What’s the deal with HomeAway’s new “booking” fee?

FEES

For the last several days, I’ve been on the receiving end of emails from readers like Paul McWilliams about a new fee being charged by HomeAway, which runs VRBO and VacationRentals.com.

The new “booking” fees, these emails suggest, are poorly disclosed, have no discernible consumer benefits and are being forced on unwilling renters.

I checked with HomeAway — I’ll get to its answer in a minute — but first, let’s hear from McWilliams.

My wife and I own a condo on Siesta Key off Sarasota, Fla., that we rent out most of the year.

We enjoy taking extra steps to help our guests plan their vacation, and are available to help our guests during their stay. Over the years, we’ve made friends with many of our guests, and many of them return year after year. It has been a wonderful experience for us and for our guests.

We have used VRBO since buying the condo, and have enjoyed its ability to connect us to guests looking for lodging in our area. As I’m sure you are aware, there has been considerable consolidation in the web based rental industry where VRBO was an early entrant. Most recently, the group of twelve companies that includes VRBO was purchased by Expedia.

During the consolidation process, VRBO’s parent, HomeAway, constantly took steps to expand its business model. These were mostly focused on expanding the information it gathered from guests, and handling credit card processing (where it gets what can be a 12-month float on guest payments). Essentially, it wants to “own” the guest, and leverage the guest’s’ personal information.

However, since being purchased by Expedia, we are now seeing a new guest charge implemented that equals between 4% and 10% of the rental amount. The most troublesome aspects of this new charge are that it is not presented with any explanation (just as a “service charge”) and it is mandatory.

I noticed the new charge yesterday when it was included in a quote VRBO provided to a potential guest. When I called VRBO, they first said that “guests will love it.” VRBO stated that it provides travelers with “insurance” that they will not get ripped off by rental frauds.

As it was explained, a guest who finds he has paid a fraudulent renter can call VRBO 24/7, and VRBO will work out the issues and in the meantime find and pay for a hotel for the guest.

I would have absolutely no problem if the service was presented as an option, but I have a huge problem with VRBO tacking it on unilaterally to every rental.

When I asked more about it, the young customer service agent, who denied my request to speak with a supervisor, said travelers are “used to fees” and will accept them without a second thought.

Really? I guess the rules governing the elasticity of demand have been repealed at VRBO.

I think what we’re seeing here is the result of so much industry consolidation that Expedia is now acting like a monopoly. As I see it, this new fee is not rip-off insurance — it is rip-off “assurance.”

You’re one of the few people I know with the credibility and audience to take Expedia to task — please help. Maybe you can “shame” them into remission.

When I contacted HomeAway about this issue, a representative replied within seconds. “I’ve been meaning to call you,” he said.

Interesting.

We had a brief conversation in which the HomeAway rep explained that this change had been announced months ago, and had nothing to do with the Expedia acquisition. HomeAway is describing the fee as an upgrade.

He sent me the following statement:

We are announcing changes that enable us to provide the best experience and most value to travelers and vacation rental owners and managers.

We are revising our traveler guarantees to provide even more coverage, reducing prices for owners and managers, and changing the way we monetize our business.

Now, travelers who book or pay directly through HomeAway’s sites will have the full amount of their booking protected against things like misrepresented or double-booked properties. Additionally, HomeAway’s 24/7 customer service team will book a new property for travelers should anything go wrong.

In order to invest in more marketing and product and services, and to cover operational costs, HomeAway is introducing a small service fee that travelers will pay when they book or pay through the HomeAway checkout. The fee will vary from 4 to 10 percent based on the total amount of the rental, but will not exceed $499.

Meanwhile, we are introducing discounts to pay-per-booking customers because they have and use online booking, which is aligned with our goal of all properties being online-bookable by the end of the year.

The cost for owners using pay-per-booking will go from 10% to 8% (5% commission + 3% payment processing) for bookings originating on HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com.

You can probably anticipate my next question: How is this fee being disclosed? As long as it’s something quoted up front, as part of the initial price, I think consumers will be fine with it.

We spent some time on the HomeAway site, and it turns out the fee is only disclosed later in the booking process. That’s disappointing. The disclosure, my contact noted, was “a work in progress.”

After our conversation, HomeAway followed up with me.

Regarding the visibility of the fee, if you enter the dates, then click ‘view details,’ it will display as a line-item. It’s also available in the checkout flow with a similar ‘view details’ button. Our team is still testing this since we just rolled it out this week, as I mentioned.

