I'm sorry, Amanda, but ignorant fools at VRBO determine my competitors. When I looked at my Marketplace feed, I clicked on one of the "view competitor" buttons. It listed:
a six bedroom house, mine is a two bedroom;
a weekday price of $500, mine is $200;
a weekend price of $600, mine is $230;
the booking that I "LOST" included 6 adults and 6 children, my maximum occupancy is 6 total.
It is frustrating to see a VRBO statement telling me:
"Your competitor will increase in ranking"
martyp, Amanda is talking about your "comp set." I'm sure you already know these two things are completely different. I never give those "you won a booking, you lost a booking" things much more than a passing glance for oh, so many reasons:
the person may have always needed something bigger, but they clicked on your listing because something caught their eye
maybe they were a smaller group originally, but then it grew and they outgrew you
maybe they are thinking ahead to when they come to your area with a smaller group
and sometimes, the "lost a booking" is completely incorrect. Sometimes the person you lost actually booked WITH you. This has happened to me before.
But the comp set? We totally control that. Yea, VRBO sets who they THINK is our competition based on a variety of factors, but ultimately I decide who makes the list and who doesn't. Everyone is my competition, places next door to me, places down the street from me, places a thousand miles from me, even Aunt Dorothy's house is competition. Every single location on this planet that the guest may choose INSTEAD of booking my place is my competition. How do you compete against every place? You can't. Which is why it's up to each of us to maintain our own comp set, and not rely on algorithms to do it FOR us.
We have but one question to ask ourselves, why do we CARE about comp set? If your (anybody who is reading this) reason is the same as mine, so I have a feeling how to set my price relative to my competition, then that's all you care about, and the listings that should be in your comp set should correspond accordingly. For me, with a 3 bedroom 3 bath condo across the street from the beach it makes NO SENSE for me to have a condo ON THE BEACH as my comp set, regardless of the number of bedrooms they have, and regardless of whether I have lost a booking to them or not. If someone wants to cram a family of 6 into a 1 bedroom to be ON THE BEACH for the same price as my 3 bedroom, there's not a thing I can do about it. So, they are out, regardless of what the VRBO algorithms tell me I should be doing with them.
If someone wants to spend twice as much as my place for the same amount of space to be on the beach, again, not a thing I can do about it. Can't move my place, can't raise my rates to the same level as the oceanfront and expect to book. So, they're out, regardless of what VRBO algorithms tell me I should be doing.
If there's a condo exactly like mine in every way except they have one less bedroom? Out. Nothing about them matters to me, their prices will be lower than mine, so why let them skew the numbers? Etc, etc.
So once you go thru your exercise of weeding out your comp set and adding properties in, once you get your data to work with, take it all with a grain of salt. The guy next door bought when the market was hot and he has a mortgage, so his rates are high. The couple down the street bought theirs 20 years ago, it's paid off, and half the time they rent to their friends anyway, so their rates are soft. I see it every day, a $100 a night disparity in rates between two condos in the exact same complex. So you have those scenarios, then you have the people who just have no clue how to set rates. Or they build in their cleaning fee, or they don't charge tax (except that ends now that VRBO is collecting for us), etc. Tighten your comp set as much as you can, then use the data as a starting point for setting rates, but also, trust your gut. It's led you this far, hasn't it?