Homeaway Reviews Property Managers & Owner Complaints

Blog Inner

Experts Answer Questions Free

Please leave this field empty.captcha

Worst HomeAway Reviews|Co-Founder Confronted By Complaints From Managers

 vrbo monopoly brain sharples of homeaway

Homeaway.com Worst Reviews Ever From Property Managers

 

Above is a snapshot I took from the HomeAway website, notice the image in the background, is Brian Sharples telling us what their strategy is… to create a  vacation rental monopoly called the VRBO-OPOLY???? LOL

If you’ve been keeping up, you know I wrote a very popular blog titled “Will You SOON Be Paying More To Advertise On HomeAway” This post has received a ton of interaction from all the top players in the VR industry.

My blog caught the attention of Carl Shepherd  the Co-Founder of HomeAway. Carl and I went back and forth on several heated topics.

Later the COO of HomeAway Brett Bellm joined in the conversation as well.  Some of the names who joined in this hot topic were; Steve Trover of All Star Vacation Homes & Tracy Lotz of LiveRez, RichardVaughton and Alan Egan of B+4G. 

The discussion has been active for weeks spread out over several social networks and the conversation is still going. With this level of interaction, it’s arguably the most talked about blog in the industry!

I’ve included below all of the comments that took place behind closed doors, where owners couldn’t see.  Please help us to get the word out about this by sharing this blog online.

I hope that through this I have demonstrated to you how powerful one single blog can be!

I expect this conversation will continue further as it does, I will update this blog page.

So get the popcorn and watch as the drama unfolds.

 

Real Homeaway Reviews & Complaints From The VRMA Group

 

Carl Shepherd

Carl

Carl Shepherd

Co Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at HomeAway, Inc.

Jay, this is rampant speculation hiding as “objective'” blogging.

You should really do direct research instead of publishing hearsay. There is no connection between the request that people begin to use “Book It Now” on their listings and our distribution of 110,000 listings where the managers have CHOSEN to make them online bookable on Expedia. No. Connection. At. All.

If you did your own research, you’d discover that Book It Now is not synonomous with “online booking.” BIN enables an advertiser to choose how to take the booking–some may opt for immediate booking (although that is rare with vacation home owners and but increasingly common for property managers) but the majority of our subscribers use BIN as a “quote and hold” mechanism. This is good for the traveler because most travelers want to find the right place and stop shopping. This is good for the owner because under that program the traveler commits to the booking before the Owner approves it; the owner has 24 hours to accept or reject the booking. Most owners prefer to screen their travelers using their preferred method for doing so; owners use the 24 hour period to do their due diligence on the traveler. So the reason for us asking owners to add Book It Now to their listing is because it attracts more interest from Travelers. Its really that simple.

HomeAway remains, and is committed to remaining, the lowest cost method for Owners and Property Managers to book their properties. On average, Owners on subscriptions pay about 3% of total booking revenue for their bookings garnered through HomeAway. No other else comes close to the cost per booking experienced by the average subscriber on HomeAway. (Airbnb, for example, charges 14% per booking–3% to the advertiser, and 11% on average to the traveler, and Booking.com starts at 15% per booking.)

So check your facts, Jay, before you write “objectively” about HomeAway. Because what you’re really doing is using our name to sell your services, and I think people can see that pretty clearly.

Carl Shepherd

Patrick Cosson, Desiree Ratcliffe-Lattimore like this

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    Carl, are you saying that your prices won’t be going up?

    Jay William likes this

  • Carl Shepherd

    Carl

    Carl Shepherd

    Co Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at HomeAway, Inc.

    Alan, good attempt. I said we’re committed to being the most cost effective way for owners and property managers to fill their weeks. Our annual subscription compared to annual revenue earned by our subscribers, results an effective “take rate” of under 3%. Our PPB product at 10% is the lowest pay for booking product out there today.

    Patrick Cosson, Desiree Ratcliffe-Lattimore like this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    Carl…. You’re avoiding the question, which further confirms at least in my mind that owners and managers should be prepared to pay more to advertise on HomeAway and that is what this post is all about, will you answer the question? I think it is a fair one.

    You said you’re “asking” owners to use the Book It Now option, but what if they don’t want to? Will their listings be affected in any way? Research…… I listen to owners and speak with managers every day who are expressing their frustration of increased pricing, more hassles, poor customer care and fewer inquiries, they complain HomeAway is monopolizing the market, reducing the options that were once available to them.

    I report the news and watch the trends closely Carl, I ask the questions other won’t, with a goal to give owners and managers a voice! At the end of the day I’m here to help owners and if my helping them earns their business, then I think we deserve their business. If your product was truly effective than owners and managers wouldn’t need to buy anything else from me or anyone else.

    My goal is to give owners a voice and help bring change by improving the market and their lives wherever I can, even if that makes people hate me and I become unpopular….. Your attitude further cements the notion of your disconnect with your customers who started you guys out… those hard working owners and property managers, trying to make the most and do the best they can.

    I think if you changed your statement

    FROM

    “we’re committed to being the most cost effective way for owners and property managers to fill their weeks.”

    TO:

    “We’re committed to make our customers fall in love with us” I think that would change everything because the latter would happen naturally.

    People have a lot of resentment toward HomeAway because they feel that HomeAway doesn’t care about them.

    Becky Fischer likes this

  • Carl Shepherd

    Carl

    Carl Shepherd

    Co Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at HomeAway, Inc.

    Jay, Jay, Jay. When did you stop beating your wife? That’s a joke, but that’s the type of “questions” you’re asking her. You’re not asking, you’re accusing.

    The question was answered: HomeAway is the lowest cost online marketplace in the vacation rental industry. If it’s not low enough for you, that’s your choice. But since everyone–every single site–charges more than HomeAway, I’d say we’ve proven our point of keeping HomeAway the best value out there.

    And don’t fall for the old “some sites charge only 3%”. That’s to the owner. They charge the traveler 11-15%. We’re old fashioned: if the traveler will pay 11% more, we believe that should go to the owner, after all, she’s the one who has the mortgage, the insurance, and the operating expense of actually providing the wonderful service our owners work so hard to do.

    The use of Book It Now, will increasingly impact rankings within tiers on our products. This has been discussed publicly; it is not hidden, and it is not a mystery as to why. Travelers overwhelmingly want to secure the property online. They want to pay with credit cards to safeguard their payment. There is no difference in ranking, though, between a listing that chooses to use the Quote and Hold version of BIN and a listing that chooses instant bookings. And owners who convert to BIN tell us they close more business because the traveler has gone the extra step of at least starting the booking process.

    Better experiences for travelers beget better booking conversion for owners. It’s pretty simple.

    I also won’t take the bait: it’s very easy to spew platitudes about making “customers fall in love with us”. We prefer to make travelers fall in love with listings and book them. And because we do that better than pretty much anyone else in the category, yes, I think the vast majority of our customers appreciate what we do and why we do it. I’d love to be 100%, but you know what? We’re not there. So it gives us something to aspire to.

