This was posted to a facebook group I belong to. It's a closed group and you have to prove you're an owner of a VR to the administrators. It really sums things up how things have changed.
Andrew Wright to Say No to VRBO Service Fee·
Well boys and girls, I finally did it. I am shutting down my STR, thanks VRBO. (As soon as I burn out my repeats in April)
Today, I changed my rates to $1 a night and changed my listing description to the following. I can't wait for the smoke to come pouring out of Homeaway's ears. When you find my home for $1 a night, this is the description you will find:
Of course this home isn't $1 a night, its just to get your attention to the fact that Homeaway and VRBO are ripping you off with their rent with confidence fees. Would you really pay up to $500 in fees to book a hotel? Of course not, but Homeaway is trying to hide the fees from you to make you think that we the landlords are charging this fee. WE ARE NOT. The money is going right to the CEO's pocket. They tell you that if the home you have booked is not there when you arrive, they will protect you. Isn't that why you use a credit card, with no fees attached? Can you imagine you rent a home for the SuperBowl and show up and it isn't there. Have you asked what home, HOMEAWAY is going to put you in? They are all booked up. Want to save money on these stupid fees? Find a home you do like, copy the description of the property, such as this one you are reading, and then paste it in a search engine. The page for the owner should come up somewhere. Any legitimate owner should have a webpage, then book through them. You can also click and drag the picture of the house to an image search and drop it in. Don't pay the fees on here. This company has ruined so many peoples short term rental business. We are closing ours, but not before letting the public know what Travelocity has done. You would be a fool to pay a fee for a service your credit card company already provides. You can find most owners pages by clicking and searching images or descriptions to a search bar. By the way, the little question mark you see (?) next to a quote will tell you its a service fee. Its charged by Homeaway, but if we (the home owner) tell you this, they threaten to remove our listing. Its kind of like blackmail. Do yourself a favor and book direct. Hope I've been able to help.
I was going to delist myself, but I figured to let them do the work for me. Breaks my heart, I thought I was going to have a bit of retirement income, but between city fees piling up, and going from a 98% occupancy pre-Travelocity, to 11 days this year, I gave it up. I'm moving into the house.
I actually have something to blog about! This will be my first "true" blog post. Yay for me!
Once again I got an inquiry for this studio VR mentioning dogs plurally and then it turned out the fellow wanted to bring with him "two 65-lb, housebroken dogs". I had to turn that down but did point him to our VR that happily takes dogs of that size, waived the pet fee and dropped the price so that it was only $100 a week more than the studio (Glenn House VR ). What a deal right??!! Never heard back from him :-(
The thing that's most important to understand to travelers is Vacation Rentals are NOT kennels. You may have the most wonderful dogs but they're still dogs and they shed and can chew and they shed and they've got nails and they shed and they can be stinky and they shed and they can have accidents and did I mention they shed?
We limit the size of the permitted dogs for a reason and it's not only for our sake but unfortunately some people want to take advantage of good-natured VR owners and try to find budget VRs that will act as housing that's cheaper than a kennel would be. There's actually been a couple of inquiries where I've wondered if I'd even actually get a human guest along with the dogs or if they'd just come and go to walk and feed them.
I'm lucky to be a hand's on VR owner and hopefully my subscription with VRBO/HA will continue to be honored in that regard until it expires but it goes to show yet another reason why I won't be able to continue with them.
We allow dogs to accompany our Guests but there has to be limitations as we are primarily lodging for humans. I always want to help caring, loving dog owners but when one takes on the responsibility of owning multiple dogs or large dogs, traveling with them is not always possible and they're better left at home or kenneled.
I have to be honest, I'm only going to be blogging because of SEO aka Search Engine Optimization. Search engines are looking for sites that aren't stagnant and I've got to admit that mine are pretty darn stagnant. Really what much can I do to keep changing things up?? It's a vacation rental -- It has pictures and descriptions and rates. I throw a few more things in but that basically covers it.
I do hope over time I'll manage to get more comfortable and make blogging more interesting but for the moment and the foreseeable future it's probably going to be some pretty dull stuff.
I'm not a natural writer -- not at all. I write emails, letters, I've done all the descriptions for the websites etc. and that's as much as I want to do. I never wanted to make facebook pages for our vacation rentals because it would mean posting and therefore writing!
The rug got pulled out from under me and tens upon tens of thousands of other VR owners with the dictatorial tactics of the behemoth of the industry so that fell by the wayside when I realized the only way we will even stand a modicum of a chance to stay in business was to utilize social media.
I've had these websites since the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2014 respectively. This one is Garcia House and I got the website up and running before we even opened our doors to Guests and the same for Glenn House. Websites I always thought were important because one could add so much more to them than the advert. I would get the leads from the advert on the BEHEMOTH company and then point our potential Guests here. They used to allow a link to our website but they've stripped us of that now.
Stripped us of that and so much more. I'll have plenty to blog about.
Fran -- Operator and co-owner of Garcia House Vacation Rental in Tucson, Arizona.