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Thread: VRBO

  1. Default VRBO

    Hello Everyone
    We are wondering if anyone has used VRBO to rent their house on the island. We bought a house earlier this year and was interested in renting to help off set the cost and I am unsure about the best way to go about it. If VRBO is the best or is there other options out there other than word of mouth.
    Thanks for the help
    Dave B

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Hi,

    We use VRBO because our place was already listed on it when we bought it and there weren't that many options at the time. At the time, the only option was the minimum $350/year listing fee but now they have a plan where you pay a commission on each rental instead of a yearly fee. This is in addition to the fee for booking through them, which is not optional on the commission plan, and the fee they charge the renter.

    There is little downside to listing on VRBO (which is part of the Homeaway group) using the commission plan. However, without any prior history or reviews you are not going to show up very high on their results so it may take a while to get any rentals.

    Tripadvisor is another option, also with a commission structure where you pay per rental. We find them very annoying to deal with. They are so careful about preventing you from giving any information to the renter that might allow you to have direct contact (so you can't book outside their site,protecting their payments) that it's hard to get renters all the information they need. This may be true with VRBO too but we're on the annual fee plan and can make direct contact so I don't know.

    Good luck.
    Stan
    Owner, Lighthouse Beach Resort #13/Kas Bientu di Pasat
    www.bonairevilla.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    36

    Default

    My wife and I have owned a 1 BR at Sand Dollar since 2010. We continued the procedure of the prior owner, maintaining the registration of the unit as a rental property listed on VRBO.com. This worked well until Feb. 2016 when VRBO (and its parent company, HomeAway.com) implemented a number of major changes in their business model. The effect for us was an approximate 90 % drop in inquiries and a corresponding drop in rentals. The changes included the introduction of additional fees for renters and additional costs for owners and pressure on owners to fully utilize VRBO as the rental manager and vehicle for payment. Essentially, VRBO was turning itself into an internet-based hotel management site.

    Three days ago, VRBO informed us that when our current contract expires (Sept.) we will be REQUIRED to participate fully in the new VRBO practices. We do not want to be forced into anything. We do not want to charge more to renters. We do not want to use a rental resource (VRBO) that is charging both owners and renters fees for services. Rental fees can be 9% on top of the cost of the rental, not including fees for "other" services.

    Needless to say, I and many other property owners who utilized VRBO's excellent services for years, are not happy. There is a class action lawsuit pending against VRBO/HomeAway for reneging on several promises. All this has occurred because VRBO/HomeAway was purchased by Expedia. If you wish to see a rather long list of complaints against VRBO, have a look HERE. As a result, we have shifted our rental promotion to a newer website, www.HomeEscape.com, which is seeking to build its business by following the procedures established by VRBO/HomeAway prior to 2016. I hope other owners consider doing the same; the present cost of doing so is zero. I also hope that the word gets out to potential renters that it is significantly less expensive to pursue a rental through www.HomeEscape.com.

  4. #4

    Default

    I do not own property yet I rent properties worldwide. At first I used VRBO
    sxclusively but with the changes that have been mentioned above also affected consumers/renters.
    Due to this I have been using Airbnb and have been very happy. Admittedly I do not know if Airbnb is user-friendly for property owners.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DiverChris View Post
    I do not own property yet I rent properties worldwide. At first I used VRBO
    sxclusively but with the changes that have been mentioned above also affected consumers/renters.
    Due to this I have been using Airbnb and have been very happy. Admittedly I do not know if Airbnb is user-friendly for property owners.
    In response to this and to elaborate on my first post, let me say that all sites have to make money somehow. VRBO used to do it by charging owners for listings. Now they have switched to the model pioneered by Flipkey which is to charge both the owner and the guest.

    Chris, AirBnB is charging you as the guest a fee above the rental price. It just may not be broken out but it's there. If you could find the property directly it would cost you less.

    To protect their fees, they make sure you can't easily contact each other outside of their web channel. Not unreasonable, but as mentioned, they can be so difficult as to make it impossible to send necessary information prior to arrival. We especially have a problem sending info on the 20% car rental discount we have for our guests. This can't wait until final payment as rentals need to be make early in peak season.

    VRBO is moving towards this too. We ended our subscription plan because we weren't getting enough rentals from VRBO to justify the $399/year. So now we can't communicate directly. I'll have to see how difficult they are when we get our first new guest under the commission only plan.

    Best,
    Stan
    Owner, Lighthouse Beach Resort #13/Kas Bientu di Pasat
    www.bonairevilla.com

  6. #6

    Default

    Hi Stan,
    I fully understand that Airbnb and Vrbo have fees for renters as well. But when you look at identical properties for rent on
    the two sites Airbnb is cheaper. Yes I'd agree if I could locate properties independently the
    costs would be much lower
    And yes I agree communicating outside of VRBO is very difficult. My experience with Airbnb is that opening
    the lines of communication appear to be easier as I have been
    able to speak directly with property owners.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default

    I'm surprised that AirBnb looks cheaper by any significant amount. I just checked and the service fee to the guest for 1 week in our place is $84 on VRBO and $104 on AirBnb and the total cost is higher on AirBnb.

    Be careful that AirBnb's price includes the Bonaire Tourist Tax of $5.50/person/night. VRBO has a tax function that they list in the quoted price. That makes it look more expensive. AirBnb has no capability for showing the tax so we have to include it in the listed price. A lot of other listings state that you have to pay the tax prior to arrival, outside the AirBnb payment system, so it looks cheaper. We don't like that practice and feel that the quoted price should include everything. For 2 people this is $11/day or $77/week.

    We've only had two AirBnb rentals so I don't have that much experience. Can you you speak with owners before you've booked and paid?
    Stan
    Owner, Lighthouse Beach Resort #13/Kas Bientu di Pasat
    www.bonairevilla.com

  8. #8

    Default

    Stan,
    Yes prior to booking you can communicate with the property-owners to discuss logistics, pricing, additional costs, check in/check out times. I have not used Airbnb for Bonaire only in Europe.
    Chris

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Thanks, Chris. That is pretty standard for most sites.

    The problem comes up on TripAdvisor (Flipkey) and other sites when we need to provide a website or phone number for things like truck or dive reservations where we've arranged specific discounts. Messages with that kind of information is redacted so that it comes out something like, "Contact Gerlinde at <content blocked> with discount code <content blocked> for your discounted vehicle reservation." Have you been able to communicate business names or phone numbers on AirBnb?

    The dive stuff isn't critical, someone needing to make a truck reservation for next March shouldn't have to pay 100% now just to be able to get the info that they need. It's a tough balancing act for the reservation sites but it makes our customer service difficult.
    Stan
    Owner, Lighthouse Beach Resort #13/Kas Bientu di Pasat
    www.bonairevilla.com

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