    And because we’re pretty good at it, it gives companies who want to compete against us a pretty high bar. We welcome competition, although we question the tactics of “asking the hard questions” and then answering those questions yourself. Especially when that person is not a journalist: he’s a competitor.

    Have a great evening!

    Desiree Ratcliffe-Lattimore likes this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    WOW! I’m very suprised Carl that a professional like yourself would say such an inapropriate thing. Domestic violence is not a joke! Its not funny!

    The question was will owners soon be paying more for their listings? It was a valid question to share with my audience, I didn’t realize you were part of that audience but I’m glad you chimed in because the conversation has been oddly revealing.

    The question still wasn’t answered but by the way your dancing around the question and giving answers like a politician, I beleive we can read inbetween the lines.

    Its amusing that you see me as your competitor but I’m not in the business of selling listings, however I do send business to listing sites who treat customers well.

    I’m a vacation rental advocate and we talk and blog about things like this and anything that affects owners, managers and travelers. I do wish your approach would’ve been different, you coud’ve turn this around for a positive for your company but instead the tone wasn’t wise.

    The problem is you haven’t had good competition maybe that tide will change, its up to the owners to continue supporting you with their money and properties afterall you do need them

  • Doug Meeder

    Doug

    Doug Meeder

    Vacation Rental Management Consultant

    I attended the HomeAway Summit in San Diego last week and attended the session that discussed this. It’s my understanding that HomeAway is working on an Expedia “add-on” similar to the Global Reach enhancement where listings can be distributed on HA’s international family of websites for an additional annual fee.

    Jay William likes this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    Hi There Doug!

    Thank you for sharing, this is where I thought we were heading. Any idea of what the fee might be? Alot of people I’m sure are wondering…

    Doug Meeder likes this

  • Chris Atkinson

    Chris

    Chris Atkinson

    CTO and Founder at Rentivo.com

    Jay, (totally agree 100%) Quoting Brian Sharples in his hour long ‘key note marketing pitch’ at the VRMA this morning… In 24 months you are either using book it now or you are off of home away. The room fell silent on this… Did you notice? Being committed to bring the most cost effective way of marketing and forcing BIN are not compatible positions. I hope the property managers can see it coming. He asked the question ‘who are our competitors’ referring to hoteliers and Expedia… Everyone knows the real competitor.. Its the Gorrila that not enough people are talking about.

    Jay William likes this

  • Doug Meeder

    Doug

    Doug Meeder

    Vacation Rental Management Consultant

    Hi Jay!

    The presenter at the HomeAway Summit session (More Exposure, Less Work) briefly mentioned the Expedia partnership and confirmed that currently only “pay-per-booking” listings would be distributed to Expedia websites. This prompted a few owners to raise their hands and ask why. The presenter stated that HA was “working on an Expedia option for subscription listings similar to the US Bundle and the Global Reach Bundle”. So I’m guessing that they will offer Expedia at $250 to $450+ as an add-on, similar to bundles.

    This would fit perfectly with their business model of rewarding listing rank (HA search results) by the following criteria: listing level, listing quality score, HA payments, and now, “Reach”. I’m guessing that to obtain the best possible listing rank they will now factor “reach” into the equation, meaning that an Expedia add-on will be rewarded across all their websites.

  • Carl Shepherd

    Carl

    Carl Shepherd

    Co Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at HomeAway, Inc.

    Folks, expedia charges 10% for a booking for VRs that access the expedia distribution channel via HomeAway; they don’t do it for free. (Booking.com charges 15% and up, so this is a pretty good deal). HomeAway receives a portion of that. PPB listings on HomeAway pay 10%, as well. Online bookings for subscribers are included in a HomeAway subscription–no additional charge.

    We are working on technology that will allow subscribers to access the Expedia channel, as well. By definition, this will be an Expedia booking, not a HomeAway booking; we facilitate the feed to Expedia, but they are the source of the traveler. Expedia will need to be paid; I expect that a subscriber accessing Expedia will pay the same 10% per booking.

    To be clear: online or quote and hold (BIN) bookings that occur thru HomeAway websites are included in the subscription price. Expedia must be paid for bookings that occur through Expedia. No one has to use Expedia; it is entirely up to the listing owner whether or not to turn on that channel.

    Brian said at VRMA what he has said several times before: within 24 months we want all listings to participate in the BIN program. Many property managers are seeking instant booking capabilities; some prefer quote and hold. We support both. It is entirely up to the property manager. Individual owners on PPB can access Expedia today. The capability to feed subscriber based listings to Expedia is a future technology.

    To illuminate one other confusion introduced above: a listing owner can have a BIN button even if they never accept an instant booking; most owners prefer quote and hold.

    Finally, what Brian said is that the marketplace is changing such that if you don’t allow online booking, you will be disadvantaged in the overall vacation rental industry in the coming 10 years (his entire speech was focused on the changes the industry might expect for the next 10 years), because that is overwhelmingly what today’s milennial travelers want and they are aging into the core family demo that are major consumers of vacation rentals. At no time did Brian say that “you use BIN or you’re off HomeAway.” If an advertiser doesn’t want to use BIN, that will be his choice, but the market may reward that advertiser with fewer inquiriies.

     

  • Chris Atkinson

    Chris

    Chris Atkinson

    CTO and Founder at Rentivo.com

    Carl, his entire speech was a marketing pitch about how great HomeAway are and how reliant the entire industry is on HomeAway. Your successes growing the industry and proving a viable alternative to hoteliers can’t be overlooked, sure, but at this point in time managers are feeling the overwhelming pressures which they recognise as a ticking time bomb ready to explode.. BUT few people are saying anything for fear of their livelihood. I’m fortunate enough to not be reliant on HomeAway… I can assure you that what people are saying behind closed doors do not support the HomeAway vision for the future. The fact that your COO also got 20 minutes after a keynote speech on HomeAway is obscene. Shame on Brian for hijacking his original topic and using it to promote entirely HomeAway! Shame!

    The hidden agendas and kickbacks provided by HomeAway to other suppliers at VRMA was interesting to learn… what some software providers will reveal after you buy them a drink.

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    Chris, thank you for being brave enough to voice how you really feel. I know that some may have wanted to join in this conversation but were probably intimidated by some of the strong comments. Too many people in the industry ride the fence when you talk about HomeAway, fearing it will threaten their career/business in the industry in a negative way and they won’t speak up…. so thank you!

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    There are some direct messages for Carl from his customers on the blog

    Go here to see them >>> http://isbeingbuilt.com/villamarketersold/homeaway-expedia-partnership/

    @Chris, @Doug, would you mind sharing your valuable thoughts on the blog, there are lots of people wanting to hear what you have to say.

    Thank you

  • Chris Atkinson

    Chris

    Chris Atkinson

    CTO and Founder at Rentivo.com

    Yep definitely. Reach out to me. I already have several draft posts on this very topic. After the VRMA its become acutely apparent that a large percentage of users don’t see the rental tax coming… (The HA tax) If you want to play in the industry, two years from now if we don’t actually start to become self reliant ORGANICALLY we should all expect to reduce our margins by 6 to 12 percent.

