20 Replies Latest reply: Nov 15, 2019 6:12 PM by calicalling RSS

    2019 Summit was great

    hickmanhideaway Contributor

      The 2019 Summit was a wonderful weekend of information, some conflicting information, but overall well worth the money!

       

      The venue was so much better than last year in Austin. No assigned seats, everyone in one room for the general sessions, and plenty of room in the break out rooms. The one-on-one areas were very helpful and the staff took their time to address your situations.

       

      A lot of what has been addressed on this forum was addressed in the general sessions or in the break out sessions. We learned a lot. Don't agree with everything, but so much was explained that it is easier to accept most of the changes.

       

      The food was fabulous, and the cowboy party was so fun. Even if the band was NOT a country band, not at all! And the fireworks were OHHH, AHHH, WOW!

       

      This year I didn't walk out feeling a bit pushed into Vrbo's new, confusing ideas. This year they really spent a lot of time talking about Market Maker and optimizing our properties profile to our guests. I still don't like Vrbo over VRBO, but I'm getting over it.

       

      Hoping next year will also be in my neck of the woods. Hoping Vegas. A hop, skip and a jump from Phoenix.

       

      If you have the opportunity to go to a Summit I would highly suggest you try to go. Great ideas to go forward with and met some wonderful fellow Vrbo owners and managers. And great staff, also.

        • Re: 2019 Summit was great
          ohst8er Premier Contributor

          I‘d love to go!  Maybe one day they’ll have one in Cincinnati.  Something like 60% of the US population lives with a days drive of Cincinnati, which would make it an awesome location! 

          • Re: 2019 Summit was great
            bonesxxx Active Contributor

            So what was addressed/agreed with respect to:

             

            • The HA payments debacle?
            • The hiding of prior guests' owner reviews?
            • *new* travelers with bogus "verifications'?
            • Inability for Expedia travelers to review their stay?

             

            Thank you for carrying our water HH!

             

            -Bones

              • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                hickmanhideaway Contributor

                Regarding your questions.

                 

                *   There were seminars on the payments issue and people were able to meet one-on-one with a rep about the payments and where they are in the process. We are already on the new system and with "Advanced" payments so did not attend these.

                 

                *   The other issues were not addressed in the general sessions and we just went to the sessions that were top on our lists of wanting to know.

                 

                These are the sessions we attended (color just means which day):

                 

                Search Insights: What Travelers Really Want

                The world of travel is constantly changing, and it can be a challenge to keep up with traveler expectations. With over 750M monthly travelers across Expedia Group, this session will explore the data insights we've collected on what really drives travelers to book and how owners can adapt.

                 

                Marketplace Dynamics: How to Stand Out

                Join Garrett Hope, Senior Director of Marketplace Design, to learn how you can improve your performance and stand out amongst the competition on Vrbo by leveraging best practices and marketplace tools.

                 

                Show Me the Money:  Using MarketMaker to Maximize Your Earning Potential

                Revenue management is a crucial component of your business with direct ties to bookings and revenue; however, principles and best practices can be complex and difficult to understand. Join us to learn key concepts that make management much easier.

                 

                Dashboard 101: Tools for Success

                Get an introduction to the Vrbo marketplace and the core tools to run your business -- including managing your rates, calendar, and settings within the dashboard.


                Dashboard 201: Grow Your Business

                Get a more in-depth look at the Vrbo marketplace and how to engage with the dashboard to maximize your success. We'll cover the importance of reviews, ranking metrics, virtual tours, and many other key features.


                The VR Regulation Landscape: Effective Advocacy in Turbulent Times

                Join Vrbo Short-Term Rental Policy Expert Ashley Hodgini for a presentation and discussion on the state of regulations across the nation. Learn strategies to shape the regulatory landscape in your community, what to expect from local and state governments, and how to stay involved.

                 

                 

                Unlock Your Listings' Full Potential: Live Workshop

                Go beyond the basics to learn the latest tools on Vrbo that will make your listings stand out to today's traveler. This session will feature a live review of listings submitted by attendees with tips to improve performance.

                  • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                    I am reading this and it looks like a cross between sales pitch rah rah rah  powerpoint presentation and guide for newbies... JMO.

                      • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                        calicalling Active Contributor

                        Definitely not my view having actually been there.

                         

                        There was a good balance of sessions for veterans and new users. In fact, most of the hosts I interacted with have years of experience and attend every year, although this was my first. (I did get the special bonus of going to the OwnerRez meetup with Chris, Paul and Ken on the first night... drank a couple of great IPAs, met some great people, ate some fantastic hot dogs and pretzels. So that might be coloring my experience a little, haha!)

                         

                        There were some basic presentations like "Dashboard 101 and 201," which I did not think would be helpful to me. But the ones I mentioned previously offered new content from outside experts (non Expedia) that can be applied to my work on all properties, on all platforms and direct bookings.

                         

                        On the VRBO-specific content, most interesting to me was:

                        1) the guest behavior and pre-book data presented in pretty much every session I attended. Sure, I can believe that I know everything and base assumptions on the behaviors I see in my tiny, 7 property microcosm, but there is a lot I cannot see, and I don't think I'll ever big enough of a big do to collect the kind of data that Expedia can.

                        2)  Being able to have direct access to 'higher level' VRBO personnel. For example, I met point people who are developing lots of dash tools that we do and will use, plus their bosses. I was able to communicate my concerns directly and have questions answered from the people who know. I also got to meet several of the admins on this Community and talk to some of them at length.

                        3) Seeing the intentional, short-range shift toward AI that will serve specific options to specific guests at specific times and for specific reasons.

