              Again apologies but the issue raised by myself and others has been running for months.   From what you say fixing this is obviously low priority.  

                               

                              I am well aware that search position is narrowed when the guest uses filters ( as most do)  - but this has no relevance to the application of Boost.

                               

                              I was at present at the Austin summit when Boost was made available to all attendees ( whether or not Premier Partners) and for some of my listings I was (despite being in a cast of 44,000)  able to use Boost.   The top 1000 constraint was raised then,  so about SIX MONTHS ago,  and was well understood by the Boost team as something that needed to be fixed. 

                               

                              Given your colleague Unji Udeshi is not minded to respond to an e mail to him then I will raise two additional points here

                               

                              1.  We have two listings where it has never been possible to use Boost.   One of these listings is shown in the metrics screen (or was at the time of my first raising the point) as being ranked about 1400th (out of 44,000) ....  so its hard to believe that across all date ranges it never gets into the top 1000. 

                              2.  I have also noticed that for listings, where we have used Boost, nearly always the "boosted" date is no longer in the "top 1000".   Instead I see a "horizontal dash", but shown at a higher level than the non Boosted "dashes".     This suggests that the boosted position is not an absolute, but is relative.   So if the sort algorithm reduces the sort level of a boosted date then the lower level still takes effect but 'boosted' from the lower level.  Is this correct?

                              • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                floridarob Active Contributor

                                amanda_ha wrote:

                                 

                                ...Keep in mind that even though you're in a large market, as a traveler uses search filters it provides them a customized narrowed selection. You could be a traveler's #1 or # 50 depending on their selected filters.

                                 

                                Thank you,

                                Amanda, HomeAway Marketing Manager

                                 

                                Yes, that is true, that a traveller's search filters can effect how far one can end up in the search results, but that is 'normal' and is as it always has been ever since the various filters were introduced.

                                 

                                So let's remind ourselves; we are talking about the 'Boost' program here right? That IS the topic.

                                 

                                Well, I haven't yet seen this issue properly addressed, but the impression I keep getting from HomeAway staff is that they don't understand that the Boost program only is available for the top 2% of listings in a large market like Orlando. That search filters are completely irrelevant as far as Boost goes and how Boost works.

                                 

                                It doesn't matter one iota that properties will be boosted amongst a smaller group of properties based on search criteria/filters. Because as it is designed, Boost is simply unavailable to anyone with a market rank above 1000.

                                 

                                It doesn't matter that Boost would assist a filtered search, because an owner CAN NOT turn on the feature if their market rank exceeds 1000.

                                 

                                Honestly, when a HomeAway representative starts talking about filtered searches when the subject of Boost comes up, it convinces me that they don't know anything about Boost, don't understand how it works, and aren't interested in taking the time to learn.

                                 

                                It is most disappointing.

                                  • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                    planthealth Active Contributor

                                    Too bad the Boost program cant use a filter for those of us in larger markets. Like I have 2, 2 bedrooms. Boost for those VRs could be applied based on my competition 2 BRs.

                                    Yes, we all know it is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION, but we also know owners (er, managers) fudge (lie) about ocean proximity, so that would be rife with abuse, but BR count is pretty hard to mislead on. Would at least scale the # of properties down. My 1 BRs do not compete with 6 BR houses.

                          • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                            familyfirst Contributor

                            How far away can you "boost"? I'm totally booked for the summer and have points. Don't want to use them now unless I can highlight October.

                            • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                              tnmountainmama Contributor

                              It only can help if you can use it.  I book enough business with VRBO that I currently have 3646 power-ups available, but can't use any of them because I am not in the top 1000.  I was only able to use some for a couple weeks in April.  No more.  Thankfully, I am booked completely (every booking from VRBO) from the last week of May through the second week of September.

                              • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                calicalling Active Contributor

                                I've tried this several times on my properties, using a sort of A/B test of my own since I have several properties that are nearly identical. I can see no benefit to my bookings. Its a waste of brain bytes for me, so I've abandoned even looking at it.

                                • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                  planthealth Active Contributor

                                  I have 4 VRs, PP in 3 of the 4. I just bought my 4th in Feb and hope it goes to PP this month. IT IS THE VR I NEED A BOOST ON!!!! My other VRs are doing ok....

