HomeAway laid down the law to vacation rental owners in the United States: When they renew their subscriptions, their properties must be online bookable. Some of HomeAway's foreign-based sites, such as Stayz in Australia, already require properties to be online bookable, and HomeAway is considering, but isn't yet mandating, that all properties outside the United States likewise be online bookable instead of enabling offline bookings involving guests and hosts.

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The problem seems to be that AirBandB are driving changes in the market and the likes of HomeAway and Booking.com are panicking that they might be losing business. However, the AirBandB business is business that HomeAway et al probably never really had in the first place because they've brought a huge raft of newcomers to the marketplace. The problem, if your offering is small, perfectly formed and up-market, is that you do like to vet customers and that type of customer doesn't mind being vetted - they know they'll pass with flying customers. Giving the likes of HomeAway carte blanche to book anybody without any acknowledgement from the owner is that control moves away from the owner to HomeAway. Indeed, they have just offered us a booking (we take pets) with two deer hounds (about the size of great danes). Sorry, but I would like to continue to refuse visitors who might destroy the place. Of the sites that we're registered with, HomeAway probably conjure up only a few bookings, the balance being direct enquiries or from local tourist association websites so HA could very soon be removing a whole bunch of their smaller subscribers, the ones who want control over their bookings.

So after the owner/manager has gone "online and instantly bookable" there are more "squeezes" in the pipe line

I have a long tedious list of things I have been asked to do to my listings on HA - ever get the feeling you are not working for yourself but some suit or other ?

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The story continues: I'm curious on Andrews comment:

"This is something they have been signaling for awhile with most of the data/survey results they share showing travelers vastly prefer online booking to having to go through a maze of phone calls and unresponsive emails.”"

This is not our experience and of 500 recent bookings, all available online in a single destination this year, 400 had enquiries attached and 25% simply booked. Admittedly up 10% on previous years, but a whole lot of ongoing correspondence and calls especially as these are holiday homes in a distant destination.

Enquiries convert well, commoditising requires massive volume and marketing spend, hence the fees. The OTA's are perhaps missing tricks.

The OTA's are perhaps missing tricks. - they are indeed!

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