Recent Enhancements to Your Listing: Webinar and FAQs

Thank you to those who took the time last week to join us for the Recent Enhancements to Your Listing webinar. We hope the information we provided on some of the changes about listing quality, quotable rates, and secure communications was helpful to you.

We received a lot of questions during the hour and were only able to answer some of them. Take a look below to find the answers to some of questions asked that we weren't able to get to.

If you weren't able to join, you can listen to the webinar now.

We are always striving to make changes that will make it easier to manage your listing and help drive more inquiries to your property. If you have any additional questions, please let us know.


Listing Quality Questions

  • Owner entered reviews do not count towards listing quality?
    • Correct, owner submitted reviews do not count towards your listing quality score. 
  • Do travelers have to submit an account to write a review?
    • Yes, travelers have to create an account to write a review on HomeAway. 
  • Why do you make travelers create an account to write a review?
    • Travelers have to create an account to write a review on HomeAway because it helps us verify the legitimacy of the review. Owners are also able to view the traveler's account and see any past reviews a traveler has left which can be helpful if you screening your potential guests. 
  • Can I go back in time and add email addresses to past reservations so my travelers get the HomeAway review request?
    • You cannot go back and add email addresses to reservations in the past simply because we send the email approximately three days after the stay. You can however go into your dashboard and manually request reviews from your past guests. The copy in this email is customizable so you can write your own personal message to your past guests. Going forward, I would recommend you add an email address to your calendar reservations and those travelers will receive the email from HomeAway requesting a review on your behalf.
  • Where do we submit email address for review requests? Is your submission the same one I see on my dashboard?
    • There are two review emails that travelers can receive, one is automated through our system and the other can be triggered by you out of your dashboard.
      • The first email is sent to the traveler's email address that is associated with a reservation in your calendar. (See sample email below)
      • The second email is triggered by you going to the reviewssection of your dashboard and selecting request reviews.
  • Where do I find the link that I can personally email to a past guest to leave a review?
    • The reviews emails HomeAway sends out are automatically populated with a link for a traveler to write a review on your property. If you choose to email them through your personal email address, you can send them a link to your property details page and they can select the write a review option.
  • For listing quality, do you use the number of the stars in the reviews or just the number of reviews?
    • We factor in both the number of reviews and the star rating.
  • If you put the guests email address in the reservation details, does that produce an automatic request for a review?
    • If you have a reserved calendar entry and it contains a traveler's email address, yes HomeAway will send a review request.
  • If I enter a non-HomeAway guest to my calendar for a review request, will you start emailing them HomeAway ads?
    • We only market to travelers who have inquired through one of the HomeAway websites. So if you just enter their email address, all they will receive is the review request email.
  • Why don't you disclose the specific weighting of tenure on the scorecard?
    • Listing quality is such an important factor in determining where your property displays within search results. We are always learning and improving all areas of our website, including listing quality and our search results logic. Since items like the weighting on specific components may change overtime, we give you the scorecard to help provide recommendations to help you improve rather than provide specific weightings of all of the components. The goal of the listing quality scorecard is to provide you with actionable recommendations on how to improve your performance on the site. Since tenure is not something that is actionable, we understand there has been some confusion with it in the scorecard. We are currently looking at opportunities to eliminate this confusion.
  • Do you still require a map to be able to get 100% on your listing quality score?
    • Currently showing a specific map pin and enabling zoom are factors in your listing quality scorecard. The reason we do this is because travelers have told us knowing the location of a property that are interested in is very important. 
  • After a rental, does HomeAway send a request to guests asking for a review, or should the owner do that?
    • If you have entered your traveler's email address in a calendar reservation, HomeAway sends a review. Since we test this email frequently to make sure we are helping you collect reviews, we do recommend this option. If you do not enter a traveler's email address with a reservation in your calendar, you can request that HomeAway sends your traveler one from your dashboard; this is the email that you can customize the message to make it more personal. You may also create your own email to your traveler and send them to your property details page to write a review. Ultimately the decision is yours, but we do recommend entering the traveler's email address in your calendar.
  • Does anyone score 100%?
    1. Some people do have a 100% quality score. However since tenure is a component, listings that haven't been on the site as long as others may not be able to reach 100%. We know this is confusing and are investigating options to make it easier to understand.
  • Does subscription type (annual subscriptions versus pay-per-booking) make a difference in search results?
    1. Yes. The two factors that impact your search results are subscription level and listing quality score. The way listing subscriptions are organized in search results are Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Classic, and pay-per-booking. 
  • Does accepting online booking impact my listing quality score?
    1. Yes, accepting online booking on your listing is very important to your listing quality score.

Rates, Online Payments and Online Booking Questions

  • HomeAway could always filter by price, so you didn't you just add that algorithm to VRBO instead of quotable rates?

    • This is two separate issues. VRBO didn't have the ability for a traveler to filter by price so that feature was implemented. Quotable rates allows our system to actually provide a calculated priced that can then be used to filter or sort by price

  • Are quotable rates typically reflected as "all inclusive" so the rate already includes things like taxes and cleaning fees?

