Post by High Priestess on Feb 14, 2016 21:23:39 GMT
Marion and Apricotnelli--- folks are free to start another thread at any time---but I don't see a need to have short term rental platforms listed in two totally separate threads based on type of listing. Some of the platforms allow both types, and platforms are also changing in terms of what they list, and hosts themselves may have different listings. So I think it is less confusing to talk about all short term rental platforms in one place.
However like I say anyone can start a thread on anything at any time, so anyone who would like to start a separate thread is free to start one. Just click on "create thread" to start a thread.
I am currently on AirBnB, HomeStay/VRBO, TripAdvisor/FlipKey and HouseTrip. About 90% of my bookings are from AirBnB. 10% HomeAway/VRBO. I've had many inquiries on TripAdvisor, but zero bookings. I've never had an inquiry or booking at all on HouseTrip. Here's my question: Do you do anything different for your listings or responses to inquiries among the sites. For example, the inquiries from AirBnB and HomeAway/VRBO tend to have specific questions (is there parking? how far from streetcar?). Inquiries from TripAdvisor are generally, "Looking for a nice place for girls weekend!" The end. I reply to these vague inquiries by just saying thanks for inquiring, we'd love to host you, if you have any questions let me know (in full sentences, of course!). I never hear back. Should I do a 'sales pitch' and talk up the place? I don't understand why anyone would inquire like that.
Also, are your listings different? Obviously the format is different on each site, but do you emphasize different things? In the short time I've been doing this (since August 2015) I've noticed HomeAway/VRBO folks are far more plan-aheady. They'll book months in advance for a 3 night stay. I'm wondering how I can tailor that listing to emphasize stability, safety, practicality - the traits I tend to associate with this plan-ahead mentality. I have no clue what the traits of TripAdvisor or HouseTrip are. I'm likely going to de-list on HouseTrip, just because I tend to forget about it, but if anyone has any tips on what might work there I'll give it a try. I'll likely de-list with HomeAway/VRBO, too, for other reasons (which I'll post in another response) if I don't get a significant increase in bookings. But I'd really like to develop the TripAdvisor market, and have no clue how. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this, and thanks for reading this rambling post.
VRBO/HomeAway Nonsense: I am quite fed up with this site and am getting close to the last straw: Recently, my listing was hacked. I got an inquiry for 3 nights but the total potential payout didn't look right at all. I looked deeper into my settings and found my base rate was changed and all my 'special rates' (a year's worth of holiday and festival rates) were deleted. I called customer service. The rep took my info, said he couldn't help and would turn it over to the tech department. He actually laughed at me when I asked for the number to contact the tech dept directly. He said he's never seen a situation that fit "the criteria" for letting a call into the tech dept. He couldn't even tell me when to expect to hear from them. At this point I didn't know I'd been hacked - just knew something was terribly wrong. I didn't want to update all my rates (it takes me a couple of hours to start from scratch) just to have it happen again, so I took my listing offline to be safe. Before I did I had 3 inquiries for my amazingly low rates. I responded to all of them immediately, saying something was wrong with the listing, apologizing, and explaining that the rates were messed up and I couldn't accept reservations until it was resolved. At that point, end of Day 1, I'm offline. Day 2, I'm hearing crickets from the Tech Dept., so I call customer service and am told they're working on it. Again, there is no way at all to contact the tech dept directly and no ETA. Day 3 crickets. In the meantime, I'm getting emails from them asking them to review their customer service - 3 of them! Boy, did I! Day 4 - offline all this time - I get a response from the tech dept informing me about the hacking. Got that fixed. But 4 days of sitting in the dark leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Needless to say there was no offer of any sort of compensation for being offline for 4 days. I understand they didn't cause the problem, but I suspect their clunky site has clunky security features, too, thus the hacking. Now all my currently booked guests have received emails from VRBO telling them to contact me to make sure everything is ok (WTF? Why didn't they ask the guests if they were asked to pay money outside of the system? How can I assure them everything is fine? I assume it is, but really, isn't that their dept?). HomeAway/VRBO does not take ownership or responsibility for anything. Its like the owners are the enemy.
Has anyone else experienced this, or other sorts of nonsense from this site? Or is it just one of those things?
The bookings I get are quality bookings, but I suspect I'd fill those spots on the calendar with AirBnB anyway. I am paid through August, so I'll probably keep it listed through then, but I'm likely never giving my $$ to that site again. I wonder how things will change when they start charging guests, which should take place very soon. Anyway, thanks for reading!
Post by High Priestess on Feb 22, 2016 16:02:53 GMT
Hi loriandtom --- I dont' use any of the sites you mention, myself, so I have no response to your experience by way of comparisions or answers or suggestions --- maybe others here will have some contributions.
That hacking sounds pretty bad -- did you maybe get an email from a phishing site, and log in on a phishing website? Any idea how this happened?
Yes Deborah, in hindsight I got a text inquiry that looked perfectly normal, except it was sent several times, asking the same stupid question ("is this your place? I tried to make a reservation." with a link to a different property. ) That must have been the culprit. It looked exactly like every other text I get from them (no URL to check) but the link should have tipped me off.
Great ideas. I have posted to CL's, tried using my ABB url, but of course it was blocked. Great idea about creating a website and linking to ABB there. Can you post your site?