    Don Fehst, Alan Egan like this

  • Carl Shepherd

    Carl

    Carl Shepherd

    Co Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at HomeAway, Inc.

    For those of you who weren’t there, Brian’s speech was totally focused on what will happen in the VR industry for the next few years, and the board of VRMA was thankful and appreciative and expressed that it was EXACTLY what they were hoping for.

    And Jay, your opinions are, of course, your opinions. But it’s my opinion that your “column” or “blog” on this subject is so, so incredibly off that it smacks more of a conspiracy theorist than actual analysis. And I get to have my opinion, as well.

    Use expedia.com if you want. It’s a channel. Use HomeAway if you want. It’s a channel. Neither are omnipotent. Neither are evil doers. We’re just businesses, like yours, albeit highly successful businesses that are relevant in people’s lives, but businesses just the same.

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    Carl, sometimes it pays to listen to people.

    To just step back and listen.

    If a lot of people are talking and some are shouting maybe some of them have an important message.

    Highly successful businesses that refer to themselves as highly successful businesses usually fail.

    I will give you this, you and Brian are fantastic at what you do, but, “relevant in people’s lives”, you are listing VR properties, not running healthcare.

    Lisa Parr, Jay William like this

  • Steve Trover

    Steve

    Steve Trover

    CEO at All Star Vacation Homes

    Carl,
    I was in attendance, and let me set the record straight. Your partner Brian stood in front of the largest crowd in VRMA history and told us the title he gave the board was nothing more than something his team put together and not what he would be talking about.

    He then proceeded into an hour long HomeAway advertorial that informed what your company was going to do to our industry over the next ten years, starting now. He joked about being able to call in a nuclear strike from his cell phone, which he essentially did.

    As immediate past president of the organization I was appalled and dismayed at this speech. I certainly do not speak for the board but I can assure you that many board members, professional manager members and supplier members were also upset that this happened. Many boycotted it altogether.

    I consider this to be a travesty for the VRMA and will encourage the board to never let something like this happen again by any company.

    Richard Vaughton, Jay William and 5 others like this

  • Carl Shepherd

    Carl

    Carl Shepherd

    Co Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at HomeAway, Inc.

    Oh, Steve. How’s things at that company you own? What is it? LiveRez.

    Competitors dissing the competition is nothing new. And you’ve been doing it so long, the world just wouldn’t seem the same if you weren’t calling for the sky to fall because god forbid, HomeAway exists. It’s kinda comforting, in a way, the way an old t-shirt just feels comfortable. Steve is railing about HomeAway, so the world must still be turning on its axis.

  • Tracy Lotz

    Tracy

    Tracy Lotz

    Founder and CEO at LiveRez

    Carl thank you for finally acknowledging that LiveRez and HomeAway are in fact competitors. When asked by both Christian P. Leman and HomeAway COO Brent Bellm at the VRMA Conference this past week, why LiveRez will not integrate with HomeAway I told both “because we are competitors”. I was assured by BOTH that there is a “Chinese wall” between “HomeAway Software For Professionals” and HomeAway.

    Thank you for clearing that up!

    Jay William, Sara Moore and 1 other like this

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    Carl, am I right in thinking that you are Homeaway’s head of social media strategy and public relations development?

    Melissa Schendel, Amy Blomquist like this

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    I have just gotten in from the VRMA conference after a considerably long flight and 7 hour time difference, but this post has instantly resurrected several key points highlighted by the conference but has needed some restraint on my prose.

    Firstly thank you to the VRMA for putting on an exceptional conference. Well organised, informative and for many of us an opportunity to network closely and really understand and compare grass roots issues. It has allowed us all to develop new ideas and make new friends in this complex business.

    On the topic of HomeAway and Brian Sharples address, it was not as expected or published and I am rather surprised the board approved it as such, but I suspect they may also have been caught out. They can however speak for themselves.

    To my mind it was self congratulatory and a road map of HomeAway’s future for the next 24 months. No matter how much it disappointed me in direction it was a blunt admission of intent. Bear in mind everybody, this is a shareholder driven company not an owner or inventory holder driven company and HA admitted that it wants to be a Travel Brand in its own right! This means Travel Brand rules. It is clear there is little point in haranguing HomeAway as the purpose is set and we all need to be smarter.

    There are multiple arguments however as to why an agent would not want the planned route in case the HA board have missed a few of these: data control, enquiry redirection, incorrect quotes, resale of services to the managers guests, money management, etc.

    As a simple example, I was inclined to download the VRMA app, but it was based on the new HA acquisition Glad app and it wanted all my contact and more data. Why?

    It seems a large percentage want direct bookings and guests want to book-online for sure, but we don’t want this via quote forms designed to a public company’s best interests. I hear the conversion arguments, but leave that to us.

    Most companies have sophisticated and secure payment systems anyway and guests are happy to engage and often get better than quoted tariffs or extra benefits for that week! Not something that is automated and allows us to provide tailored solutions via our own systems.

    The industry expectation is also that BIN with 24 hour approval will become “Pay per Booking” based on higher commissions followed by rate parity, enforced shorter breaks, no cancellation terms.cash control and the list goes on.

    If this last paragraph is incorrect please tell us that is never going to happen!

    Expedia needs “real time” as they bundle and plenty of channel managers can hook into them outside of HA. But real time means “Pay per Booking” type data control. Follow the thread? And HA don’t get a cut or do they?

    To implement these booking opportunities for HA also means really close cooperation with booking management software companies and from what we see and hear is that barriers are now appearing and from this thread, conflicts. Will marketplace companies block their software or users from channeling to Booking.com or other competitors and restrict distribution agreements? Each an every company whether marketplace of management software needs to help their clients and provide full disclosure of interests and barriers.

    As Chris mentioned few people are saying anything for fear of their livelihood, but from my own experience this week, there is a massive undercurrent of unrest and desire to reduce dependency and controls through these dominant market places and avoid loss of business control.

    As I heard so often this week, “we are not hotels” and “lets work together guys”. That seems a much more heartfelt road map message from very honest professional people.

    Alan Egan, Jay William and 5 others like this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    Carl, I believe you owe myself and especially my wife an apology for your offensive remarks……….

    You know what they say about opinions………..eveybodys got one, including your customers, did you even bother to click on the link above to see what they’re saying about you? I’m sure everyone else has… who are you kidding!

    Its likely that some of us here were your customers at one time, so it does gives us the right to speak out as a “HomeAway customer” unfortunatly now we are “competitors” how the hell did that happen?

    I think Steve Trover, is a credible source and a voice we can trust. His reputation is rock solid and one definitely worthy of respect, this is no longer about my opinion. I’ve heard the same thing from top leaders in the business who threw up in their mouth a little after Brian Sharples disgusting display of arrogance….how tacky!

    The streets are talking! You and Brian seem like 2 peas in a pod.. and yes that is now my informed opinion!

    When you have customers opinion combined with the opinion of the best leading professionals in the industry all saying the same thing, geez… isn’t it time to listen? When does opinion become truth? If everybody is saying your dead…lay down and die already!

