Vacation Rental Managers and Owners: Why Are You Allowing Brokers to Take Over Your Business ?

Vacation Rental Managers and Owners: Why Are You Allowing Brokers to Take Over Your Business ?

bro·ker - plural noun: brokers

 

  • a person who buys and sells goods or assets for others.

 

What your peers think...

I spent last week at VRMA West Conference in Denver catching up with friends, fellow business owners and partners discussing the latest changes to our industry.   As you can imagine the conversation was dominated by Homeaway’s latest move to separate you from your guests ….the traveler fee.  This, on top of what we have been fed the past year…”book it now”, “best match” etc.   The prevailing mood ranged from disappointment to disgust.   The conversation has moved from last years “what can I do” to  “what I have to do”.  Many will not be renewing their subscriptions (as those will be changing) or cutting back inventory.   The conclusion that investing in themselves is a much better option when you consider the math.  One thing that was clear, the trust has been broken.

Why Don’t The Brokers Trust You ?

Odd question ? ...you bet.  They don't own the "product" or the services that creates the vacation rental experience.  So why do we keep falling for the same deceptive practices from these brokers.  They are no longer value add….they are using your data to take over your listings, disconnect you from your guests and getting deeper into your pockets. The latest effort now is to convince the traveling public that you can not be trusted.  Here is what traveler receives upon submitting an inquiry :

“To book a property, complete your booking through checkout on the HomeAway.com website. We can't protect your payment if we don't know you've booked through us.”

The explanation that Homeway gave at the conference was met with a collective eye roll ….people have clearly have had enough.

Now that you know what is coming …

You need to ask yourself some hard questions:  

  1. a) How much further will they go ?
  2. b) Do you think this is the end of the changes ?
  3. c) How long will travelers pay these fees ?

Travelers are now impacted by these fees and our voicing their dissatisfaction to the owner / managers as well as the press.  You have invested a great deal of time, money and resources to build your brand.  You have more power than you think …..and you have plenty of allies within your local and regional communities.

It’s your time to step up...

Homeaway's plan will take time and be difficult to execute.  It requires the cooperation of the traveling public and the owner/manager who no longer trust them.  Many in the latter group have taken to social media to remind the traveling public that the best rates and value come directly from the source.  It will also open up competition for those looking for alternatives and a better way to present their unique brands to travelers.  It’s time to rethink where and how your brand is represented.  

There are three sure ways to lose your brand. Give up control of your :

  1. Guest communications
  2. Cancellation policy
  3. Marketing


The end result will be a slow and painful loss of your inventory and brand dilution.  This is a great time to be in this business…make investing in your brand a priority.

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