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New fees for guests on vrbo/homeaway- please call/email to complain

New fees for guests on vrbo/homeaway- please call/email to complain

Old Mar 24, 16, 8:11 am
  #1  
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Unhappy New fees for guests on vrbo/homeaway- please call/email to complain

They are around 8% for guests, and it is affecting our business as owners on the site. We already pay $1600/yr for listing our vacation rentals, it's not like they're not making any money! The company made $369 million in 2014. I want to encourage owners and guests to complain to vrbo/homeaway, because this is really outrageous! There may be other postings about this on the site, I'm not sure, but many people are unhappy. We have also encouraged unhappy guests to complain. Here is the contact info: 877 228 3145, email is
[email protected]
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Old Mar 24, 16, 8:37 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by doraine View Post
They are around 8% for guests, and it is affecting our business as owners on the site. We already pay $1600/yr for listing our vacation rentals, it's not like they're not making any money! The company made $369 million in 2014. I want to encourage owners and guests to complain to vrbo/homeaway, because this is really outrageous! There may be other postings about this on the site, I'm not sure, but many people are unhappy. We have also encouraged unhappy guests to complain. Here is the contact info: 877 228 3145, email is
[email protected]
At 8% I would guess it is still a saving on taxes and fees due on hotel accommodations in some cities (destination taxes etc.)
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Old Mar 24, 16, 8:46 am
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As owners we are being ripped off- we already pay $1600 a year for listing two vacation rentals. The company is making hundreds of millions a year. Our business is down, and our guests are very unhappy. You can stay in a hotel if you wish, but if you would like the choice of a less expensive, owner managed, vacation rental, your choice will be less and more expensive if this continues. We pay plenty on our bed taxes, if that's what you mean. We pay 13.43% in Hawaii, and almost that in Big Bear Lake, CA (they have just raised their taxes 3% to about 12%). The cities are getting plenty. So, it's not like we're not paying our fair share, believe me. It will cost the guests (consumers) much more in the long run, if we don't fight this.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 8:49 am
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Switch to airbnb.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 9:20 am
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Moderator action: Please continue the discussion in the Budget Travel forum
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Old Mar 24, 16, 10:09 am
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I agree the fee is outrageous. We recently faced it when making a booking and found it applied only to the "book now" option. (I hope that's still the case.) As a workaround we submitted a reservation request to the owner rather than booking immediately and they were able to approve our reservation without the new add-on. A bit nerve-racking because someone else could have scooped the dates in the interim.

As a service/protest you could put a note in your listing telling customers not to select the book now option.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by Palal View Post
Switch to airbnb.
Consumers pay a fee to Airbnb too!
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Old Mar 24, 16, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by nonstarter View Post
I agree the fee is outrageous. We recently faced it when making a booking and found it applied only to the "book now" option. (I hope that's still the case.) As a workaround we submitted a reservation request to the owner rather than booking immediately and they were able to approve our reservation without the new add-on. A bit nerve-racking because someone else could have scooped the dates in the interim.

As a service/protest you could put a note in your listing telling customers not to select the book now option.
I list a vacation rental on VRBO. The problem with this workaround is that the owner is then blacklisted and their properties get pushed right to the very bottom of a search, if they are even shown at all. I got an email from VRBO last week that says if they see you completing reservstions outside of VRBO, they will penalize you in the above manner. They say it is because your response/booking rating with them goes down and they reward their higher rated owners but in reality, it is blatent punishment. I assume they would see you were doing this if you were blocking off your calendar but not showing any reservations going through their system. Plus, a lot of guests want to pay by credit card through Homeaway's payment system as it is a safe and secure way to pay and to do that, it must go through them and the fee is charged.

This is outrageous as we pay higher fees to be shown higher in the listings. So if I have paid for Gold, if they don't see my customers paying the booking fees but my calendar filling up, they will push me to the bottom of any searches, below the other tiers (silver, bronze) when I have paid more to be shown higher.

I am consistenly booked well over a year in advance, sometimes 18 months, and get an average of at least 5 inquiries per week, but I haven't had one single inquiry since the new fee came into effect.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 2:30 pm
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New fees for guests on vrbo/homeaway- please call/email to complain

I just reserved a Maui condo rental on Flipkey - no extra fee for the customer.
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Old Mar 24, 16, 7:09 pm
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We DO already use airbnb, and they don't charge us $1600/yr for our listings!

We are probably getting as many bookings through airbnb right now, as vrbo, but that is changing. And, airbnb is a bargain, because they don't charge us for using their credit card processing! They do charge the fee for guests, but we still get good response from airbnb. Our bookings are going down on vrbo. Guests are ticked off! Please tell your guests to write and complain to homeaway/vrbo, too (address and phone number above). The company makes a bundle of money off us already($369 million in profit/year), and are greedy for more!
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Old Mar 24, 16, 7:57 pm
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It's a business proposition. You are in business. They are in business. If you don't like the deal, don't take it. If consumers don't like it, they will book elsewhere.

