Lodgify Lowdown

Lodgify Lowdown (Sept ’23): Bold Penalties and Verified Listings

Not only did the vibrant hues of September bring change for many, but so did the developments within the vacation rental industry. From Vrbo’s striking measures against host cancellations to Airbnb’s CEO giving us a sneak peek into what upgrades we can expect in the coming weeks, we’ll explore and analyze the industry’s latest news.

We’ll also look at the all-new Sports Illustrated Resorts and how California’s proposed changes could reshape how hotels and short-term rentals disclose “junk fees.” Plus, we’ll discuss Hyatt’s ambitious venture into the vacation rental realm with the launch of Homes & Hideaways.

Intrigued? Inspired? Eager to navigate the ever-evolving world of vacation rentals? Let’s check out September’s top vacation rental news and how it may impact your vacation rental business.

Vrbo’s pioneering penalties to protect guests

Vrbo, the Expedia Group vacation rental brand, is taking a bold stance to fortify guest protection and elevate the reputation of its Premier Hosts. To achieve this, Vrbo is introducing stringent measures, including imposing financial penalties on hosts who cancel reservations in the United States starting this October.


These penalties will be based on the total booking cost, with higher fees for cancellations made closer to the guest’s stay. Vrbo is also raising the bar for Premier Host eligibility, signaling to travelers where to find exceptional experiences. These initiatives, combined with existing measures like limiting host search visibility and revoking Premier Host status for repeat offenders, aim to demonstrate Vrbo’s commitment to delivering a trustworthy vacation rental platform while safeguarding travelers with its Book with Confidence guarantee.

Should I be worried?

These policy changes may have a mixed impact on hosts within the platform. On one hand, the financial penalties for cancellations could serve as a strong deterrent, incentivizing hosts to uphold their reservations and prioritize guest satisfaction. This could result in a more reliable and trustworthy hosting environment, benefiting both guests and responsible hosts.

On the other hand, hosts might find these penalties and stricter eligibility criteria for Premier Host status challenging, especially if they face unexpected circumstances that necessitate cancellations. Although, Vrbo has assured its U.S. hosts that fines will be waived in extreme cases such as natural disasters.

Striking a balance between enforcing these measures and being considerate of genuine host situations will be crucial for Vrbo to maintain a positive relationship with its hosting community. Ultimately, the changes are meant to reflect Vrbo’s commitment to protecting guests and boosting their Premier Hosts.

Verified listings unveiled by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

In an exciting update from Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky recently shared some of the platform’s future enhancements on X (formerly Twitter). The big one is Airbnb is set to introduce verified listings in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, and France, starting in February, followed by 30 more countries in the coming autumn.

These verified listings will feature a special icon, ensuring their authenticity and addressing concerns related to fraudulent listings that have plagued the platform in recent times.

airbnb verified listings

Furthermore, Airbnb’s commitment to enhancing user experience continues with the addition of two new filters: ‘King-size bed’ and ‘Pet-friendly homes.’ These filters, along with AI-powered suggestions, aim to make it easier than ever for travelers to find their ideal accommodations, even during peak booking times.

The unveiling of Airbnb’s latest enhancements carries substantial implications for hosts in the vacation rental community. With the introduction of verified listings and the promise of a specific icon for authenticity, hosts can anticipate a boost in guest confidence. This increased trust is invaluable, as it may attract more bookings and lead to fewer cancellations.

Brian chesky tweet

Moreover, the addition of filters like ‘King-size bed’ and ‘Pet-friendly homes’ demonstrates Airbnb’s commitment to catering to travelers’ specific preferences. For hosts who offer these amenities, this means an elevated visibility and the potential for increased occupancy rates. Additionally, the platform’s AI-powered suggestions for similar accommodations on popular dates could alleviate some of the challenges hosts face when dealing with high-demand periods, ensuring that their properties remain in demand throughout the year.

Game on: Sports Illustrated to redefine sports-fueled getaways

Travel + Leisure Co. is redefining sports getaways by teaming up with Sports Hospitality Ventures, LLC, to launch Sports Illustrated Resorts, an innovative concept catering to sports enthusiasts in U.S. college towns near universities.

Whether you’re a Gator or a Bulldog, this exciting venture promises to deliver immersive sports-centric experiences and unique accommodations in fan-favorite destinations. These themed resort complexes will be strategically positioned near the heart of passionate sports communities, with the first slated to debut in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in late 2025.

sports illustrated resorts

As these themed resort complexes roll out near U.S. college towns, hosts in proximity to these locations could see increased demand for their properties. Sports enthusiasts flocking to these destinations for immersive experiences may seek alternative accommodations, including vacation rentals, creating new revenue streams for hosts.

Hotel California: A quest for fee transparency

California could be taking a significant stride towards transparency in the hospitality industry. Two pivotal bills are on the cusp of reshaping how short-term rentals and hotels inform guests about “junk fees” like resort and housekeeping charges. Senate Bill 537, set to take effect in July 2024, mandates that businesses selling lodging for up to 30 days in California must include all fees in their room rates, except for government-imposed taxes. This applies not only to listings within California but also to consumers outside the state for hotels operating in California.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 478 would make it unlawful for California businesses to advertise prices that don’t encompass all mandatory fees, bringing greater transparency to the forefront of the state’s hospitality landscape. With these bills awaiting Governor Newsom’s decision, the future of fee disclosure in California hangs in the balance.

Hyatt’s bold leap: Homes & Hideaways

In a groundbreaking move, Hyatt Hotels Corporation has unveiled its latest venture, Homes & Hideaways by World of Hyatt, a short-term vacation rental platform set to launch in the coming weeks. This new OTA will grant World of Hyatt members exclusive access to a diverse range of private homes and remote hideaways across the United States.

Until next time!

In a whirlwind month of innovation and change, September marked a shift not just in season. Last month’s developments, from Vrbo’s bold stand against host cancellations to Airbnb’s incoming enhancements, hint at an exciting future where possibilities are limitless, experiences are immersive, and transparency is paramount.

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