At HomeAway, our goal is to create an awesome experience for our customers - travelers and owners and managers. For our travelers, that means a slew of amazing properties, a great booking experience, and a sense of security that, no matter what, their vacation is protected. For owners like you, we want to help you reach your booking goals. Our marketplace is one of shared success.
Over the last several years, we’ve made a lot of improvements with that in mind – creating a seamless experience for travelers that will keep them coming back and booking vacation rentals. We’ve made more listings online bookable (which our travelers love!), response to inquiries and booking requests has been quicker and listings are kept more up-to-date....but we still hear from travelers that searching and booking a vacation rental can be scary! Questions come up in like, “how do I know this listing is legit?” or “why am I being asked to send a check outside of your system?” More and more, travelers are used to the convenience of online and instant booking.
To ensure that our marketplace provides a great experience for everyone, we want you to be aware of the best practices for owners and managers that list on our sites. These tips improve the overall quality of the marketplace, the better the quality of our marketplace, the more travelers we see coming to HomeAway to find their vacation rental. Following these tips will help you to improve visibility in our sort and create a better experience for you and your guests:
- All bookings from HomeAway travelers must be processed through HomeAway checkout or reported through an integrated software. This means all bookings originating from HomeAway go through the HomeAway checkout or are reported through your software integration with HomeAway if you are an integrated property manager. HomeAway will continue to reward listings that are processing bookings on our site with more visibility.
- Maintain accurate calendars. Accurate information around calendars are critical so travelers know if you’re available.
- Accept a material number of booking requests. We understand that not every traveler is a good fit for your property, but you should accept a majority of the requests if possible.
- Don’t cancel confirmed reservations. We understand, things happen. But canceling a confirmed reservation is a huge disappointment for the traveler and can stop them from coming back to the site in the future. Remember, the better the traveler experience, the more successful the marketplace, the more bookings you get in the future.
- You cannot use one listing to drive bookings for multiple unlisted properties.
Listings that don’t follow these standards are subject to restrictions such as – but not limited to – less visibility to travelers or removal from the HomeAway marketplace. Just to further clarify, here are some examples of ways you may not be optimizing your listing for our marketplace:
- You receive an inquiry about your property through HomeAway. You confirm the booking off site and request they process through Paypal or give you a check instead of processing through the HomeAway checkout.
- Information about your property is inaccurate on your listing page, including inaccurate availability calendaring.
- Using one listing to create bookings for other properties that aren’t listed with HomeAway.
Built into these tips are two important concepts - which are also important to your placement within Best Match (how we determine your place in a travelers search) -- Onsite bookings and conversion.
- Onsite bookings, or bookings that are processed through the HomeAway checkout. The reason these are so important is because it’s the common goal of both you and travelers.
- For travelers, an onsite booking means a safe, secure and easy booking experience.
- For owners and managers, an onsite booking means a confirmed booking on your calendar and credit within best match (aka, may move you up in sort!)
- For HomeAway, it helps us measure success for both you and travelers and enabled us to continue to invest in delivering more travelers.
- Conversion, refers to the number of travelers that have viewed your listing and result to a confirmed onsite booking on your calendar. If you are consistently turning page views into bookings, it’s an overall signal that your listing is meeting traveler needs and providing a great booking experience. If you’re familiar with the way we describe Best Match (our search result algorithm), you’ll see the parallel. Listings that convert at a high rate continue to get rewarded with more bookings. Conversion doesn’t mean you have to turn every page view into a booking – no one could do that – but if your conversion rate is low, we might be able to help you understand how you can create a more effective listing that will resonate with our travelers!
Over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to provide tips, tricks to support you in reaching your booking goals!
If you'd like to learn more, join us for a webinar on how to best perform in the evolving marketplace. Details Below:
Webinar: Driving Performance in the HomeAway Marketplace
Webinar Date & Time: Wednesday - November 30th, 2016 (1pm-2pm CST)
- Register Here