                                  • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                    kmcbhense Contributor

                                    Another completely useless vrbo tool. I"ve used boost, but my rank position hasn't changed one bit.  Needless to say, we have summer weeks that are still open, that have never ever been the case in 10 years. The end is near.

                                    • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                      sunsetsinmaui Contributor

                                      Not bothering to use it.  Spent time trying to figure it out and I gave up.

                                      • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                        amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                                        In response to many of your questions on the thread, we want to provide some clarity on how Boost works:

                                         

                                        • To promote fairness across the marketplace, partners will be able to boost the search position of each listing within a limited range that will enable it to stand out among competitive listings.  Boosts are not intended to send listings to the top of all search results in the market or to override the qualities that are critical to travelers in searching for and selecting properties to rent.
                                        • The earlier you boost, the longer your listing will stay boosted; however, it’s also important to keep traveler behavior and popular booking windows for your area in mind.
                                        • If the traveler’s search is for a single-day stay that exactly matches your boost, then your listing would be boosted a lot in those search results.  If the search instead is for a one-week booking and that single boosted day is included in the date-range, your listing would be boosted only slightly.

                                         

                                        See our FAQ page for more questions answered.

                                         

                                        Thank you,

                                        Amanda

                                        HomeAway Marketing Manager

                                          • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                            scottr Active Contributor
                                            • If the traveler’s search is for a single-day stay that exactly matches your boost, then your listing would be boosted a lot in those search results.  If the search instead is for a one-week booking and that single boosted day is included in the date-range, your listing would be boosted only slightly.

                                            The original description said that as long as a boosted day was included in a search, then the entire stay was boosted.   Is your statement a clarification of the original description, or a change in behavior from the original deployment?

                                          • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                            lindata Active Contributor

                                            I don't know that it is doing anything.  When I called VRBO, I asked them how it worked exactly.  Because when I logged onto the computer, I was NOT in the 1-5 place that my boost made me go to.  I was way at the bottom of the page.  I said does this get me to the 1-5 spot?  They said they couldn't answer that.  I don't get it, and I don't think it works.

                                             

                                            Why not go back to the Gold, Silver, Platinum levels instead?  Then we can pay our way to the top if we want to.  I had no issues with that.  Then I know where I am. 

                                             

                                            Also, what if I use all my boosts?  Then all the other owners can boost theirs ahead of mine.  So then I'm at the bottom of the barrel after 5 years of renting with 5 star reviews??? 

                                             

                                             

                                            I feel like owners jump through VRBOs ever-changing hoops, and we keep getting less benefits, not more.

                                              • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                                amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                                                lindata,

                                                In regards to position, you can always check the MarketMaker tool to verify the current average search-position of your listing, and you can compare current averages with those that showed “pre-boost.”  In addition, because the number of property views should increase as your listing appears higher in search results, you can also assess the effects of a boost on a listing by tracking the property views on your Ranking Metrics page.  Of course there are always external factors such as competitive listing boosts and market demand that will affect search position and performance, and it is always critical that you set competitive rates and maintain the high quality of your property, your listing, and the experience you provide to travelers; but all else being equal, you should be able to track and observe the effects of a boost via your HomeAway partner dashboard and MarketMaker tools.  And as always, please give us your feedback so we can continue to make improvements that help you succeed in your business. Thank you for sharing your experience, we will share this feedback with the product team.


                                                Best,

                                                Amanda

                                                HomeAway Marketing Manager

                                              • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                                patpat Contributor

                                                As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, I began to wonder why one of my properties had not booked by now. Since this property was new, I had boosted those Memorial Day weekend dates. So I searched to see if this property fell in the top 5 as it was suppose to. Well....it did NOT show up at all! I called CS, they tried the same and couldn't figure it out. Hopefully they'll fix it asap! But for now, I would beware of Boost!

                                                • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                                  patpat Contributor

                                                  My case is fixed and my property shows up on searches now. Yeah. Even without having this little glitch, I do believe boost is a gimmick and a waste of my time, so I will not be using it anymore. I wish HA/"verbo" efforts would be more concentrated on increasing market share, flooding media with spectacular advertisement instead of continual changes to the website that necessitate a workload on fixes.

                                                  • Re: Learn how Premier Partners can make their vacation rental more visible
                                                    amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                                                    We have shared the feedback with the product team.

                                                    Thank you for your feedback.

                                                     

                                                    Amanda

                                                    HomeAway Marketing Manager