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re: Homeaway various
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delilah



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 102
Location: mersea island, essex

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:25 pm    Post subject: re: Homeaway various Reply with quote

Hello
I'm still getting a good number of bookings through OD under HA. However, with my listing due to renew imminently, I have now been forced as i knew i would be eventually to sign up for online bookings and online payments. As much as anyone can tell me re their experience re this will be much appreciated. I normally invoice 30% as a deposit to secure booking, invoice the remaining 70% 28 days before their stay and request a damage deposit at the same time.

Concerned about whether i can still ask for direct bank transfer, what time lines are for online payments to arrive (what is the check in? sorry to sound ignorant, but i have been avoiding this, having wrestled with the templates when i had online booking enabled before), what are the costs to the owner and guest etc etc and how is it working out for you. I have a good website, which i need to try and get optimised. Also get a lot of multiple repeat bookings (year 5 now), but need the new bookings too. Thanks. I have done a search re the posts, but still not clear
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goosie



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 407
Location: Cotswolds

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Iím afraid I donít have much helpful news as it just gets confusing for your renters from here on in. You can dondirect bank transfer for the remainder of the payment and in theory set your terms but the renter doesnít often know that. So they are forced to pay their fee to owners direct (which by the way is on some form of sliding scale so you canít easily tell what the figure will be) and they often believe that they have therefore paid their deposit. So when you ask them to pay th deposit by bank transfer they are confused even though weíre set the dates for and split of payment on the system OD seems to override that so again we often get comments from people who have signed our booking terms and conditions in the basis of payment two months before the start of their holiday to say that the OD payment schedule says something different.

Then donít get me started on the way OD quotes figures for out of the usual stays - Iíve been having a battle with them for several months on how my rental prices per night shownit should be one price but how their system quotes a significantly lower price.

All in all I hate OD and although get a significant number of enquiries from them am seriously considering leaving when ours comes up for renewal.

And do
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1586
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever my be the situation now, they can change anything they want to and do so all the time (A/B testing).

If you want to get to the top of their search results in future, it is likely that not only will you have to accept instant booking, but also let HA decide your prices based on other properties/demand in your area.
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Joanna



Joined: 23 Aug 2007
Posts: 882
Location: Chester, North West England & Sidmouth, East Devon

PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

newtimber wrote:
Whatever my be the situation now, they can change anything they want to and do so all the time (A/B testing).

If you want to get to the top of their search results in future, it is likely that not only will you have to accept instant booking, but also let HA decide your prices based on other properties/demand in your area.

Just the thought of these OTAs setting prices for our properties makes my blood run cold Sad I wonder how far off that is? How long have I got to build up enough bookings from other sources?
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delilah



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 102
Location: mersea island, essex

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks everyone. Yes, I concur with all that goosie re rates. Ok, just putting my first booking through this way by direct bank transfer to me via the guest. However, i think because i was forced to hit the "accept booking" button (or they do you for not responding...arrh!haha!) I now have an email from OD saying guest has paid (this is of course still carrying the wrong money quote).
So, we'll see. Have in the past managed to unhook the online booking facility after much discussion with OD (to avoid hopping about through screens to even get to the email and avoid signing up). Am asking them about this again now. Realise it means plummeting from page one to last, but it hasn't interfered with high level of bookings this last year when i did it.
Mine field. And every potential booking seems to generate a million emails from OD.
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PW in Polemi



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1756
Location: A village in Paphos, Cyprus

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We were/are on subscription only, with no online booking and no online payment. As I recall, we never hit the "accept now" button, instead choosing the "email reply" button. This meant we could show our guests (yes, HA, they are OUR guests) that the price quoted by HA/OD was sometimes wrong in that HA had included the traveller fee erroneously.

Oh, and when updating the calendar with direct bookings (or even those originating from HA), we always input as the guests' email address an old little used one of ours, so the guest would not be bombarded with confusing and often contradictory emails from HA.

We are so glad not to be dealing with HA/OD ever again. Good luck!
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1291
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PW in Polemi wrote:
Oh, and when updating the calendar with direct bookings (or even those originating from HA), we always input as the guests' email address an old little used one of ours, so the guest would not be bombarded with confusing and often contradictory emails from HA.

I give my own name and usual email address, because the HA/OD calendar won't update unless you type something in there. The result is that I keep being asked to 'rate' myself Laughing. I am just dutifully updating the HA/OD calendar, although none of these guests actually booked through them. It's all beyond a joke really.
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7163
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My renewal comes up in January and so I suppose I will be forced to accept online bookings and I suppose online payments.

Like you deli lah it will all be completely new to me. In fact I don't know if I have to have both online bookings and payments or can only have the bookings side of things.
I find the info very hard to find.

Is there anyone out there who understands it all and can do a simple step by step? Or can I contact you seperately to talk it through when the time comes?

Having said that my last booking from OD was over a year ago but I still think people are directed to our website. ...though that seems to be slowing down, and would obviously stop completely if they forced me to remote the name.

Mousie (dreading renewal)
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delilah



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 102
Location: mersea island, essex

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again all. Subscription only, i think thats me too, but to renew the listing this year have been forced to accept the online booking and online payments.