I have mine on VRBO, which is also Homeaway. You can list free or pay to be at the top of their list or have your listing located at the top banner, at different price points. VRBO does have the ability to load your ABB reservations into your calendar on their site. Although I was not able to get it to work. I have to call their CS. I get a few requests through VRBO, not as many as ABB. They suggest that you have your guest sign a lease that you can load into your page. I don't think they vett like ABB, but recently someone used their boyfriend's cell number to register on ABB. So I don't know how well ABB verified her number. I have been on hold for 14 minutes with CS, this morning. I think they have 24 hr. CS.
I am also on Flipkey, which is Tripadvisor. I have only had 2 bookings in 5 months. They also suggest using a lease. I think they both have examples. I always ask for a copy of the guest ID. You have to make sure it has not expired. The first booker, used his debit card and kept getting blocked, because he did not have enough money in his account. He claims he put his check in, but it had not cleared. It eventually went through, but I was nervous they might be scammers. It was a family of 6 with 1 preteen, 2 teenagers and a 5 year old. The wife never got out of the car at check-in, and did not speak to me. I was worried they would trash the house. It was probably the best I have seen after a check-out. CS has limited hours and seems to be Indian techs.
Both of these sites have a field for the city tax. I wish ABB had that. Makes my monthly accounting easier.
You receive the full amount before they arrive, and you have to release their deposit back to them, or it can be set so that VRBO holds and releases the deposit within 7 or 14 days. I am not sure about Flipkey. For tax purposes, I would prefer not to have the deposit, put into my account.
I do have to remember to fill in my calendars on each site.
Post by High Priestess on Mar 5, 2016 17:48:11 GMT
Yes, Craigslist is now blocking any link that has "Airbnb" in it, and they also wont' let you use www.tinyurl.com or www.bitly.com to shorten your links, so the only way you can put your listing on a Craigslist ad is to have your own website that you post on there, or else just send your AIrbnb link to people when they respond to you. But that means that they can't see your listing before they respond to you.
Donna I don't want to post my website here on the public boards but I can send you the address to it via private message.
Post by High Priestess on Apr 16, 2016 14:56:46 GMT
I just found out about this site today -- this is a website for those who are currently renters in a lease that they wont' be able to complete (eg a one year lease) who want to find someone to take over their lease for them. THe site speaks of "selling" one's lease. This is not actually doing a short term rental, although it could be viewed as such if the offer is only for the concluding part of the lease, rather than to continue on as a renter at that property indefinitely with further leases.
One of the difficulties I see with this site, is that it appears to be set up for renters to "sell" the unused part of their lease -- however I doubt that the lease is transferrable to another party without landlord approval. ANd this site is not set up for the landlord to use, it's aimed at the lessee. Often renters are permitted to sublet, but as far as actually being able to transfer or "sell" their existing lease to another party, all without landlord involvement, seems dubious to me. I think it could be problematic if this website makes tenants think they have a right to transfer or sell their lease when they may not have that right.
Post by High Priestess on Jun 26, 2016 19:14:06 GMT
I just found this list on www.airbnbhell.com -- I have NO Idea why AirbnbHell is so opposed to Airbnb while touting all these competitors!!
Airbnb Competitors There are several high quality airbnb competitors with networks and websites similar to airbnb.com.
Great Airbnb Competitors and Alternatives:
www.Tripping.com – The best single site for Airbnb Competitors in one place. Search millions of listings and/or list your own space for rent everywhere except on Airbnb!
www.HomeStay.com – A Homestay is an accommodation option with a difference, dedicated to offering an unforgettable travel experience. They connect you to local hosts in over 150 countries, offering you the chance to live and breathe the local culture, to make friends as well as memories and to explore destinations in a truly authentic way.
www.VRBO.com – A classic Airbnb competitor, VRBO provides an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties for travelers worldwide. Learn More – VRBO vs Airbnb
www.HomeAway.com – A newer Airbnb alternative platform in which travelers can browse and book vacation homes, and rental owners can manage bookings. Learn More – HomeAway vs Airbnb
www.Wimdu.com – A very similar service to Airbnb, primarily based in Europe but spreading quickly. Learn More – Wimdu vs Airbnb
www.PerfectPlaces.com – Another great worldwide resource for finding vacation rental properties. This is a very direct Airbnb competitor, but their front end site is not as beautiful.
www.9flats.com – A private community of people renting short term accommodation to each other.
www.OneFineStay.com – Offers upscale city accommodation for visitors while the homeowner is out of town, allowing homeowners to earn an extra income.
www.VacationRentals.com – Part of the Home Away family of websites, this is another platform for homeowners to rent out their space when the’re not home.
www.FlipKey.com – A vacation rental marketplace that enables users to find and book a place to stay through its web platform.
www.BookingTeam.com – A great site for helping current and former Airbnb Hosts rapidly copy and manage their rental listings on other sites that compete with Airbnb.
www.CouchSurfing.com – Stay with hosts for free, usually in exchange for also hosting others on your “couch” for free. Not a direct competitor of Airbnb, but worth consideration for the extremely budget conscious traveler.
Post by High Priestess on Sept 18, 2016 15:14:43 GMT
Also....there are some people in professions that travel a lot and there are websites oriented to them. For instance, traveling nurses. Search under "traveling nurse accomodations" and see what you find.