Misc VRBO now charging Service Fee ( surprised?)

Discussion in 'Rentals - Vacation' started by steel1man, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Recent booking displayed a service fee $139.00 add to renters cost. Hence your weekly summer rental rates are going up 6%-10% be aware! Short version for increase income for VRBO," to pay for and maintain website...." If this runs off renters this season, then who knows, VRBO will not care since we are already paying annual fees on the thousands of dollars......
     
  2. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Yes I have been hearing about the new pricing scheme since HomeAway was bought by Expedia.
     
  3. gasparilla

    gasparilla Beach Comber

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    Yes I also noticed that when calculating a rent for a guest. I think it started last week.
     
  4. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    This helps VRBO provide a safer and more secure booking experience, coupled with premium 24/7 customer support throughout your trip...this is vrbo explaination to renters. SO, I'm offering cash option...if they pay I get the FEE or if not I just discount the fee and I look good....also try Airbnb they charge a fee but listing is free
     
  5. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I thought VRBO was a listing service, not a vacation rental business with customer support during your stay. Are they changing their business model?

    Also, owners and vacation companies pay fees to LIST with VRBO and this is their revenue source. So, now they are also charging the renters so now they get paid for LISTING the property, and then RENTING the property. I can see them getting a fee for actual rental of the property but sounds steep to me.

    RENTERS need to do their homework and go directly to a reputable and established Vacation Rental company to book - we have many great companies in South Walton, Destin, PCB and their websites are usually quite good with rental properties by area, photos and video, info, etc.. As for the owners who manage their own properties, I don't know what their best options will be. But everyone is getting screwed by this deal, especially the renter. Owners are screwed too because many people (potentia renters) will not want to pay that additional fee to VRBO..
     
  6. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    There's the Rub..they don't offer anything 24/7 except someone on India answering phone. Now management companies have to pay vrbo annual fees to list and now add service fee plus their fee owners using management have NO chances renting....sadly this may take care of beach over crowding. Not Funny
    #classaction to protest follow @vrbknow on Twitter.
     
  7. gasparilla

    gasparilla Beach Comber

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    Wow the VRBO service fee is soooo strange! Can owners who go through a Management Company use AirBNB ? I am not sure the business model fits because the rent is paid directly to the owner (minus AirBNB's service fée) Thanks
     
  8. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    I don't fully understand this. It the owner is payed directly by the renter, how does VRBO get their cut? I believe this would only work if you were using VRBO's payment system.
     
  9. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    They add it to the quoted price and then deduct it and the security insurance fee
    Before you get the charged money....BUT, if you get guest pay by check direct to you or pay pal them vrbo is by past and never get any money...
     
  10. William McCracken

    William McCracken Beach Comber

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    Steel1man...you are right about bypassing VRBO, BUT.....VRBO is putting owners that do not opt in to their payments platform at the bottom of search rankings. So you will be punished for not using their payment system in which they charge the guest another 5%-10%.
     
  11. William McCracken

    William McCracken Beach Comber

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    I have just signed up for a listing site that is a VRBO alternative....VacationHomeRentals.com. They are owned by TripAdvisor but unlike FlipKey, are only a subscription site. The nice thing is that if you sign up for VHR, you will also be listed on FK....two for the price of one! They are now running a 60 day free trial offer....so what is there to lose? Sign up and try it....you may get enough new inquiries that you will be able to fire VRBO.
     
  12. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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  13. BeachMac

    BeachMac Beach Lover

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    We frequently rent from VRBO (on vacation and locally when family visits as we do not currently have enough guest rooms for everyone) and the idea of an extra "fee" does give me pause - that was our main motivation in the beginning to go to VRBO instead of rental companies (to avoid unnecessary fees). But in time the rental companies started cross posting on VRBO and those experiences were not as positive, so I have gotten to where we filter out the third-party management companies - our experience is so much better when dealing directly with the owner, mostly in regard to cleanliness and in the few times something has come up repair-wise, owners seem more motivated to fix it in a timely manner. I thought I read somewhere (sowal? instagram?) of a local url alternative to VRBO - it looked like the host was trying to become a "South Walton" by owner alternative due to the new VRBO fees. I can't find it now on Google, so if anyone finds it - please post as we may use it next time the extended family visits.
     
  14. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    There have been a few local ones over the years. None gain traction because VRBO is the gorilla. That's not likely to change.
     
  15. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    I use VRBO for two rental cottages and was concerned about their new policy (and still am). I'm waiting and seeing how it affects our renters and me but so far I haven't had a problem (but time will tell). I only use VRBO to advertise our cottages, but I don't take any rentals through VRBO. People who see my ad on VRBO can't book directly through VRBO. They email me through VRBO and then I email them back with additional information, including pricing information, and tell them to contact the rental management company that we use and give them the phone number and then they work through the rental management company. This works for me because I use the management company anyway because I like having someone nearby take care of the cottages and guests. If someone manages their own rentals and takes $ through VRBO, then their new policy would be a problem. I pay a yearly fee $499 to VRBO for each cottage for their bronze service (which means the gold and silver and listed higher). I used to have gold or silver and there has been no difference in the number of requests or rentals I had last year or am having this year. I just got a renewal yesterday, so so far there has been no change that I'm aware of in how I use or am charged for VRBO. This may change...
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
  16. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Good info Paula. Thanks. Looks like you have it figured out.
     
  17. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    I am in a similar situation as Paula, but William McCracken, in an earlier post, said VRBO would, most likely, put non-complying owners further down on the search rankings. Since I haven't really monitored how far down we were before, I don't know how to gauge how far down we are now. Since they only started to implement this "pressure" to conform to their payment plan last month, it is far too early to feel any effects.
     
  18. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Just email guest ask them to pay by check or PayPal ( very easy) and secure a security deposit. I just find out that the insurance security policy at $59.00 for $1500.00 worth of coverage. Has a CATCH !!! the policy is in the renters name,and if there is a claim the renter must enter the claim for you the owner if they wish..
     
  19. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    I just checked my listings on VRBO and out of 17 listings, I'm #11 and 13. Whether that's because I paid for only bronze listing (rather than silver or gold) or because I'm not using their payment system, I don't know. I used to pay for the gold (which is several hundred dollars more per listing) but tried bronze last year and it didn't make any difference in the number of rentals I got. I just took a look at the calendars of the other cottages in our community, and we have as many bookings as the others for spring and summer, so being lower in the listings doesn't seem to be a problem. I think renters do a pretty thorough search when they're looking for a place and many don't stop at the first few listings. Many renters may also look for particular communities that they want to rent in (e.g., repeat guests) so they'll look at multiple listings in one or two communities rather than a general search of SoWal. We'll see how these changes in VRBO play out with our rentals over time.
     
  20. indianapolice

    indianapolice Beach Comber

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    I have 2 homes under platinum level which cost me about $1500 EACH house per year. To have VRBO now charge a fee on top of the money I have already paid them for the year makes me very unhappy with VRBO. I am looking for alternatives and will be making big changes going forward. When I heard that EXPEDIA took VRBO/HOMEAWAY over it was my expectation they would pull some kind of shady business deals. EXPEDIA in my opinion has a pattern of unethical practices. In the end they will lose, but it takes scaring everyone off first.
     

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