    Your pride won’t allow you to be humbled Carl but a little humility is good for us all.

    Social media has been responsible for creating revolutions in countries, I would be careful!

    I wonder if professionals, property managers and owners unified their voices, if social media could be used to help create a revolution in the VR industry.

    Alan Egan likes this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    @Tracy Lotz

    I’m glad you spoke out about this because I’ve thought that HomeAway is moving full steam into the vacation rental software business. I feel that they want to dominate the software market, taking a similar approach like they’ve done in the listing sector…. eventually pushing out companies who’ve been in the software business forever!

    Are you thinking they want to make their software option the “one” owners have to use?

    Tracy Lotz likes this

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    Seems everybody is squabbling over the people they rely on to supply their product who simply want to run their businesses under their own control, not somebody else’s.

    I’m beginning to feel like one of those sardines in the shoal tank at Scripps San Diego, just waiting to be netted and canned. Without managers and owners there is no data to use or product to sell.

    It all worked fine before these developing wars, I’m guessing with application, it can again!

    Alan Egan, Jay William and 1 other like this

  • Lisa Parr

    Lisa

    Lisa Parr

    Secretary at Netamatix

    Hi Guys,

    First time commenting I just can’t resist on this topic.

    Seems female opinion is short on this discussion. Can I firstly ask Carl to apologise for joking about domestic violence. It isn’t funny and if I were Jay I would be incandescent.

    My husband runs a booking and reservation company (Netamatix). That’s my declaration of intent.

    I do not have an axe to grind against any individual but I do see things with a keen eye. And I see arrogance and contempt from two people at the top of a huge and dominant organisation.

    My husband reminds me of a chap called Gerald Ratner. Once the chairman of ‘Ratners’ jewelers. He once publically let slip that his company sold ‘crap’, his words not mine. This was even before social media and it finished his career and his company. I actually think the comments made by Mr Sharples are not far off the tone and stupidity of Ratner.

    The elephant in the room is commission. Every argument around it is empty and just distracts. There are two points here.

    1. Homeaway are clearly preparing the way for sale to one of the large OTAs, Expedia anyone?
    2. To do so they have to get to a mass of owners/managers accepting commission-able bookings (forget Book Now, it’s the first stage in the journey)

    That’s it. That’s the argument. As owners/managers do you want to give the keys of the industry to Homeaway? If so continue on your route and take the ‘Book Now’ function but don’t moan when you’re paying north of ten percent (more like 15-20) for every booking.

    If you don’t want to vote for Christmas like a Turkey, make Mr Sharples regret his arrogance and contempt and start to learn how to market your own businesses off of Homeaway.

    If anyone’s is offended by my post, I’m sorry. I just think it’s time we cut through the fog and got to the point!

    Lisa

    Chris Atkinson, Alan Egan and 3 others like this

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    @Lisa. The high level contribution seems to have dropped away. Shame! As the question has been asked in my previous thread on the topic you mention:

    “The industry expectation is also that BIN with 24 hour approval will become “Pay per Booking” based on higher commissions followed by rate parity, enforced shorter breaks, no cancellation terms.cash control and the list goes on.

    If this last paragraph is incorrect please tell us that is never going to happen! ”

    @All. Expedia have their own plans as well. Check out Expedia.co.uk and click “Cottages” menu item. Wyndham are in play already and no doubt their traffic has already impacted.

    It is well known Expedia is not doing as well these days and share price shows it. Meta search seems to be hurting these relationships and the lowest price wins. However you pay for what you get!

    Alan Egan, Don Fehst and 1 other like this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    @Lisa thanks for jumping in and clearing the waters. It’s nice to have a woman’s perspective. I believe Carl has done a good job of distracting us from what the conversation is all about. We’ve been treated like lobsters being slowly boiled and most didn’t pay attention to the heat that is now cooking their tale.

    They’ve started slowly creating new and unpopular policies, implementing them over a stretch of time so we get used to it and when we do, they turn up the heat even more, it is their strategy.

    If we look at their past, I think it can give us an idea of whats in store for the future.

    They’ve started by raises their rates and giving us less for that money. Remember when we paid like 299 for more or less the same level of service you’d get for the newer1800 price.

    Now that ceiling of 1800 is about to be raised… to what? 2500?

    They’re controlling the communication between us and guests, penalizing for not using their tools and systems.

    We are moving toward the hotelifying of vacation rentals.  We will be forced to conform. This will include,  price wars, higher commissions (like what hotels pay). Richard did a great job of bringing a lot of those changes to light.

    This LinkedIn group is a closed group and we need this message to be seen by the public.

    People should use their media connections, blogs and social networks to get this message out there.

    Because the customer has the final say whether they keep their doors open or not.

    Cheri Reeburgh likes this

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    Jay, I posted some of this thread and links to your original article to HA’s own community.
    Many owners replied.
    You can see the thread here https://community.homeaway.com/thread/22452?start=0&tstart=0

    Jay William likes this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    Alan great job! You’re getting this out there! Funny thing…. I’ve been banned from the HomeAway’s community. They began deleting my posts and I can no longer log in. let’s continue to share!

    • Richard Vaughton
  • Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    I added my comments to HA community. What worries me is the blinkered community or are they real?

    No doubt HA will ignore it all, they know better and their shareholders agree!

    Maybe explains why I get these analysts phoning me all the time about PPB. I see the COO sold a bunch of shares on October 27th as well! A hidden message?

    Jay William, Alan Egan like this

  • Ralph Delis

    Ralph

    Ralph Delis

    Casitas Select S.L. – Owner

    Not sure if Carl is still here, but I’d appreciate if he could explain why Homeaway/Yapstone needs to apply a 3% for credit card payments. Banks usually charge between 0.7% and 1% for online payments… And yes, I know that Yapstone takes 2,5% but it’s so hard to imagine that Homeaway doesn’t see any of that! In the first place because it would be highly beneficial to homeaway to develop their own online transaction service. Looking it at this way, it seems that Homeway is using Yapstone as an excuse to make even more money.

    Alan Egan, Richard Vaughton and 2 others like this

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    This appeared in the UK on November 1st: Homeaway Banishing Owners That Pay To Advertise – Marketing Travel.

    Some excerpts:

    “In a keynote speech at the VRMA conference in San Diego this week, Brian Sharples the CEO, says ‘those that don’t use their Book Now model will be off the site within 24 months.’ ”

    “Homeaway’s corporate model was built around converting the die hard owner to accept the live booking model. Shareholders flocked to the IPO to have a piece of a hugely increasing revenue based upon conversion of Homeaway’s customers to the commission model.”

    Don Fehst likes this

  • Carl Shepherd

    Carl

    Carl Shepherd

    Co Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at HomeAway, Inc.

    For Lisa/Jay:

    Sorry you’re offended. Perhaps you should be more familiar with the definition of a loaded question. The one I used is the quintessential example.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question Don’t take my word for it, just google the phrase. You might learn something.