                         

                        For the record, I am not a fan of AI. An example that was touted by leadership at Summit is Netflix. Once, I binge-watched a crime show with my son while he was sick. Now, my Netflix channel is all crime, all the time. Maybe I want to watch a chick flick. Maybe I want a western. Maybe my son should have his own Netflix channel. There are a lot of reasons that previous behavior might not predict future choices. But the reality is that I don't get to choose if VRBO uses AI to guide our futures on platform. But do I want to be as prepared as possible in understanding how and when they will do this? And what they hope to achieve so that I can make smart choices on how/when/where I list? Yes.

                          • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                            hickmanhideaway Contributor

                            calicalling, very well put. We did go to both of the Dashboard breakouts. The 101 was more informative. And we have been with VRBO for 9 years and this was our 2nd summit. Any staff member, low or high on the totem pole, was willing to stop and talk and listen.

                            • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                              u0999 Premier Contributor

                              " For example, I met point people who are developing lots of dash tools that we do and will use, plus their bosses. I was able to communicate my concerns directly and have questions answered from the people who know. I also got to meet several of the admins on this Community and talk to some of them at length."

                              Glad you like it. Personally (and I emphasize) - personally - I have little use of dashboard. Wish they just leave it alone, it's fine. Enhancing dashboard when share of vrbo bookings as percentage of total is falling is like putting gadgets and accessories on a car that has a sputtering and smoking engine. Looks nice but hardly does more than put a shine on a clunker. 

                                • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                                  calicalling Active Contributor

                                  Hi, u0999. Like it or dont like it, my job is to be able to use the dash to my benefit. Do I wish we could all just KISS? Yes, I'm a creature of habit and I liked it the old, simple way. And I don't like change, anyhow.

                                   

                                  *BUT* is it going back to how it was? NO. Are more changes coming? Almost certainly. So do I need to be able toantcipate changes, and use all the tools presented to me so that I can max my ROI? Yes. No reason to leave money on the table. Every reservation I get puts me closer to paying off all these mortgages (with all the benefits that will bring), not living on pins and needles wondering when the next ax will fall.

                              • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                                hickmanhideaway Contributor

                                Far from that. Although there were breakouts for every stage of VRBOer. Yes, I did come away with a bit more of a positive attitude than I went with. Not all that was talked about/addressed was happy news. But we learned a lot about the WHY.

                          • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                            calicalling Active Contributor

                            Totally agree.

                             

                            They did have a Q&A at the end, bonesxxx, and they had an all-day, everyday room staffed just for questions around payments, so attendees could have questions answered real-time. Sorry I didn't take notes on those, but I'm integrated so handle my own payments and didn't really find it as pertinent to me. I can get you a copy of the handouts they gave out it you want to PM me though.


                            There were some excellent presentations on safety and Universal Design, as well as Advocacy. .. Honestly, I think all the presentations and one-on-ones I attended were worthwhile. What I most appreciated was access to guest behavior data, though. I always know what I *think* guests care about, but its very helpful to have data aggregated and presented in a way that helps me convert more inquiries.

                            • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                              samantha_ha Contributor

                              Hi hickmanhideaway!

                               

                              I'm glad you were able to make it out to Summit! It was a whirlwind of a weekend but I personally loved connecting with partners all weekend. There was a ton of content that we want to make available to partners post-event, so stay tuned for some snippets of some of the sessions! Also, the feedback we received on-site was invaluable, so our teams are working through all of the details related to putting all of that into action where it makes sense.

                               

                              Thanks for posting your thoughts and I hope you can make it next year!

                              Samantha

                                • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                                  casitacynthiasantafe Contributor

                                  Samantha--

                                   

                                  Can you please update us on the restoration of our ability to collect the local taxes for which we are liable? The curtailing of this option is costing me hundreds of dollars per month.

                                    • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                                      samantha_ha Contributor

                                      Hi casitacynthiasantafe,


                                      Unfortunately, I personally do not work closely with the tax team, so I do not have details on this at this time. Upon some investigation, though, I have learned that some customers add a blurb about it in their House Rules then send them an additional payment request after they have booked. I understand this is not ideal and that each state/city/county has different requirements, so if you have specific questions, I advise contacting CS to chat more about it with one of our agents who have more information and may have other options for you.


                                      Best,

                                      Samantha



                                        • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                                          feibus Senior Contributor

                                          The problem is that CS often makes stuff up to get the caller off the phone when the question is complicated.  Better for Vrbo to just develop some messaging around this that makes sense and is helpful to owners.  So far... that hasn't happened at all.

                                          • Re: 2019 Summit was great
                                            casitacynthiasantafe Contributor

                                            Thank you, Samantha, for responding. But as Feibus says, CS is useless on this issue, which requires attention from someone much higher up.

                                             

                                            Wildiris referred me to this article:

                                            https://help.vrbo.com/articles/What-lodging-taxes-do-you-collect-for-New-Mexico

                                             

                                            And there I see that as of October 1, VRBO has started collecting Albuquerque's Lodger's Tax, in addition to the New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax which the company started collecting on July 1:

                                             

                                            "Albuquerque

                                            We collect Lodger's Tax & Hospitality Fees for all reservations in the City of Albuquerque under 30 nights. The taxes are remitted by us directly to the city. We began collecting and remitting in Albuquerque October 1, 2019."


                                            If they can collect it in Albuquerque, they can collect it in Santa Fe. And prior to July 1, there was a line which allowed me to collect it myself.


                                            Billing the traveller separately is out of the question. This would be a sure way to lose traveller trust and I will not risk that. It would be totally unprofessional and make both me and VRBO look very sketchy and deceptive. VRBO may be cool with that, but I value my reputation for transparency and honesty.