So what to make of all this? I don’t know. I haven’t made a HomeAway reservation under the new system yet, but I’m about to for a rental in Utah, and I will report back when I do. I personally believe all mandatory fees and taxes ought to be disclosed right away, as soon as a potential customer asks for a price quote.

Waiting until the end is problematic.

As they say, it’s a work in progress.

HomeAway's new booking fee is …

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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  • sirwired

    Well, given the complaints here from renters who suffered from fraudulent or misrepresented properties and neglected to purchase the optional insurance to cover it, I don’t see it as an outlandish change. If those coverages are going to be provided to everybody, then somebody is going to pay for them, and you can be sure that that “somebody” isn’t going to be the booking service.

    That said, I have no objection to the idea that it should be included in the initial booking quote, and not tacked-on later like some scummy resort fee.

  • Blamona

    It doesn’t protect guests! They’re just a third party booking ad agency who pass the buck when something goes wrong. (And you can spend hours on the phone if there’s an issue).

    As for scams and phishing, they’re no better than anyone else. My property manager does a better safer job

    Last year their payment company had a similar compromise as Target did, only worse because they had even more info on us!

    And they hold money until checkin (that could be a year, unlike a hotel that has enough rooms for some cash flow)

    And don’t allow correspondence with guests until after payment. (See construction post below on Elliott page) so can’t communicate if something comes up

    I just see this as double dipping

  • tim uk 82

    if it’s “insurance,” it seems to me it should be an option for the renter to accept or decline.
    And if double booking and fraudulent rentals are so pervasive as to need protection for renters, maybe HomeAway needs to take steps to stop them. Like dropping those properties that follow those practices.

  • Rebecca

    The way I understand this, they are pretty much forcing owners to accept credit card payments. Which has its positives and negatives.

    Its good from a renters perspective, because if there is a problem, they can dispute the charge. I wouldn’t trust their guarantee that they’ll put you in a hotel/fix the issue farther than I could throw it, and that’s nowhere. Do you really think if I booked a week in a condo and showed up to a double booking, I could just make a phone call and I’d be whisked away to a comparable hotel? Absolutely not. Who wants to bet, I call, end up booking the first night myself at a decent comparable hotel, then get offered the remaining 5 nights at an extended stay motel 6. After I paid thousands of dollars for the condo. And Home Away says I’m not owed a refund because they put me in a hotel. And that first night I paid for? I’ll get back the $69 that their hotel cost nightly.

    The very scary part would be if you own a vacation home. Most owners are decent people and represent honestly. Just like the scammers that buy something on eBay, report it as damaged or never received, and end up with the item and the cash, with the seller out everything, this is going to happen to homeowners. Its their home, so it has the potential to be far worse. They end up with a trashed house.

    It also removes the ability of the owner to vet the renter. Of course they can’t discriminate against protected classes. But, again, the vast majority are decent people. Who probably don’t want a group of 19 year old college students renting their home. I wouldn’t either. And the owner has no ability to say, wait I’m uncomfortable renting my home to a group of frat boys over spring break.

  • Bill___A

    I will continue to do the same level of business with “HomeAway”.
    2%-10% of nothing is not a big increment!

  • John Baker

    Given the number of complaints on this website about people who just didn’t understand the business model (its an online version of the classified ads), I think this is a good thing. People want to hold them responsible for the booking and now they seem to be willing to accept that but, like everything in life, that costs something.

  • Tracy Larson

    We rent our condo on VRBO and we have to ability to place a minimum age requirement on the listing if we want. We also include a refundable security deposit. Additionally, while guests have the ability to make the booking online, they also have the ability to ask questions directly to us prior to any booking. Finally, after they make the booking it is up to us to either accept or deny the booking. It’s not automatically done. These things combined give us an ability to vet the potential guest.

  • Tanya

    I am torn. If this added fee truly will allow the consumer protections when something happens to their reservation, then the 4-10% surcharge would be fine by me. Basically, Home Away is saying that we are getting insurance on this trip, since we have lots of buying power, we will get this insurance, you don’t have to get an individual policy. Oh, and because we have buying power, it is cheaper for us to do it, but we are still passing this along to the consumer. If Home Away does this right, it will be a win. That is a big if.
    On the other hand, if scenarios like Rebecca’s play out and the customer still gets crappy service, then the fee is just a resort fee. Something that should not be charged to the customer without proper disclosure.

