In short I agree with almost all who claim that the service and value is NOT WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN
I have advertised with HomeAway for many years with a break in between, At first it was Holiday rentals and gave reasonable service certainly value for money, but then it became HomeAway and it has changed and not for the good, an owner needs to have familiarity but a "dash board" was introduced adding unnecessary complications and the need to relearn how to change and up date, but by far my biggest gripe is that at one time as long as you kept your calendar up to date you would find yourself higher in the listings this meant that anyone who was willing to put the effort in could keep themselves in view on the ratings, but now you need to pay to be found early in searches, then pay again for all other services that you may want, already they are one of the more expensive company’s about. In summing up I strongly agree that they are fast becoming too expensive to use, I keep records of conversion rate across all of the enquiries and lets, this gives me the ability to ensure that this company is still viable but HomeAway is becoming more expensive each year to get lets with a cost of about £50.00 per conversion of an enquiry into a let against three years ago a cost of about £25.00 per let, if this trend continues I will be moving as we the owners are not here for HomeAway but rather the reverse they are here to work on our behalf and help us get lets without adding additional costs all the time.
After reading through these reviews I can't believe they are about Home Away, I completely disagree. I have advertised my three Florida Villas with Holiday-Rentals for eleven years and for ten of those years I have been absolutely delighted with them until they became Home Away. Since then I have been very dissatisfied with almost every aspect of my ads. The price is very expensive, the dashboard is time consuming and irrelevant, the calendar cannot be upgraded beyond March 2014, guests have to be registered with Facebook to add a review, other villas pop up when a customer enquires for my villa, very difficult to upload photographs, HA are more intent on trying to sell travel insurance and for guests to pay them direct, they now have a standard letter to tell guests our villa is booked or available using bad grammer and completely try and take over the running of our homes. People booking my villas tell me that they like a personal service and they certainly are not getting it with HA. I could go on but the biggest complaint I have is the lack of enquiries compared to how many I used to receive when holiday-rentals were involved and for this reason I will not be renewing my three ads with Home Away.
I am now 2 years advertising my holiday home with homeaway.co.uk. Since the restructure of the site and the change of name (before holiday-rentals.co.uk) everything came worse. Many enquiries was not forwarded to me, I checked this by sending test enquiries for my holiday rental (by myself and through friend using different mail addresses and networks). A customer which didn't got a response after enquiring on homeaway.co.uk was call me and asked why I didn't answer his mail which made me to check about that matter. Worse is that the customers (and me when I send the test enquiries) got a confirmation mail from homeaway that the enquiry has been forwarded to the owner (me). Because of not receiving this enquiries I couldn't response. This is a big loss for me, because this customers wont enquire again for my holiday rental (even on other sites) because of not getting a reply. I complained to the customer service and I forwarded to them all test enquiries which hasn't been forwarded to me. The customer service just said this happens because of their spam filter system which block mails from 'non trusted countries!! and non trusted networks!!! --- In short words this system is blocking mails which are send from specific countries and/or through specific network operators to be send to the holiday rental owner!!! I guess the only trusted countries for them is the US and UK. Other bad changes after changing the website name are that no enquiries been forwarded per sms notification (which worked before with any problems), Google rank has been removed from the adverts ( before page rank 1 or 2 now no ranking). Since the changes on the homeaway/holiday-rentals website it looks like the homeaway company is not interested in providing best service for the high advertisement fees anymore, they are just looking for more profit with saving money in less investing in customer service and seo services. Myself I got no booking since the last renewal of my advert (that time the changes of their website started -June 2012-). Other sites, including my own homepage, where I advertise are just bringing the same amount of good enquiries and bookings as before.
I have been advertising my single holiday house in Cornwall with homeaway and previously holiday rentals since the beginning of such advertising. For a very long time indeed I was absolutely delighted with the response and received an impressively large number of sensible enquiries; my ad with them really worked well. I recommended HR/Homeaway far and wide, several of my personal recommendations also took up advertising with the firm.
Now sadly all it appears that this service has altered, not for the better. I only rarely get a sensible enquiry these days despite having the most expensive global package available and directing google ad words to my page on the site. I get weird, incomplete, enquiries from people with odd email addresses, who never get back to my polite and careful replies. I bit the bullet and signed up for the payment arrangement, against my better judgement, when I believed the spin, which said people who accepted on line payments received twice as many enquiries. For the several weeks I had it set up I had no enquiries at all. I had to dismantle it as the system required a per night price which as a holiday house which aims to let weeks or at least three night breaks, comes out as a nonsense. I don't want to display a nightly rate, it won't ever make sense and the computer stubbornly altered the weekly rate, making it come out as far too expensive. I spent a lot of time trying to sort this and asked for help several times, in the end the only way to make my ad look right was to stop the payment facility. When I eventually got through to a member of staff they were as bemused as me as to what to do but always tried to help.
I wish that the firm would go back to basics, to the job they once did really well, that of attracting visitors to the site and directing them to owner managed properties in special locations. It went downhill from the day they allowed agencies to block book several or even dozens of properties without keeping up charts etc, changing the ethos of the firm from direct bookings for owners who care about their lovely places to a more cynical, let’s get everything we can out of this, commercial operation.
I am really sorry not to be able to give a better review, I should be fair and say I like the look of the pages I have made and enjoy the chance to be part of the tip top properties that advertise alongside me in my area. I once wrote a short piece about where we are and that was accepted and published at the bottom of the page. I won a featured listing for taking that trouble and was pleased to help. I have had several conversations with staff, who are always pleasant, thoughtful and patient.
I truly do want Homeaway to be a big success, I feel personally attached to it because of our long association, I just think that recently it has lost its way.