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    On a more practical note: I come back to this and it is an extremely difficult proposition to swallow on “Pay Per Booking” as the comparisons below are just that. The 3% is a subscription quote or a BIN with subscription.

    So why not forget the 10% PPB idea if everybody is so happy?

    ———————————-

    “Owners on subscriptions pay about 3% of total booking revenue for their bookings garnered through HomeAway. No other else comes close to the cost per booking experienced by the average subscriber on HomeAway. (Airbnb, for example, charges 14% per booking–3% to the advertiser, and 11% on average to the traveler, and Booking.com starts at 15% per booking.) ”

    ————————————

    AirBnB make it known they are owner/sharing centric, its not the same, ask New York.
    Booking.com are hotel city/centric, which is what many rentals have become. High traffic, cheap labour, short distance, short breaks in well known destinations, that’s why every company is in a feeding frenzy over it.

    In the commission models the guest loses or the manager or/and owner loses. Is there a winner?

    Most managers certainly can’t work at these tax levels and if subscriptions go up any more then its hard decisions for a very large community.

    Liz Van Cleave, Don Fehst like this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    @Carl it still doesn’t make it appropriate. For the sake of everyone I’m willing to move on, if you’re willing to give some straight forward answers.

    you’ve illuded the question will Home Away charge more in the near future?

    TripAdvisor/Flipkey just shared that their rates will be going up and subscribers could now be paying 399 instead of 299 and inquiry charges will also rise this year. Let your yes be yes and your no be no…. just give it to us straight.

    What can owners expect to pay?

    When will this new subscription be available?

    Owners have shared with me that they feel like the red headed step child ( as one owner put it) they feel HomeAway favors travelers and shareholders and are not taking into consideration the owners and PMs interests. We know this is business and I think everyone here understands the importance of making money but why does the approach have to be so aggressive? Is it possible to make owners happy too or are they too hard to please? And is it just easier and more profitable to concentrate on pleasing travelers?

    Give us some real answers Carl.

  • Tracy Lotz

    Tracy

    Tracy Lotz

    Founder and CEO at LiveRez

    What a small man.

  • Desiree Ratcliffe-Lattimore

    Desiree

    Desiree Ratcliffe-Lattimore

    Serviced Apartments ~ Holiday Cottages ~ Corporate Housing ~ Vacation Rentals ~ Winchester Hampshire UK

    If anyone else does not want to answer questions they do not have too – cyber bullying is a crime which starts with a little rudeness and some “jokes” that do not transfer over very well in discussion forums and becomes the fuel on which war feeds on such a time suck.

    In what way will shareholders will force their boards to act? – if the board members don’t deliver – then they will be sitting on the “naughty seat” until they do – such a time suck.

    “Will You Soon Be Paying More Money To Advertise On HomeAway?” It does not matter how much money you have to pay if you only have a limited amount of time in some cases you will pay anything and everything for a little TIME to do what you want to do before that opportunity is gone.

    @ Lisa Parr – Will HA become the Ratner of the VR world – only TIME will tell 😉

  • Lisa Parr

    Lisa

    Lisa Parr

    Secretary at Netamatix

    Last comment from me.

    I didn’t ask for an apology(and by the way you haven’t given one to Jay still). Your comments go to the heart of your attitude.

    One word.

    Contempt.

    Money/power is removing your human side. I know I don’t know you but I can read between the lines.

    I’m not going to comment again because I think this discussion is a good one and I don’t want to detract from it.

    Lisa.

    Tracy Lotz, Ralph Delis like this

  • Don Fehst

    Don

    Don Fehst

    3KlicksAway.com Vacation Rentals

    Go to Skift and check out “Skift Forum Video: HomeAway’s Chief Strategist on the Evolution of Alternative Stays”

    Lisa Parr, Alan Egan like this

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    Good call Don,

    Carl Shepherd, the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer of HomeAway, spoke early in October at the Skift Global Forum.

    Shepherd leads HomeAway’s corporate development and spots companies that are ripe for acquisition. He is also on the frontline of battles with competitors, whether that be New York City and legal challenges, or San Francisco and a certain company’s home-field advantage. He’s also instrumental in shifting HomeAway’s hosts from an old-school advertising model to a pay-to-book method.

    “Over the next two years you’ll see all of our properties be bookable online,” Shepherd told the audience. “Meaning that we can safeguard the homeowner’s asset and still convince millennials that this is the right rental for them. We’ll also be giving homeowners more tools to tell them who’s staying in their homes. But the major thing that we’re doing is educating our homeowners every day that the world is changing, and that if they don’t change, they’ll miss out.”

    Just watch this interview… Less than 2 minutes in Carl calls this business “hotel like”.

    Is this the same Carl Shepard that was denying all these statements earlier in this thread?

    That’s irony Carl, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/irony Don’t take my word for it, just google the term. You might learn something.

    Carl says, “Vacation rentals were made legal in San Francisco and I didn’t spend a penny, so I am thrilled”
    Is that why you, and your company, are suing San Francisco?
    Isn’t that you carrying the water and going out to fight?
    Or is this you “embracing” San Francisco?

    Carl, you are so full of contradictions it’s unbelievable.

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    I listened to that just now.

    What is odd about this is that there was a good understanding of the business issues, but a poor strategy implementing growth from an inventory holders perspective.

    Comments relating to provision of tools to help owners know more about the guests who visit (except their email no doubt), processing the entire booking as a service and managing it on-site. The giving tools to the guest to work via HA with the owner and a guest who has to cough up all his personal life at download!

    The very best way to know about a guest, (millennial’s in groups are not welcome anyway) is to speak to them or have unmediated unfettered communication. Yes, Interhome book 80% online, but as pointed 80% wanted dialogue. As time moves on most owners will be able to book online and 90% of agents do anyway. The misnomer is always the line “Book-online”, that means book-online not book-online on HomeAway so they can sell on next year to a competitor.

    Here it is again if anybody missed it:

    “Over the next two years you’ll see all of our properties be bookable online,”

    So how many of you will allow this? Subscription and lead generation is their bread and butter as no doubt we will see in the quarterly report tonight! Losing this is a serious threat to us and them!

    Liz Van Cleave, Don Fehst like this

  • Jay William

    Jay William

    Vacation Rental Marketing Expert at www.VillaMarketers.com 6000 + Connections

    Top Contributor

    @Don nice one! BOOM! Case Closed!

    lets not let this guy take anymore of our power and energy, he’s not worth it.

    This case has been cracked wide open!

    I believe that a couple of battles have been won here.

    Everyone here has gotten to see the “real” Carl Shepherd and understand the attitudes of the head executives running the show, at the same time proving their true agenda, that is soon to come.

    OK – so now we know the truth, now what?

    Can we do anything about it?

    Has anyone done anything other than talk about it here?

    If not what’s the benefit in all of this?

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    Not sure anyone will give anything away on here Jay!