That is all that matters. Complaining does not.
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Old Mar 25, 16, 2:30 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It's a business proposition. You are in business. They are in business. If you don't like the deal, don't take it. If consumers don't like it, they will book elsewhere.

That is all that matters. Complaining does not.
No, it goes beyond that. The deal was made and I paid the price. They've now arbitrarily changed the deal. As I said, we pay a price for a listing position in searches. The higher the price, the higher you show up in the listing when someone searches your particular property or location. This is what we paid for at the start of our annual contract. No conditions, no rules, just choices on how you preferred to do things but those choices were up to you - you got what you paid for. And it isn't cheap. Anywhere from ~$500 to $1,000 per year or more depending on the position and features you choose.

They've now changed the rules mid-stream where they rate you as an owner based on things like whether you use their 'book it now' feature, whether you block off your calendar for whatever reason (using your property yourself, for example) and them not getting a commission from it, whether you use their payment feature or paypal/checks etc. and so on. Their arbitrary rating system now determines, in part, where I show up on searches. None of those things used to, or should, affect the level of service, namely your listing position, that you paid for. Now, they do. So I pay more but end up at the bottom of a pile of other properties who have paid less than me because I choose not to enable immediate booking. Or because I choose to accept a check vs their credit card system. That's just wrong.

Not to mention that when we formed our contract with VRBO and paid our money to list, it was advertised to us as no fees were charged to the customer. That (among other things) is one of the reasons I chose them over AirBnB as I thought that more people would book on a site with no costs to them. And I was willing to bear the cost of that advantage myself whereas AirBnB is free to me. Now they've reneged on that.

I did not choose to do business with them under these conditions and I am no longer getting the service I paid for. So yes, I can leave when my contract is up but I am now at a disadvantage on other sites by virtue of being a new member with no reputation. A reputation I have worked long and hard to build on VRBO with years of stellar reviews.

Last edited by Finkface; Mar 25, 16 at 2:37 am
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Old Mar 25, 16, 5:00 am
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
....So yes, I can leave when my contract is up but I am now at a disadvantage on other sites by virtue of being a new member with no reputation. A reputation I have worked long and hard to build on VRBO with years of stellar reviews.
Do you suppose you could jump on Airbnb now and put in your listing a mention of your VRBO reviews while you are still listed by VRBO? I'd guess it is a major no-no to mention a different venue, but I thought it worth mentioning.
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Old Mar 25, 16, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Romelle View Post
Do you suppose you could jump on Airbnb now and put in your listing a mention of your VRBO reviews while you are still listed by VRBO? I'd guess it is a major no-no to mention a different venue, but I thought it worth mentioning.
I did list there as of last month but I'm kind of wary of AirBnB if you want the truth. Their target seems to be more short term (even a night or two) rentals from people looking for a really cheap deal regardless of the legality of the rental and/or how it affected neighbors etc. Or at least that was how it started out. I prefer longer terms, 2 or 3 weeks minumum but preferably a month or 2 or longer. And AirBnB really pressures you to list at very low prices.

I may be wrong but I thought at first AirBnB was more for budget travellers looking for a couch or a cheap room. Hence the pressure to keep rates low. Maybe it did start that way and has evolved to that plus the target VRBO audience now. I just know that there are a lot of illegal rentals listed on AirBnB and as a result, they are despised in a lot of cities, including my own (not where my rental is). It just seemed like not the type of renter I was looking for but maybe I need to revisit that opinion now that they have grown.
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Old Mar 25, 16, 5:12 pm
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I've no idea how typical I am as an Airbnb renter, but what I'm usually looking for is ~ 3-7 days for myself and one of my grandkids or sons. I like the whole house aspect as opposed to the single room aspect of a hotel. More personal space for everybody. I'll pay about what it would take me to get a 3-4* hotel in the area. Access to public transport is important since I usually would rather not rent a car. I always select the "whole house" option rather than the room or even shared room options. A working kitchen lets us have a lot of good meals at reasonable prices, while enjoying local produce.

I've also rented via VRBO and been happy with what I've found, but I end up with Airbnb most often.

The web site on Airbnb has always seemed easier to manage. I like being able to filter for number of beds. That sliding bar graph works better for me than the wide price range selection on VRBO. It always seems I'm wanting a price right at the top of one range or the bottom of another. And I like the Airbnb information on the host.

I think you are right that VRBO is more "up-market" than Airbnb, but I also think there are people using Airbnb that are looking for nicer properties.

Does Airbnb provide any statistical information? % of stays 2 weeks, 3 weeks, etc.? % of listings in different $ brackets?

I hope things work out for you. I agree it really isn't fair when somebody changes the rules of an agreement. It happens in industry too, when new management comes in and it can be like one has taken a job in a very different company.
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