For those of you that are proponents of VRBO / HomeAway (including me), and have worked with their new toolset, what is your opinion? Personally, I am testing it and it seems to work very well and provides some very relevant information and help. So what's the "gotchya" I ask myself? My obvious thought is price erosion of our market. While it's nice to know the details of a competitive landscape, could they be providing too much information and creating a commoditized marketplace?
On the flip side, is this in response to Airbnb's tools? Are the rumors true about Airbnb, that your rankings suffer if you're listed on other sites? My gut is telling me yes and yes to both. I've seen a spike in VRBO/HA requests and bookings - including higher rates and returns - far too great to ignore. in turn my Airbnb has gone a little silent and my rankings are down for no apparent reason.
Let me hear you BP community.
I like the new tools on Homeaway. I was a beta tester so I have been using them for a while. These are free also unlike the Airbnb tools that they keep trying to get me to pay for.
I also am also getting much higher rates and way more bookings via Homeaway. I have been giving Airbnb a chance and have got some bookings along with a few five star reviews which still pales to my 60 plus 5 star reviews on Homeaway. I wouldn't be surprised if both major sites are penalizing you for having a listing on the competitors site. So far Homeaway is keeping my place full for top dollar, but if I do confirm my ranking starts to suffer for having an Airbnb account I will dump them like a hot rock.
The more analytics, the better. However, once again VRBO/HA seems to be copying Airbnb and faceplanting with the execution. The "premier partner" concept sounds like they were trying to follow the "super host" concept, But when I look at who has earned this designation in my area there is no ryme or reason. Professionally managed listings get it and I see other listings with no reviews or less than 5 star reviews who have it. when questioned,Customer service has scripted unsatifactory answers . I have read that they are penalizing listings who's prices on other sites don't line up with their HA/VRBO prices. Preposterous. My airbnb and VRBO pricing don't always align because airbnb meshes better with dynamic pricing. Sounds as if they are running scared, airbnb doesn't seem to care whats happening on my VRBO account. My airbnb volume continually increases , pulling even with VRBO this year and I would expect that trend to continue.
@John Underwood I knew you would weigh in and interesting comments and would be even more interesting to learn more about their road map for future development.
@William Leahy to your point, I don't disagree, HA is on the heels of Airbnb but as John indicated, how can we turn a deaf ear to higher returns? That said, it appears that Airbnb is becoming stronger in your market, while weaker in mine. Had you asked me a year ago that I would be in HA's camp I would have said "no". But something has changed and it hasn't been my listings, reviews, photos, etc....
Both players concern me and I believe we will always be looking over our shoulder as long as we are beholden to them. The good thing is that they both exist and are formidable competitors.
Thanks for weighing in!