  • Ralph DelisGreat news Jay, we finally have an answer, please read here:http://seekingalpha.com/article/2640275-homeaways-away-ceo-brian-sharples-on-q3-2014-results-earnings-call-transcript?page=7I’ll copy the essence, final analyst Mike Olson asks Brian Staples during the earnings call yesterday:MIKE OLSON – PIPER JAFFRAY
    Hey good afternoon. Earlier when you were just talking about lack of interest in online payments by owners, you mentioned that part of it is that those owners make tons of money. So, why would they change off the platform? And in calculating the effective take ride of HomeAway, it appears materially lower than your competitors when you include those traveler fees that you were just talking about. So your customers do make tons of money off your platform. In other words, there seems to be room to potentially move pricing higher. I guess, I’m curious how you think about that and may be that [indiscernible].BRIANS SHARPLES
    Yep good question. So absolutely, well, let me say first and foremost, we love to be the company that delivers the most value, because that’s a much better position to be in. There is no doubt that we can charge higher prices, we have said that consistently. But there is a limit. If you look at right now naturally, what’s happening in our subscription prices, I mean was up 12% year-on-year this quarter and that’s been – I mean it’s been virtually every year, been in the business it’s between 12% and 14%, compounded every single year.So prices are going up pretty rapidly. I think they will continue to go up pretty rapidly. Now, we have opportunities. Lot of people asks this, well, when are you going to do geographic pricing? We are not working on geographic pricing right now, that’s potentially a long-term opportunity. People ask us, well, when you’re going to raise the high-end, because the value of being a platinum subscriber in your site is really high. And the answer of that is, yep that’s a huge opportunity we have too. And we may do a little bit of that in 2015.But as long as the pricing is going up naturally, that’s a level we can save, if we need that in the future. And we really like to be the company that continues to deliver good value. Because if we take the value away that we deliver then we’re just the same as everybody else. And so, that’s also why I say the subscription business is a huge competitive advantage for us, because once somebody is a high performing customer in one of these businesses they have a preference for that, because it’s a better value and that makes them very sticky customers for us. And I am not sure everybody quite appreciates how important that is.” data-li-editable=”false” data-li-edit-sec-left=”900″ data-li-time=”” />

    Ralph

    Ralph Delis

    Casitas Select S.L. – Owner

    @Jay

    Great news Jay, we finally have an answer, please read here:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/2640275-homeaways-away-ceo-brian-sharples-on-q3-2014-results-earnings-call-transcript?page=7

    I’ll copy the essence, final analyst Mike Olson asks Brian Staples during the earnings call yesterday:

    MIKE OLSON – PIPER JAFFRAY
    Hey good afternoon. Earlier when you were just talking about lack of interest in online payments by owners, you mentioned that part of it is that those owners make tons of money. So, why would they change off the platform? And in calculating the effective take ride of HomeAway, it appears materially lower than your competitors when you include those traveler fees that you were just talking about. So your customers do make tons of money off your platform. In other words, there seems to be room to potentially move pricing higher. I guess, I’m curious how you think about that and may be that [indiscernible].

    BRIANS SHARPLES
    Yep good question. So absolutely, well, let me say first and foremost, we love to be the company that delivers the most value, because that’s a much better position to be in. There is no doubt that we can charge higher prices, we have said that consistently. But there is a limit. If you look at right now naturally, what’s happening in our subscription prices, I mean was up 12% year-on-year this quarter and that’s been – I mean it’s been virtually every year, been in the business it’s between 12% and 14%, compounded every single year.

    So prices are going up pretty rapidly. I think they will continue to go up pretty rapidly. Now, we have opportunities. Lot of people asks this, well, when are you going to do geographic pricing? We are not working on geographic pricing right now, that’s potentially a long-term opportunity. People ask us, well, when you’re going to raise the high-end, because the value of being a platinum subscriber in your site is really high. And the answer of that is, yep that’s a huge opportunity we have too. And we may do a little bit of that in 2015.

    But as long as the pricing is going up naturally, that’s a level we can save, if we need that in the future. And we really like to be the company that continues to deliver good value. Because if we take the value away that we deliver then we’re just the same as everybody else. And so, that’s also why I say the subscription business is a huge competitive advantage for us, because once somebody is a high performing customer in one of these businesses they have a preference for that, because it’s a better value and that makes them very sticky customers for us. And I am not sure everybody quite appreciates how important that is.

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    I love it! “Prices going up naturally”!

    The rest of the world is in recession, interest rates could go up, wages are not keeping pace with cost of living or inflation. Advertising pushes “short breaks, cheaper than a hotel, ask for discounts”. Only one winner here and its not the industry or the guest.

    Back on an envelope calculation means that prices double in 5 years. Managers with portfolios to support would definitely need new business models or start their own competing business. However HA is in a 1m inventory business, imagine a 10m inventory business. I wonder if there will be enough customers!

    If anybody is interested a quick analysis of their results yesterday (my calculation) is that the PPP is running at 5% of revenue and each property sees (averaged) less than $20 each, which seems less than one booking per year! I may be wrong but subs and ancillary income seem to be 95% of income and the 300K+ properties on PPP make up the rest,

    So the move to BIN doesn’t seem to be working yet but subscriptions are. A bit of a corporate dilemma really and one for all considering their demands to use them for quotes and bookings in the future.

    Don Fehst, Alan Egan and 1 other like this

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    Naturally prices are going up!

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    So the simple answer to Jay’s original question “Will You Soon Be Paying More Money To Advertise On HomeAway?” was – YES

    I’m not sure why Carl got so antsy really.

    Jay William likes this

  • Owner Direct Vacation Rentals

    Owner Direct

    Owner Direct Vacation Rentals

    Owner, Owner Direct Vacation Rentals

    Thanks, interesting discussion. How about listing on Ownerdirect.com for free? Then you don’t have to worry about increasing prices! Lots of traffic on the site, and you only pay when a reservation is made (plus full customer service every day!). Worth a try?

  • Brent Bellm

    Brent

    Brent Bellm

    COO at HomeAway.com

    Hi all. I think Carl did answer the questions above, and I tried to do the same in my VRMA Gold Sponsor speech. I’ll reiterate the answers for the benefit of all following this thread:

    1) The “book now” button is a FREE feature for subscription listings. We do not charge anything to add it. Property managers who work with us know that we integrate and support this for free, and any bookings that use it flow directly through to their reservations and payments systems without any incremental commission from us. We have explicitly stated that this feature will remain FREE for subscriptions. Most of those that adopt it have experienced a dramatic increase in bookings at no incremental cost from us.

    2) The subscription product will remain our flagship product. Pay-per-booking is a second option that we introduced last year. We will continue to invest in and market subscriptions as the highest-ROI product in our industry, and if anything, we encourage PPB listings to convert to higher-ROI subscriptions, not the other way around. We have explicitly stated that we will not migrate to a PPB/commission-only model.

    3) In our earnings call this week, we announced that next year, we will begin supporting “book now” for all types of payment options, including those that are not integrated in our checkout. In other words, we will support the ability for the traveler to “book now” and “pay later”, in whatever fashion the PM and traveler agree to. This will enable any property manager or owner to adopt “book now”, so long as they commit to keeping accurate calendars and rates and accepting a high percentage of booking requests. Per above, this is a feature enhancement that does not cost anything.

