Some familiar scenarios and Best Match Penalties. Comply or lose out!

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Alan EganAlan Egan
4 months ago

Homeaway did get in touch, only in order to contact the woman in question though.

Which was helpful (they avoided pretty much all of my questions, but I can't say that I expected a reply).

The resolution centre contacted her.

Here's what she had to say afterwards,

I really hope you all read the final section of this looooong post I'm about to make....I think we are all sleepwalking...even those of us who have been critical of HA/VRBO.

First, to clear a few things up -

  1. The 30 inquiries were indeed on a single listing and over a very short period of time - May 20-Aug 12 to be exact.
  2. This listing is PPB
  3. I have 1 other PPB and 5 subscription listings.
  4. I am NOT cheating, lying, taking VRBO leads offline to book.
  5. My property in its first 3 months has actually been wildly successful. I have a 100% occupancy rate from June 1-Sept 12. It's just that those bookings have come through Craigslist and Airbnb.
  6. I believe the reason I have had so many inquiries and ZERO conversions is that if a traveler searches my area with no dates selected and sorts by price, mine is the very first one that comes up. About half of the 30 inquiries are people asking me to make an exception to my 28 night minimum and let them book just the weekend.

NOW FOR THE SCARY STUFF.....

HA doesn't just remove listings that are violating the terms and conditions. PPB listings can be removed EVEN IF YOU AREN'T CHEATING AND TAKING BOOKINGS OFFLINE.

HA doesn't care if an inquiry is "unsuitable". They have no interest in allowing us to explain why we decline someone. They want us to convert a certain number of inquiries, and if we keep turning down people with 15 dogs and 100 daytime visitors, they want us to change our criteria to allow such guests so they can continue to increase their overall conversion rate.

HA uses a computer algorithm on PPB listings to determine if a listing is underperforming. Once your listing has been flagged as underperforming, you are on the naughty list. If you continue to have a low conversion rate, the computer algorithm will remove your listing and ALL OTHER PPB LISTINGS YOU HAVE. There is no appeal process, there is no reconsideration, there is no turning back. The computer decides, and there is nothing you can do. I do have assurance from them in writing that (as of now) this will not result in removal of an owner's subscription listings if you have a mix of subscription and PPB. (A note about the algorithm....it doesn't care if 5 of my 30 inquiries are all from the same person in a 10 minute period of time. Of the 30 inquiries, only 25 were unique. It doesn't matter. The same traveler could ding your inbox 10 different times, and it can show as 10 different inquiries. There is no way to fix it, and every one of the 10 will count against you).

Their viewpoint is that PPB is a "free" listing and it comes with strings attached. (not sure how 8% is free to me, but ok). You are beholden to them to perform however they tell you to perform. That means that if you aren't accepting bookings because they aren't suitable, then tough luck. You're an underperformer and will be removed.

My points above are summarized from conversations I had with 2 separate resolution center senior agents. They were very professional and nice. I had no issues with my experience with them as individuals. They were just doing their jobs. I just fundamentally disagree with HA's approach. I am also certain that all of these same things we're seeing on PPB will eventually be rolled out to subscriptions. Just like the phone numbers going away.

ChrisChris
4 months ago

Love the mulligan idea...

Which reminds me I haven't hit the golf course in a few months.


All of this "best match" verbage is mostly just euphemism for "most profitable".

If you download their PDF, about "Listing Guidelines" it has about 3 pages in it about their ranking algorithm.. "best match" and goes into an outline about how "Travellers want X" or "Travellers want Y", so we rank accordingly.

Travellers want to book direct... or pay directly, which is true for certain demongraphics and certain destinations, but isn't a one rule fits all. Except now this "book direct" critiera is used as a heavy weight in the "best match" ranking... which is really just "most profitable"

This is why you see pay for listings, whcih aren't "most profitable" anymore.. ranking ever more lower, and reducing the managers ability to actually take legit enquiries and convert to bookings.

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