So, just had a conversation (c-a-l-m-l-y) with OD. Once renewed, it isn't possible to unsubscribe from either of the above options.

they are working on improving the rates page as they realise it doesn't work for us. e.g my two night rate for a mid to low season stay is £300, which is higher than say a four night stay in terms of night rates. They currently have no way of quoting that two night rate to people.

Because it went through homeaway there is currently no option for "advance" payments. They are working on working sorting this, as currently one now gets none of the money. none-of-the-money, not deposit not nuffin until the day after the guest arrives. So vantage OD for cash flow. (I'm sure this was all heavily discussed in past posts, but it is at least an update on where they are at)

In future at an unspecified date they will be able to offer us the Advance payment (advance my arse)

The booking insurance fee thing seems to come out of my fee. Going to be fun keeping track of this lot for my accountant.

Meanwhile, reading between the lines on the forum, I am getting my website redone to optimise search etc, as all these platforms are going the same way.
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whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't....you're right
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delilah



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 102
Location: mersea island, essex

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh, and yes, i do the same with the calendar guest email...often making them up e.g squigglesplot@gmail.com or kinbastards@gmail.com (i haven't actually used that last one, but may start).

I have just put in my property description in the second line "please contact owner before making payments, as automatic quotes are often inaccurate" in an attempt to divert some. We'll see if i get away with that or not.
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delilah



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 102
Location: mersea island, essex

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and finally, I also just decided to email all my regulars, this years and next years bookings to put them in the picture and tell them they can still book direct with me in the old way, so they don't get sucked down the OD tube
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AndrewH



Joined: 12 Sep 2013
Posts: 1291
Location: Kefalonia, Greece

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

delilah wrote:
and finally, I also just decided to email all my regulars, this years and next years bookings to put them in the picture and tell them they can still book direct with me in the old way, so they don't get sucked down the OD tube

I have been with online booking and payments with OD for some while now. When I went that way I also sent a standardized email to over 100 past guests, almost all of whom had booked our rental in past years through OD, impressing on them the alternatives to booking through OD and so avoid their commission (OKA "service fee").

I used 'MailChimp' to do this emailing and their resulting email looked good with a photo of the property, nice headings and so on. As I remember, this service was free of charge and it gave me an opportunity to publicize my own website. There was a spin-off too, because it resulted in two new bookings.
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7163
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it is absolutely definately that owners are not paid a penny until AFTER the guests have stayed?

I'm just double checking as some on LMH (I'm sure) have online payments and get paid before.
I'm also sure I read that some have online bookings but not payments....does this mean when they renew they will also have to embrace online payments?

Its just so confusing as there are many stories out there.....including ones where OD operators lie. Evil or Very Mad

Mousie
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KathyG



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3223
Location: Le Faou, Brittany

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Changes all the time though Mouse, that's the problem. I had to renew in the summer and managed to not have to accept online payments as you're right, you get no money until guests have arrived. They did tell me at the time though, that they're ditching Yapstone in a few months and running payments themselves which will allow them to pay owners as they receive the money. That might well all be bunkum now though...... Rolling Eyes
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delilah



Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 102
Location: mersea island, essex

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mouse

Yes, to renew listing with OD you have to accept both online booking and online payments, no options.

I am contacting them this morning, because the "service fee" 5-12% plus vat seems to be taken out of my rate. So, that £220 the guest paid online has come to me as £196! Well, it hasn't come to me, as yes, they don't transfer the money to us until the day after the guest has "checked in"/arrived.

Trying to find wriggle room here. On the rates page re amounts taken, it is set at default 100% on booking, but you can opt for 25% or 50%. I am opting for 25% (normally i take 30%) so that a lower figure goes through OD, hopefully giving me a chance to divert other payments later to me. No doubt they've got that covered though.

Also, if you have a damage deposit on there, they take that, charge a fee on that too, keep it in their account, return it 7 days after the stay and refund us the fee on it.

So, cash flow is stuffed and less money for us anyway.

I have put a bit in my description on the page, which is the first thing people see, and in the second line, to say contact me first before making any payments, so i can provide an accurate quote, as the automatically generated quotes are ofter incorrect. Hoping this might pause the pay online button, and give me a chance to do direct bank transfer with them.

I'll come back and confirm that the service fee is actually taken off our income, later. In the middle of processing my first guest, and it has been a real pain in the bum.

Am looking at cottages.com. Do you have any other sites you are with, and that work well for you.

Also enquiring about putting the cottage out on permanent let (there is a loft room i can lock, and a garage, that i can stuff everything in) as frankly, i'm sick of this.

Also going to phone the holidayrentpayment people, who are mentioned on OD website. They can offer "advance payments", where you get the money direct, but the OD guy yesterday was very quick to say i couldn't do that as i've signed up for online payments with homeaway. So, if you re list and have to sign up, i would explore the options on that. OD tell me they are bringing it all under the homeaway banner anyway, but i'm going to contact these guys and see if there is an option of any sort.

Always a saga with OD. Nobody died in the making of this mini drama though.

And, it is going to make work re getting it all to make sense for the accountant.
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whether you think you can, or whether you think you can't....you're right
www.anchoragemewsmersea.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/AnchorageMewsHolidayCottage?ref=hl
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