HomeAway Connect Gets Disconnected
HomeAway’s Free Booking Calendar For Vacation Rentals Gets The Ax!
Is your booking calendar not working? If you used the old VRBO calendar or HomeAway calendar you might be surprised to see your calendar is no longer working. Please check your calendars!
Here we go again gang, Homeaway has owners and property managers scrambling once more.
For years HomeAway offered a free vacation rental booking calendar which originally was provided by Rentors.org. Homeaway bought out Rentors.org but continued to provide the free vacation rental calendar for owners and property managers, which became known as HomeAway Connect. This free rental calendar helped HomeAway gain exposure and draw in owners looking to manage their bookings and availability online.
The HomeAway Connect booking calendar was designed for owners and managers to help manage bookings and display their property’s availability to website visitors and interested travelers. It was pretty simple to use and owners felt comfortable with the interface. There was no cost to use the calendar, so property owners didn’t think twice of taking advantage of a free booking calendar.
Owners embedded the booking calendar into their vacation rental websites and linked it with their online advertisements, as well as with other listing websites. But as of January 1st 2014, HomeAway pulled the rug out from many unprepared owners by disconnecting the free vacation rental booking calendar for good.
Why did HomeAway pull the plug on Homeaway Connect?
It appears they want you to stop freeloading off their free vacation rental booking calendar and become a paying customer already. HomeAway just doesn’t seem to give two turds about owners, and this latest move is just another nail in that coffin. I sound so disgruntled don’t I? Well, they do tick me off. Owners are people and vacation rentals are these people’s businesses. HomeAway is not thinking of owners at all, come on… it wasn’t cool to drop everyone just like that.
I did a bit of research just to see how this is really affecting people and their businesses online. I found hundreds of sites myself (from a brief review), that are now without calendars and showing a sort of error page from HomeAway. Having “broken” links on a website appears unprofessional and can harm the potential renters first impression.
HomeAway has backed owners into a corner, they have to make a decision, they either pay or go away. Many owners and management companies are leaving, as I mention later but some stay. If you’d like continue to use HomeAway’s booking calendar you have 2 options: pay for a listing or pay commissions when you get a booking.
A Free Booking Calendar Alternative
But no worries I’ve created a free vacation rental calendar that owners can use (no strings attached), you can read about how to use it below . Its better than the basic one from HomeAway connect anyway because it offers more features. Free Vacation Rental Booking Calendar That Increases Bookings
How I found out about HomeAway Connect not working anymore, was because our server was slammed with a huge spike in visitors to a specific page on our blog. The now very popular blog was about our free booking calendar. This made me do a little investigating and found HomeAway Connect was shut down.
As owners were told by travelers that their booking calendars aren’t working many of them began to search online for other free vacation rental calendars and guess what….. they found us.
So, in a way I feel good about that because these are now owners who have become familiar with Jay William and Villa Marketers. Thanks HomeAway we’re happy to help the owners you push away.
7 Things To Take Away From This Blog?
1. Many of the owners came into our site from a press release we published nearly a year ago about our free VR calendar. Which goes to show you that press releases do work for driving traffic to your vacation rental website. Here are a list of 50 free press release sites you can utilize yourself.
2. What you do today may not seem to give you the results you want right away but eventually the work you lay down now will help you in the future. So, be patient and plan for the future, remember you’re building a business here.
3. Never think that these big VR listing sites are interested in helping you. They are there to make money and money motivates their machine. Watch out that you don’t get run over by these big bull dozing companies. Be prepared for climate changes don’t get caught with your pants down. Use multiple vacation rental marketing services and diversify your strategies to help reduce risks.
4. Routinely check your website and tools. There are hundreds of owners right now with this issue, see for yourself do a Google search for”Homeaway Connect Shutting Down”. You’ll see listing after listing show up in Google’s results with an error message, stating their calendar isn’t working. However if these owners would have set up routine checkups to make sure their website is working properly, they would have become aware of this problem earlier on. One time I found one of my contact forms wasn’t working during a routine sweep of our site. Geez, I was upset but hey it’s technology and sometimes things can happens, so check on your tools once in awhile to help minimize potential damages.
5. Being helpful has its rewards! I initially built this free booking calendar back in 2007 with the idea to help owners. By providing this tool with the idea of what owners needs were at the time, it helped me to create a helpful tool that owners still use today and it helps them find us online. If you help people, people will help you!
6. The reason our calendar was so popular online was because it was made available for FREE! Use free in your marketing or you might just lose out on opportunities for your vacation rental business. The power of free! (Stay tuned I will be releasing an upcoming series called Free Marketing, you don’t want to miss it!)
7. Check your stats! By checking what pages visitors are frequenting you can understand which of your website pages are performing well. As demonstrated in this case certain pages on your website can be “seasonal” or popular during certain times, due to current events and other market variables.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, what are your thoughts? Please leave your comments, questions and opinions!
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