  • Annie M

    I think this could be good for the consumer who is now guaranteed assistance but I question the process of it being mandatory. Just as a travel agency cannot provide a price of a vacation including insurance and the clients has to opt out, HomeAway should have this option as well. I wonder how the Consumer Affairs and Attorney General will feel about a mandatory fee being added on with no option to remove it.

  • Lindabator

    but they said the fee is between 4% – 10%, so maybe cannot list upfront, as that can change.

  • AJPeabody

    If the figures don’t lie, I figure that Home Away thinks 4-10% of listings are fraudulent. Otherwise, what they are charging is a ripoff, no matter when they tell the customer about it.

  • sirwired

    How does it not protect guests? In the past (and more than once case has appeared here), if a property is double-booked or not as described, the consumer was on their own unless they purchased the optional insurance. HomeAway is not making the insurance mandatory. This sounds like guest protection to me.

    These changes aren’t good for property owners, but they do provide a greater minimum level of protection for guests.

  • Bill___A

    They haven’t banned hotel resort fees, which also should not be legal…

  • Rebecca

    Helpful, thank you.

  • Rebecca

    I based that on the fact they’re owned by Expedia. Good service and Expedia simply don’t belong in the same sentence!

  • Blamona

    It’s not insurance! Hurricane happens, double booking, Expedia is still at the mercy of the owner’s policy. I’ll give you a recent example using Travel Keys (similar in nature to Expedia) A neighbor friend called me frantically because Travel Cays had double booked her villa. It was the owner trying to help out Travel Keys (and still pay for the commission )
    Another example today’s Elliott page: construction next to villa in Turks and Caicos. Again using Travel Keys (trust me Expedia-vrbo-homeaway is no different) owners couldn’t contact the guests until check in because they don’t disclose the info! And with 1000s of listings they aren’t going to hire someone for that kind of customer service.
    Most home owners are honest, at least in my island–We all help each other. Chances are Expedia has never been there, doesn’t have agreements with anyone, and won’t give contact info to guests to provide true service until check in.
    How’s that insurance?

  • sirwired

    If you are a renter and you arrive at your vacation to find somebody else already there, or what you see not matching what you were promised, the idea that your booking agent will cut you a check and then they’ll handle the legwork of dealing with the owner sounds like insurance to me.

    You, and your fellow owners may be as honest as the day is long, but unscrupulous owners and outright scams are certainly out there, and this policy provides customers protection against that where they didn’t have it before.

  • Blamona

    I completely understand the protection, which is great if it’s truly insurance (or you can get outside insurance) But to use my island as an example (In the States it’s probably different) but the booking agent can’t be reached, takes months to give you money back, and doesn’t “own” the inventory, they just look at their other listings just like you could. There’s no one from Expedia on my island! And on my island everyone has property managers that can be checked out and are on island to assist. Expedia is just a middle man
    To use Elliott as an example, how many more complaints come about Expedia (and before Orbitz, Travelocity, all now owned by Expedia) on this site? Tons!
    And while agree with you about feeling protected, so you know, recently Yapstone, the company used for payments, was hacked similar to Target. How is that for insurance?
    I understand more if you’re truly protected, just don’t expect Expedia to be there for you on island, expect to spend hours on the phone (offshore) at least in Caribbean destinations, and expect them to pass the buck and take time resolving (But that’s what Elliott is for!)
    They’re just a glamorous ad agency that takes payments. So now you have an extra middle man in the mix, and their customer service is terrible and lengthy. Chances are the agents haven’t even heard of the places they’re booking
    And there’s other ways to go direct–call and get a feel for the owner. Ask questions about the destination–I bet Expedia can’t answer that!
    Why do you think most Resorts say “guaranteed Best Price” directly on website? Is Marriott less worthy because they had to pay 15% to Expedia for the same booking?

  • Annie M

    They are self insuring. They “say” they will put people in hotels if their rental isn’t as it’s supposed to be. Of course, that will never be the same as what they were renting and I can imagine that those renters are going to go after the booking site as well for money back.

    If you are a responsible owner, you won’t have to worry about this.

  • Annie M

    Yes, you are correct. But this isn’t a resort fee, it is more of an “insurance” policy. They need to disclose it up front that it is required so the renter can decide if they want to go somewhere else or not. Somehow these fees appear to me they are going to be a LOT more than a resort fee would be.

  • Annie M

    They should be dropping those fraudulent rentals as soon as they have proof there is a problem, but from some of the reviews, apparently they haven’t done that.

