Other big platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com and TripAdvisor have also recently implemented similar changes. HomeAway’s updates are as follows:
1. Online booking
According to Phocuswright’s survey about private accommodation in the US, 77% of travelers booked their vacation rental online last year – that’s 53% more than in 2012! HomeAway wants to get on board with this increasing trend, so owners and property managers will now have to be enrolled in Online Booking in order to list or renew their vacation rental property.
2. Guest communication
Any form of communication with guests pre-booking will have to take place through HomeAway’s system. Both parties’ phone numbers and email address will be available once a booking is confirmed.
Response rates will also directly influence your ranking and Best Match score in HomeAway search results.
3. “Best match” algorithm
As with many other listing sites, search results will now appear based on a new “Best Match” algorithm. The main factors that will affect your rankings can be broken down into the following categories:
Guest preferences: HomeAway now allows travelers to select different filters to easily find what they’re looking for. This will also help owners and property managers receive more qualified inquiries and bookings.
Online bookings: Users must be enrolled in Online Booking in order to list or renew their vacation rental property.
Response rates: Response rates will directly influence your ranking and Best Match score in HomeAway search results.
Listing: High-quality photos, reviews and listing descriptions are some of the things that impact where your property appears in search results compared to other listings. With so much competition out there, your listings have to be fully optimized!
4. Liability insurance
Guests that book and pay through HomeAway’s checkout automatically include a $1 million USD liability insurance. Don’t worry! There’s no added cost to you.
5. Traveler profiles
Owners and property managers on HomeAway will now be able to have more information about prospective guests and leave them reviews.
We know that not everyone likes changes, but you really don’t need to worry. As long as you’re diversifying your revenue stream and distribution channels, the bookings will keep on coming!
When it comes to organizing your business overall, it’s equally as important to have tools in place to help you save time when managing your bookings, to allow synchronization of property data from external channels and to enable you to communicate with guests easily.
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