    4) Some other fundamental aspects of our service are not changing. PMs and owners will continue to have 24 hours to decide whether or not to accept booking requests. Inquiries will still be supported and encouraged.

    5) As for price increases, we reiterate that “book now” is and will remain free for subscribers. We reiterate that distribution to Expedia is an option, not a requirement, and only incurs fees if and when Expedia delivers bookings. And we reiterate that we are committed to subscriptions and their high ROI. Note that the annual cost of a Classic subscription ($349 in the US) has not changed in several years.

    I hope that helps. Despite what some have asserted in this dialog, our 1,700+ employees come to work every day entirely committed to supporting the success of our customers. The voice of our satisfied customers hasn’t been heard here. We hope that more of you give us a chance to count you among them.

    Best wishes.

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    Hello Brent,
    Thanks for putting your point across. I for one appreciate that.
    2 things though,
    Carl didn’t answer anything, he just turned up and was rude to a few people.
    The initial question was “Will You Soon Be Paying More Money To Advertise On HomeAway?” which Carl put down to rabid speculation but since the question was asked Mr Sharples has stated that price increases will amount to 14% and intimated that this will be the due course year on year. It’s no good quoting the classic subscription when all that gets you is an ad on page 11.
    My main issue is that you, Carl and HA in general keep refering to owners ROI and how you somehow affect that. You offer leads via subscription. You are a fraction of an owners investment. If the only investment needed in this business was a Homeaway subscription there would be more VR’s than actual housing. Owners invest in the property, the insurance, the maintainance, the fixtures and fittings, the linens, the gardener and the pool man, the administration, the guests and a whole lot more but all we hear is how one advert on Homeaway reaps $27,000 a year (or more).
    You need to re-evaluate this whole ROI nonsense.

    As I said earlier on your own community,
    Imagine that you have a $50,000 a year job and you get the bus to work. Sure enough the bus plays a part in you daily work routine but that doesn’t entitle the bus company to keep putting the cost of a ticket up because it knows how much you earn and it certainly doesn’t entitle it to a percentage of your wages.

    You only generate leads.

  • Brent Bellm

    Brent

    Brent Bellm

    COO at HomeAway.com

    Yes, we’re a marketing channel that delivers leads and bookings. Most marketing channels on the internet have an average cost (relative to booking value) of 10%-25%. That includes the online travel agencies (for hotels), Amazon and eBay (for retailers), affiliate sites (for retail and most services), and many websites in the vacation rental category.

    Our subscription model is relatively unique in costing, on average, just 3% of the value of bookings it originates. Many property managers and owners, representing 700,000+ subscription listings around the world, find this to be compelling.

    That’s the ROI argument, and it resonates well with many satisfied customers.

  • Alan Egan

    Alan

    Alan Egan

    Attraction marketing specialist to the holiday rental market, CEO of rentmoreweeks.com and bookingsplus4g.com

    Top Contributor

    That’s a great answer Brent but it’s this sort of rhetoric that has upset people.
    Continually telling owners and managers that you are cheap when you have just hit them with a 14% increase doesn’t really wash.
    Will there be a percentage rate cap at some stage or do you plan to keep closing the gap on these other “marketing channels”?
    I’m sure that you are right when you say that you have many satisfied customers but you do seem to have many unsatisfed ones too.

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    Brent: First, thank you for entering this forum.

    Second, we enjoy a certain level of business from HomeAway which we pay for, although our costs have doubled over recent years for the same results. Our UK account managers are good and attentive.

    As Alan says apples and oranges. Having been an owner,manager and marketeer of several properties, and I can say with authority that most of the profit in the business was capital appreciation and a small excess each year. Those years have passed now. Its extremely hard work and with much financial risks attached. Any cost savings are always appreciated in the ownership chain.

    As a manager now,the ROI is a complete misnomer. Recalculate the ROI on 10-15% of an owners income, that’s what managers get.

    We are told that all businesses must engage with BIN within 24 months, there is no disagreement there?

    So:_

    – We know guests want to book online and pay via card, wire, e-cheque, cheque, PayPal and even Bitcoins. We all agree, its just the guests don’t care as long as its secure.

    From our many thousands of guests, not one has said “can I pay another company first rather than you?” or even “can I fill in a booking form on another site?” Most want to speak to us first or ask a hundred questions (we want this).

    We also want the opportunity to push our own brands, websites, latest daily deals and develop our own sense of identity in the guests mind with re-bookings and satisfaction on both sides.

    A standardized quote system does not allow the opportunity to use the full range of tools, expertise and significant investments in technology and staff to convert enquiries to bookings. We are talking regional here not city centres where hotel/aparts are popular.

    Thousands of managers world-wide are regional have complex arrangements with management companies, owners, seasons, property issues and more. Most have secure payment and quote systems. Relaying a quote or booking through HomeAway is an unnecessary step and one that increases isolation from the guest and decreases the personal experience for both parties.

    We actually want straight unmediated direct contact with the potential guests as do so many in this business.

    – There has been a steady stream of changes to HA, some of which make great sense (photos, descriptions, updated calendars), some less (e.g rates restructuring, ranking according to BIN). Rates needed rationalizing for your distribution. This has cost us days of work to rehash the rate structures and they still can’t match. Channels we can all take care of direct or via the hundreds of PMS’s and channel managers if we want.

    – We know from many of the statements made by analysts, many of whom have hotel experience, that the PPP is seen as an upside and expectations are a terrible burden!

    – Your financial results show PPP is not generating much income (my guess $5.9m and <$20 per property from 3rd Qrt results).This must scare everybody as this PPP is truly mediated communications with initial loss of guest interaction and identity prior to a booking. This also comes with cash flow issues, with money paid after guest arrival presumably. Then there are recharge questions and a faceless experience to the guest, which is what we don’t want.

    We have all seen real estate marketplace domination, the same with hotels, book sales, search engines and more. We are all aware of creeping central control and marketplace dominance. BIN is seen as the pivot point and hence with all the other elements mentioned, unwanted, as not only does it distance us from guests, we could be inviting more damage.

    Its is curious that your customers, of which 80%+ are paying for the HomeAway growth and changes have not expressed this in surveys or your working groups.

    HomeAway could grow tremendously and recover favor with the real inventory holders easily and in so doing garner favor with shareholders.

    Don Fehst likes this

  • Brent Bellm

    Brent

    Brent Bellm

    COO at HomeAway.com

    Alan, there has not been a 14% price increase. Rather, we have seen a 14% increase in average subscription value because customers have voluntarily chosen to spend more on extended distribution (appearing on more sites, such as with a US bundle of HomeAway + VRBO, or a global bundle) or on premium tiers. Extended distribution and tier upgrades both generate a high ROI for the additional, voluntary expenditure.

    In short, we have increased price very little over the past few years. Our strategy is to keep prices low while continuing to offer services (like expanded distribution and tiers) that customers value enough to buy.