  • DChamp56

    Whenever they say “People will love it (a new charge)”, you know you have a problem.

  • Blamona

    it’s not an insurance policy! If it were an insurance policy, it would be called an insurance policy, not a service fee. They’re just implying that you’re protected. If insurance policy, you’d get a copy of an insurance policy. Just fancy advertising
    Have you ever had to call Expedia for customer service? You get to your destination, say in the Caribbean, wait on hold for an hour for them to pass the buck? They don’t represent these properties, they just advertise them.
    I would bet more than not you get an agent booking for you that’s never even heard of my destination in the Caribbean!

  • cscasi

    At least they can disclose upfront that the fee will be between 4 -10 % depending on the total amount of the rental and will not exceed $499. The final amount of the fee can be seen as a line item on the final page before you pay for it.

  • cscasi

    Why wouldn’t the owner contact HomeAway and explain the issue and HomeAway would contact the renter since it booked the reservation? That way HomeAway is the go between and can manage things; especially if a booking has to be changed for whatever reason. It can contact the renter and work out the changes. Just a thought.

  • cscasi

    I agree about being able to vet the renter. However, if the owner(s) do not agree to the terms, then they should go to a different company to advertise their rental(s).

  • cscasi

    Perhaps, if it does not work out as it should, the consumer then sues the company a time or two and it will either fix the problem(s) or change back.

  • cscasi

    Good to get a perspective from a rental property owner; especially one who makes her case with good information.
    Thank you

  • Blamona

    It’s a great thought, but won’t happen. Hold times for calling vrbo are outrageous, they won’t let you speak to supervisors, and ultimately I promise they don’t offer that device!

    As an owner whenever there’s a problem and I’ve called (and many other owners, we all talk, there’s also a homeaway vacation forum and yahoo forum). We all agree nothing gets resolved

    It would have been nice to apply it in the real world, but I promise you they don’t. And you can spend hours on the phone with nothing resolved. (Ask Elliott! He would know)

    It’s happening with Comcast, Directv, many major companies– try to get something resolved or give guests notice.

    Then we don’t get a copy of letting guests know (they probably didn’t) and the owner looks bad

    There’s no reason for this booking fee, most of us give great customer service, have property managers, etc

    You guys don’t realize, they’re not property managers they’re advertisers referring bookings. They don’t manage any properties

    An example: book a Marriott room through Expedia. Room not ready. You take it up with Marriott, not Expedia right? When you take it up with Expedia, good luck have resolution in a timely matter.

    It’s not insurance, it’s a booking fee!

  • Pegtoo

    HomeAway’s website explains this benefit a renter receives from paying the fee: “The service fee helps cover the cost of running the HomeAway websites, including features such as 24/7 customer support and marketing efforts to ensure a quality experience on our sites for both travelers and owners.” In fact, the site also encourages a renter to leave negative review as the best way to deal with a property that is “not as described”! Boy, that’ll resolve everything!

  • Lorri McCallum

    What determines whether the fee is 4%, 10% or somewhere in between? Very discouraging that this isn’t an upfront fee. Can’t say I’m happy about it at all.

  • commentfromme

    the higher the rental cost the lower the fee, and vice versa

  • commentfromme

    This is a joke , right?

  • Frances Larkins

    We also are VRBO “owners” and have had a “Gold” level subscription for almost 20 years for which we pay dearly. (We will never use the online booking option because we use a local management agency who handles the reservation.) There is also a great deal of conversation about this fee on the Homeaway boards at
    https://community.homeaway.com/thread/52481?start=0&tstart=0
    Many homeowners are very upset at the fee too and are considering removing the online booking capability from their listings. If we do not get the same level of visibility on VRBO for our “Gold” level subscription because we do not provide “online booking”, we will have to cancel advertising on VRBO.

  • Elen Stoops

    Dear Chris Elliott,

    Thank you for reporting on the new Traveler Fee on HomeAway. HomeAway has trademarked it’s new program “Book with Confidence Guarantee”, but I reviewed its terms and conditions more carefully. They seem to be different than what constitutes a full guarantee. In the section covering Protections Provided, the use of the wording “may” rather than “will” catches my eye, as do the nine steps required by the traveler for reimbursement under the “Process Requirements”.

    The HomeAway Rep statement to you seems more definite than what may possibly happen when a traveler seeks support from the 24/7 service center.