    • This varies from owner to owner so you can feel free to build your rates to meet your needs.

  • With quotable rates and online booking, can the owner reject anyone?

    • If you have a subscription based listing, you do have the ability to reject anyone through online booking without any immediate consequences. However, if you find that you're rejecting 50% or more of online booking request, the product might not be a fit for how you conduct your business.

    • Also, if you find you are receiving a lot of unqualified booking request, consider making your requirements more clear in your listing description and the info section of your rates table.

  • Do we have to use online payments to get online booking?

    • Yes, using online payments is a requirement of using online booking. When a traveler submits an online booking request, we need a method to charge them immediately.

  • How do eChecks work? Who is eligible?

  • Can I sign up for online payments and only accept eChecks? How would that display on my listing?

  • Offering a multi-night discount while in conversation with a potential guest is too late. I want them to know this information while they are shopping around. How is this done?

    • You can either build in the discounts for a seasonal rate using the nightly/weekly/monthly structure with the addition of the advanced options for customizing weekend rates

  • Is there a way to reduce a rate for a last minute booking? 

    • When you are sending a manual quote. You can input a negative "fee". You cannot currently do that automatically. This feature is on our consideration list. You can also run a special offer.

  • There was a topic on HA Community that listed all of the things participants thought needed to be corrected in quotable rates. Have those all been addressed?

  • Is there a penalty if I do not accept a Book It Now request? I have refused the last two because they did not conform to our rental week.

    • If you have a subscription based listing, you do have the ability to reject anyone through online booking without any immediate consequences. However, if you find that you're rejecting 50% or more of online booking request, the product might not be a fit for how you conduct your business.

    • Also, if you find you are receiving a lot of unqualified booking request, consider making your requirements more clear in your listing description and the info section of your rates table.

  • Can you do an adjustment after the customer has paid for their time?

    • Yes. You can go into the reservation details and adjust the reservation dates. If you are using HomeAway Payments, you can go to the payment details section of the reservation and either send an additional payment request or refund any partial amount if the reservation dates were changed.

  • If a customer wants to add dates to the reservation and they have already paid the deposit, s there a way to edit the current reservation and add the additional cost? I only see the option to send another request that sends it that day and you manually add the cost.

    • This is the correct method. You have to manually send the additional payment request and manual calculate what that cost would be. It is sent immediately so if you want to send it at a different time, then you need to wait. We are looking at adding the ability to set a date for when additional payment request are due. No ETA on this enhancement.

  • Do you have a service fee on top of rates if guests are using online booking or payments?

    • If you have a subscription listing, we do not add a "booking fee/service" fee. The only fee you are charged is the credit card processing fee (varies by your location but for US citizens with US bank account, it is a very low 2.5%).

    • If you have a pay-per-booking listing, we do charge a 10% booking fee which consist of a 3% credit card processing fee and a 7% commission. 

  • If I use online payments, when do I receive payment from HomeAway?

  • I am a Canadian with a property in Mexico. Can I use eChecks and Visa? 

    • Unfortunately at this time, no. eChecks is only supported for US citizens with a US bank account.

  • If a renter pays through online booking, is the payment transferred to my preferred bank account I set up? How long does it take for me to receive the payment?

  • Can I get a longer response time for Book it Now? We don't always accept the request if there is missing information.

    • At this time, 24hrs is the max time. We recommend you respond and contact the traveler as quickly as possible by phone to obtain all the information you need before the request expires.

  • Where can I watch the last Rates Webinar?

Secure Communications Questions

  • I send an email signature with a picture that the guests can click on. Does the secure communication allow pictures to be displayed?
    • We do not allow rich text to be displayed but are actively looking at solutions for this.
  • Can I see the traveler email address a year down the road? How long will it be in my dashboard for?
    • We do not currently set a time limit on dashboard inquiries.  If this ever changes, we will be sure to provide you lots of advance notice.
  • What is the status of responsiveness?
    • We are currently analyzing responsiveness based on various segments of our customers, and although we are not quite ready to discuss how this might be implemented, we are committed to a solution that will serve all of our customers – Owners, PMs, Travelers. Lack of response to inquiries is one of the top complaints we receive from potential renters.  Travelers ultimately drive demand for vacation rentals and we want to make sure we are serving their needs along with our owners and PM's.
  • How will you keep track of when we call our potential guests (responsiveness)?
    • We do not have an answer to this yet but are looking at ways to provide credit to owners and property managers that prefer to contact travelers via phone.
  • How much time does it take between a guest sending an inquiry to when the homeowner gets that inquiry?
    • Inquiries are sent immediately. There can be a delay of up to a few minutes based on information hitting your server.
  • What should I do when receiving a fake inquiry?
    • We are working on solving for this so you can report these as spam. If you suspect is is suspicious, contact our security department.
  • How can I change the subject line of me emails in the new email format?
    • You can change the subject line of your emails by typing over the existing subject link in your email client. Please note however, that this will remove the ability for us to thread the conversation history in your dashboard.

Here is the link to the webinar: http://stream/videos/video/1399/


The HomeAway team