  • Brent Bellm

    Brent

    Brent Bellm

    COO at HomeAway.com

    Richard, I’ll repeat what I said above, that inquiries are not going away, nor are they changing in nature. Our sites will continue to support and encourage them, and we fully recognize that, for the next while, two thirds of bookings will begin as an inquiry and complete however you (the supplier) and your traveler choose to complete it.

    But nearly all customers – 92% of them – want to see the “book now” option available, even if most transactions still begin with an inquiry. Customers tell us they will actually “book now” perhaps only 30% of the time, and that is corroborated with actual data. But 92% want to see the option, because that tells a traveler that the calendar and rates are accurate and that the owner or manager commits to confirm a booking request within 24 hours.

    I’m appreciative of all of the things you list about direct relationships with travelers and actions you take to convert them. None of those are going away, but over time, we are asking that suppliers adopt the book now option. Our customers who already have done so have seen dramatic performance gains based on traveler demand for the feature.

  • Richard Vaughton

    Richard

    Richard Vaughton

    MD at DHH Ltd

    Top Contributor

    Brent:

    We all know 90%+ of all customers want a “Book Now” button and thousands of sites have them, but few use it without query anyway.

    90%+ want it on HomeAway as you will have asked them. I’m sure the survey didn’t have an extra question. “Would you be happy to book on the owners or agents site instead if it had a secure BIN ?” Its all in the phrasing. No need for a stats proverb here.

    Booking and quotes (in my opinion) is not a HomeAway business, its the managers and their site’s business. HomeAway should be a great lead generator. You have acquired many of the others top sites and these were all lead generators. This is a responsibility I feel you cannot sideline in becoming a semi-booking site,

    As you can see thousands of businesses have established protocols, identities, (and this is important) have invested in the way they run these micro-concerns and have to deal with all manner of problems to which they have adapted and refined their systems. This was based on a successful model tried and tested for years and refined. Its based on personal connectivity and smart conversion from local knowledgeable teams. Not “Book It Now” on a connected site they pay a healthy subscription.

    If 92% of the current HA income providers (that’s circa 80%+ of the total HA income or 700,000+ properties from owners or managers) said they didn’t want BIN, would you implement it?

    Who is more important (owners/managers or guests). if they are considered your guests from now on then its a rhetorical question.

    Practically I would never want a calendar blocked unless its booked and we want more enquiries for the same place and a blocked calendar via a quote will obfuscate this. We often manage to change peoples dates in a multi-enquiry situation,

    The message over the last couple of years is that HA wants to be a global “Travel Brand” and other of the statements that are driving such a backlash are:-

    – Words like “Hybrid site” (your CTO) as HA moved to PPP

    – “PPB could provide this biggest upside for the vacation rental company” Interview with Skift 2013

    – “HomeAway wants to “create an emotional connection between our brand and the families and groups who stay in vacation rentals” — particularly in Europe” – Dima

    I also saw several presentations recently from very professional HA staff. Well educated, positive and really believe what they say and all that is being said at HQ.

    The audience however are generally not in agreement and it may not be 92% but its a quorum!

    Don Fehst likes this

  • Tracy Lotz

    Tracy

    Tracy Lotz

    Founder and CEO at LiveRez

    From the Q3 transcript:

    Brian Sharples:“There is no doubt that we can charge higher prices, we have said that consistently. But there is a limit.

    If you look at right now naturally, what’s happening in our subscription PRICES, I mean was up 12% year-on-year this quarter and that’s been – I mean it’s been virtually every year, been in the business it’s between 12% and 14%, compounded every single year.

    So prices are going up pretty rapidly. I think they will continue to go up pretty rapidly.”

    Unless Brent misspoke prices are going up. The 12%-14% increase is not their subscription model increase.

    What is going to happen in the future is pretty clear. Models and prices are going to change and go up. Ultimately, in my opinion, if you want to be at the top of a category you will be on their pay per booking model (10% plus credit card fees). Having a booking button that flows through your own software, using your own credit card processor will land you below that and their “Flagship” subscription model put you at the bottom.

    At LiveRez we have just soft-launched iVacationRental.com. All realtime bookable inventory, all inventory professionally managed. It is starting to drive bookings for our LiveRez partners.

  • Brent Bellm

    Brent

    Brent Bellm

    COO at HomeAway.com

    Hi Tracy. Brian’s reference was to average revenue per subscription. Nearly all of the increase in average revenue per subscription was, and has been, due to customers choosing to buy additional tiers and site bundles for their listings. Very little of it was due to actual increases in price per tier or per bundle. I understand the potential confusion. What I am telling you is identical to what we’ve told everyone: the 12%-14% growth is overwhelmingly driven by customers deciding to buy additional tiers and bundles, not price changes. Our strategy is to grow revenue per subscription primarily through voluntary upgrades like these, not price increases.

    The rest of your note is speculation that we have publicly refuted many times, including the VRMA speech that you heard. We continually reiterate our commitment to subscriptions as our highest-value product. And subscriptions continue to appear above pay-per-booking listings the strong majority of the time. Your continued speculation to the contrary seems intended to mislead people.

    The funny thing is that you argue for “a booking button that flows through your own software, using your own credit card processor”. That is exactly what happens when a PM uses online booking on HomeAway sites. We pass the credit card number to the PM’s software and to their credit card processor. The only time that doesn’t happen is for PMs who use software that is not integrated into HomeAway. Nearly all of the major US and European software providers have enabled this integration. LiveRez is the prominent exception. This begs the question, why won’t you integrate with us to give our mutual customers what you recommend? As I told you at VRMA, we are willing to do that integration.

  • Tracy Lotz

    Tracy

    Tracy Lotz

    Founder and CEO at LiveRez

    Brent- every time you add another layer of pricing you are raising the price. Also, I’m not arguing for your booking button- just stating that one of your options is one that flows through to the PM software.

    I told you at VRMA why we don’t integrate with you. And to date I have never seen even one proposal from HA to integrate.

    There is a reason why LiveRez keeps growing.

    Do you agree with these Homeaway reviews and complaints? Is there something you’d like to add? Leave your comments below.

    To stay up to date with the latest Homeaway reviews, complaints and updates subscribe to our free newsletter.

Join Thousands Of Smarter Owners & ManagersClick Here to Subscribe Now
Back to Posts

29 FREE & CHEAP TOOLS TO DEVELOP YOUR INDEPENDENCE AND BRING IN BOOKINGS!

FREE DOWNLOAD - GET THE BREAKAWAY KIT NOW - ($49 VALUE)

Don’t worry! We don’t spam :)

Join Thousands Of Smarter Owners & Managers Subscribe Now

Get FREE gifts, discount coupons and powerful marketing secrets in your inbox. Knowledge Is Power!

Don’t worry! We don’t spam :)

29 FREE & CHEAP TOOLS TO DEVELOP YOUR INDEPENDENCE AND BRING IN BOOKINGS!

FREE DOWNLOAD - GET THE BREAKAWAY KIT NOW - ($49 VALUE)

Don’t worry! We don’t spam :)