    Would you let us know your take on who likely benefits from the traveler fee Terms and Conditions and how to make sure that the HomeAway experience holds up to what the HomeAway Rep statements advise?

    Have a great trip to Utah!

  • Elen Stoops

    One of the Best Protections that travelers have is their credit card companies. If they pay by credit card, and if the property does not match what was promised or worse yet, doesn’t exist, a call to their credit card provider’s dispute department will almost certainly result in the charge being reversed until the case of fraud is investigated. Once settled, the traveler may find that they are reimbursed the full amount.

    That is ONE good reason to pay by credit card and not check when booking a rental.

  • sirwired

    One of the issues with relying on credit card protection is that the law only requires them to provide said protection for 60 days after the issue date of the statement. After that point, you are at the whim of your bank; they may or may not choose to work with you. (That said, I have had good luck in the past with tardy disputes. A cruiseline I booked with went under, and all it took was one phone call, five minutes, and my charges (at that point six months old) were refunded without quibble. The refund hit my account 15 minutes later.)

  • Elen Stoops

    Unfortunately sirwired, the guest protection may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. A close look at the HomeAway Book with Confidence Guarantee has some concerning features.

    First, it says HA “may” (as opposed to “will”) arrange alternative lodging if it was not as advertised “may offer” (as opposed to “will offer”) to rebook the traveler at an available alternative property if the one they booked is double booked, and for Loss Reimbursement it’s challenging due to the cumbersome 9 steps a traveler must perform to get reimbursed. And once again, the HA contract says “may”.. Verbatim this part of the contract reads:

    “Loss Reimbursement. If a Protected Traveler suffers a Loss that in Our judgment can only be remedied by a monetary reimbursement, We may reimburse the Protected Traveler up to the amount of the Loss subject to the below process requirements.”

    For those of us have willingly paid for insurance all our lives yet once it has come time to make a claim run into unbelievable obstacles to actually get paid for the security we’ve paid for… it pays to read the fine print and to also be forewarned that insurance often provides peace of mind in theory but not in practice.

  • Elen Stoops

    A closer look at the fine print of the “Book with Confidence Guarantee” is necessary. Not only do they leave themselves with plenty of legal wiggle room language to not perform as they imply (use of the word “may” rather than “will” or “shall”), they have a cumbersome 9 step process that a traveler must comply with in order to be considered (ie not guaranteed) for reimbursement.

    Insurance is not a guarantee and this program may not be either.

    http://www.vrbo.com/info/about-us/legal/terms-conditions/bookwithconfidence

  • Elen Stoops

    I believe you are essentially correct Rebecca in that HA is pretty much forcing owners to use credit cards payment. I don’t think using credit cards is a bad thing, in fact I believe it is the best method for both the traveler and the owner.

    What becomes a problem is when HA compels the parties to use their credit card system/provider without providing necessary safeties and welfares for the users mandated to use their selected credit card processing company.

    They partnered with a company that charges less than competitive credit card fees, that has a mandatory $25 chargeback fee to the owner, even with the scenario where the owner was not found to be at fault, and their provider has had security/data breaches.

    I strongly prefer a more competitive system where the owner can select a provider for the credit card transaction that does not have any of these DEFECTS and is more suitable for ALL of the parties involved.

  • Elen Stoops

    in fact Expedia/HomeAway/VRBO are not making any promises.

    Carefully review the wording found in their “Guarantee” and you’ll see that the guarantee is no guarantee at all. They use the wording “may” instead of “will” or “shall”.

    Lawyers and Contract Administrators will surely see that use of this type of wording is intended to convey a promise (to an untrained layperson’s eye) that is not necessarily intended to be kept.

    As written, the “Book with Confidence Guarantee” is just a collection of revenue for HomeAway in exchange for a possibility of the traveler getting “insurance” they thought they bought.

  • Gordon Gallagher

    Thanks for the info Barbara. Do you know yet what listing service you are going to move to? I have used HomeAway for two years and it has worked pretty well. Now I will need to keep my eyes open for an alternative as this fee is too much.

  • RWD

    The fee raises the total cost of the rental which will lower the demand for the rental (to be more exact, it will lower the amount demanded at the listing price) To believe otherwise is to believe that renters are not sensitive to the total cost of their rental.

    The only way for the property owner to avoid this decreased demand for their property is to lower his/her listed price by the amount of this new fee

    End result then is that VRBO is charging the property owner twice – once in the fee to list on their site and second in the booking fee which will ultimately be borne by the property owner.

