Best match fills in those gaps
Meet Dave Robinson. His company, Vacation Central Florida, runs or owns about 50 properties in central and east Florida. He has listed on VRBO for over 10 years and like other property managers, he used VRBO/HomeAway as his go-to listing site to maximize his booking potential.
Then Best Match happened and he saw his inquiry volume plummet. In his words, “We were worried that by losing the power of the inquiry—the power of the cumulative audience coming in—that it would somehow decrease the bookings…That was fear.” But instead of spending a lot of time answering inquiries and just getting a fair amount of bookings, he saw an increase in bookings and an increase in people who were really interested. Dave reached out to us to let us know about his success and offered to tell his story here and even offers a couple of tips for other doubters out there.
What kind of guidance did you get from your account manager when best match rolled out?
Stacy (his account manager) came to us during the period when they were rolling this out and we were still of the mindset of getting a maximum number of inquiries. She said Best Match would change things. And we didn’t understand what that was yet –we didn’t see it in action. We just didn’t feel comfortable. She said to judge the system not by volume but by quality.
How do you see Best match working for you today?
We use our own brand/website (Vacation Central Florida). With Best Match and HomeAway, we have an additional sales staff that ‘pressures the inventory.’ We sell our own inventory and HomeAway sells the other inventory we have. It’s kind of a race—who will get the sale? It doesn’t matter to us, as long as the inventory gets sold.
How has your search position changed?
We initially had listings on the tiered basis… platinum listings… We are seeing a pay-per-booking listing outrank a tiered listing. I am spending time now going back and figuring out what is happening so that all properties are performing the best they can.
Any other performance tips?
We use dynamic pricing (because) we operate at 100% occupancy. We are looking at pricing daily--looking at demand every single day. Will change pricing daily if required—similar to the stock market --depending on what the demand level is. We shoot for 100% occupancy.
Last year we ended the year at 95% occupancy.
What would you say to others who are skeptical of Best Match?
Focus on your own brand. You still have the capability to bring in your own stream of revenue. It’s about streams of revenue. With your brand, you have your own stream of revenue and then you are going to layer on HomeAway, VRBO and other players as additional sales staff to pressure the inventory.
So, in the end, Stacy was right and knew what we needed. Thank you for sending her to us. I was pretty stubborn at first, but she turned me around and now I couldn't be happier with your service. Who knows? Best match might completely overtake the local sales effort I have, and really, that's fine if it does. It's all about positive growth. As we grow our business to 100 units and beyond, HomeAway will be a huge part, as our "national" sales team!
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