Another one of seemingly endless moves to further take control of ownership communications Homeaway announced this week that it is no longer sharing traveler email addresses with homeowners and property managers until after the booking is confirmed.
Traveler email and phone number are removed from the inquiry and inquiry service.
The message content will have redacted phone number, email address, and any non-HomeAway URL. The traveler can respond to this email. ‘Book Now’ is the prominent call to action which includes a link back to the property.”
Owners are alarmed at the news and many are considering dropping Homeaway. Owners do not want to rent their often million dollar properties without proper screening before accepting a booking.
Here are several comments from owners:
“It appears that my advertising time with VRBO is finished. I would NEVER consider booking a renter without having spoken to them by phone and also getting info via email or text. Am I missing something here?”
“So not telling each other our email addresses “helps build trust”?? Does anyone actually believe that bull****? HA is showing their lack of respect for us.
And I’m curious how not being able to see their e-mail address or phone number protects me against fraudsters. I’ll wager money no one can provide specifics on how not seeing a travelers e-mail or phone number actually protects me.”
“Well, we have ALWAYS immediately called when receiving an inquiry to do a personalized sales job to point out the strengths of our offerings and ascertain if it is a right fit for their needs. Usually can end the search right there for the renter and they enjoy the personal interaction. Also allows us to immediately filter undesirable situations. Has been harder to do this past season as inquiries are way down with all the “new” competition from far away listings and us showing up 7, 8 and 10+ pages deep on the inquiry these days. The Nail in the coffin for us and grateful that we have begun our diversifying efforts a while back. Will be furthering that course of action and determine this fall if going to renew HA or not…”
One owner said, if guests and owners are made unhappy, they will simply google and engage directly, or on a platform that makes them feel better about the transaction. Local listing vacation rental websites now seem to be the go-to alternative for many owners. Owners are searching for local vacation rental listing sites and subscribing to them at a phenomenal rate. Owners are leaving Homeaway and taking control of their rentals.