    If the fee were optional, then the above wouldn’t apply because the renter could simply choose not to pay this fee unless they felt they were getting additional value in return for the fee.

    Anything else you hear from VRBO is nonsense.

  • Tmon

    Greedy double dipping crooks. The legality of this remains to be determined, as our potential guest (clients) have no contract with Homeaway. They’re treating this like it’s none of our business.

  • Blamona

    What villa? Do tell please! Or PM me through Tripadvisor (is that ironic?) as blamona

  • pmcw

    That is one of the rubs. There has been tremendous consolidation in the industry that has so far been ignored by the FTC. What Expedia is doing is taking the wrong approach to expanding its value proposition. It is now trying to use its market-share muscle to leverage new charges rather than making a honest value offer with a commensurate charge.

  • pmcw

    Hi Christopher,

    Thank you for digging into the new “service fee,”
    and publishing my email to you in full context.

    I failed to mention one very important point in my email – in the way the “service fee” is
    disclosed it appears to be a surprise fee from the property owner. I
    think this is morally wrong, and possibly illegal to represent it this way.
    Surprises like this set a bad tone between the property owners and the renter.

    It is extremely important for property owners to develop a positive
    relationship with renters. If renters think ill of us there is a
    substantially higher likelihood they will be less careful with our
    condos, houses and apartments.
    I talk to all my guests on the phone and
    get a clear understanding of their expectations. If the expectations
    aren’t well suited for our condo, I offer to help them find something
    that will work better. If guest
    wants to reserve our condo, I provide them with a comprehensive “get acquainted”
    package that provides complete check-in instructions, what to bring, how
    to operate everything in the condo, a long list of restaurants with web
    links and personal commentary, and a list things to do in the area –
    includes many that aren’t covered in typical travel brochures.
    I also call every guest the morning after arrival to insure they got in okay and everything was in order. Since they have my home and mobile phone to call anytime, they would probably call me at check-in if there was a problem.

    I took great pride to make it very clear on my VRBO page that there were
    no “hidden charges” for maid service, cleaning, linens, WiFi or
    “anything else.” I’ve since been forced to alter the wording of my web
    site – http://www.vrbo.com/448079
    Again, if this was an optional fee that was clearly presented as an optional VRBO service, I would have absolutely no problem with the program. For the record, I’ve never had a problem with a double-booking, disappointed guest or anything else.

    Now, the new rub based on your findings. To be a member or my condo’s
    HOA, which is VERY beneficial and necessary for me since I live 1,200
    miles away, I have to run all my processing and guests through them. They accept all major credit cards and checks – the renter’s choice.
    In addition to this,
    they provide me with great value for the modest cost they charge: The are there on check-in / checkout day, they provide full time office and maintenance staff on site six days a week, they provide
    rapid maintenance and if a problem comes up when they aren’t there, they provide 24/7 backup for all problems. I couldn’t ask for
    better service.

    It appears now that VRBO’s intent is to force me into their booking
    system (I use their “book it now” feature, but I do not run payment processing through VRBO). One of the huge values of running the booking system is the
    float on the rental money. If HomeAway sucks that out of the industry, HOAs around the world will raise rates to compensate for the loss of revenue from float, and the modest profit they get from the credit card processing fees.

    My bet is I will also lose the easy ability to develop relationships
    with my renters – likely remove my phone number, the guest phone number
    and guest email address.
    What’s said here is there are a multitude of good ways that Expedia could leverage the Home away acquisition, which by the way, expanded the Expedia portfolio of rental properties by over 350% (Expedia had only about a quarter million properties before getting over 1.2 million unique properties from the HomeAway network).
    The short story is this forces me to look for other alternatives, and discontinue my relationship with VRBO et al.

    Regards,

    Paul

  • Blamona

    So, service fee true story:

    Yesterday I got an inquiry from vacationhomerentals.com (owned by Tripadvisor) one of the few companies left that allow email conversations.

    It was a booking agent, similar to Expedia!

    So guests were stranded due to a burst water pipe, island sold out. Desperately trying to place them. I write guidebooks for Fodors, it’s a small island, I know many there. There was 1 place left not advertised, so I gave it to her. She thanked me, but I didn’t get her service fee, I saved her!

    I do it for my guests, for my neighbors, we all help each other out

    And none of us got the service fee or charge it

    So this is what you’re paying for? I do it for free(even for those getting commissions)

    It’s really not a guarantee–it’s a commission!