I am keeping faith and staying on the site in the hope that all the extra stuff will wither away, gold, bronze, platinum what have you, all designed to make our ads ever more costly with the scaremongering that if you don't go along with the escalation you will lose out. Accepting card payments through Paypal works fine but really everyone should be able to make a bank transfer these days. Getting Homeaway involved in banking ‘our’ money seems to lower the credibility of the firm rather than improve it.
I don’t want to appear rude or unreasonable, I’m just trying to give a balanced view of how it now feels to be an owner advertising with you. I appreciate that times have changed very fast, there are so many places to choose from nowadays, every house in Cornwall seems to boats a self catering annex/barn/cottage or the chance to build one when sold. Guests are far more direct about their requirements, aware that they have the upper hand in a market where bookings are harder to get than ever before. I look forward to better times and meanwhile have continued to work away at and add on to a back to basics programme – fostering the best possible relationship with guests past and new, making sure everything goes really well for their holiday, and creating my own unique and attractive website. Two thirds of my bookings this year are repeats or recommendations. Holiday Rentals was great Homeaway has (hopefully temporarily) lost the plot.
Since HomeAway swallowed up both Holiday Rentals and Owners Direct in the UK we have lost the best villa rental companies in exchange for a vast monolith that simply does not serve the owner. OK, it may provide the person searching for a holiday because of the thousands of properties but even then it is simply too big to make it easy. I used HomeAway to find a property to rent in California to see how well it worked and it was very noticeable that even when you had settled on a property, the system was still suggesting that you should look for at least another 3. Of course this helps them to make it look as if the tens of thousands of owners are getting enquiries but, as all owners now know, HomeAway have come up with only one way to get noticed - by spending even more for a 'special' position. I have battled with HomeAway over my Owners Direct subscription. Their site offered a reduced rate to renew through what I considered to be the Holiday Rentals site so I asked if this reduced the visibility via Owners Direct and was told that it did not and just that the advert had to be identical, so I accepted. They took the money and I heard no more even how I should look up my advert as it was to be a new one in so far as OD were concerned. Eventually I telephoned and was assured that the advert was live and was given a new reference number. I asked if OD had been informed and was told that it was the same office and they all answered for either company. Since then I don't think I have received any enquiries from OD but I have received numerous reminders from OD that I have not renewed my subscription and rubbing in the fact that I was missing out on valuable enquiries! I have tried replying and I have telephoned without any effect. After one particularly pointed email from me I did get a call from a very well trained lady who said she had set up a 3 month special position for me because of the aggravation. Unfortunately I have seen nothing of this and have not received any enquiries. When I asked about this 'special position' I was told that it was booked but that these positions rotate with the others. I am glad I didn't pay for it as it is clearly another HomeAway money spinner in which advertisers are not guaranteed the extra exposure that they might well think they will get whilst the business is trying to persuade as many advertisers as possible to spend more money. Finally - perhaps - our property is now one of tens of thousands in our small part of France. I have fewer bookings than I have had in 10 years - so HomeAway simply does not work for advertisers. Don't waste your money. The only positive thing I have to say is that it's pretty brave asking for my opinion!
I rent a villa in The South Africa Cape. I get a good number of enquiries from a wide range of countries and at least half convert to bookings. Homeaway charges represent a few percent of the rental income generated.
We've been advertising with HomeAway for some years now, since its earlier guise as Holiday Rentals. The site has never delivered the bulk of our business, but has always done just enough to justify the expense and the time to maintain the adverts.
However, over the last couple of years, the level of enquiries has dropped and the price has increased quite considerably. Visibility on the site increasingly seems to depend on paying considerably more for a "premium" listing. HomeAway seem to be increasingly keen on moving to a commission based model in which they collect money from holiday makers and delay passing it on to the property owners until the traveller actually arrives at the holiday property, something that will do wonders for their cashflow but nothing at all for ours. This, they claim, will improve security for the holiday maker, though it is hard to see how, since the rental contract will remain between the owner and the traveller and the level of recourse to HA by either seems a bit hazy, to me at least.
Of the enquiries we do get, an increasing number are fake, mostly concerned, at the moment, with gathering email addresses from property owners for follow-up phishing attempts to conduct an identity theft. These run along the lines of " I just tried to pay for my sister's holiday, but I couldn't, so could you send your bank details again. Oh, and a scanned copy of your passport, because my bank need proof of identity." Obvious, but irritating.
The site is not particularly easy to use, either as an owner or as a traveller. I tend to find my own holiday rentals on other, less confusing, sites - just because an owner has paid to have a premium listing doesn't make their property the most suitable for my wants, and I like to have a direct contact with the owner, so, personally, I will not be handing over my cash to a third party for "safekeeping."
Overall, HomeAway might do well to remember two things:
Firstly, they are the broker in a deal between a traveller and an owner and a successful broker works hard to keep both principals in the deal happy. They should forget about imposing conditions themselves, and;
Second, the internet is a big place. They are not the only show in town, even if they are the biggest at the moment.
I started advertisng with Holiday Rentals in 2006. At first I received lots of enquiries and bookings but in the last two years bookings are enquiries are down. As i am now retired (I had hoped to be living in Cyprus by now) I am still letting our apartment out but I have had to put my prices up to cover the high cost of electricity. This is the thin edge of the wedge when I am being asked to pay more for my advertising and yet not getting any bookings.
I advertise with another web site which is cheaper and I have had bookings from them but not from Home and Away, so it is not my rental increase stopping people booking. I find the other web site much easier to use and more user friendly.
My subscription is coming up for renewal and I am seriously thinking about paying for this again.
We have been with HomeAway.co.uk since 2009 now and have advertised our property Paradise Palms Jamaica Villa http://www.paradisepalmsjamaica.com with them ever since. In fact we just recently renewed our subscription and has a large option of how much advertising our villa needed.
We found the staff at HomeAway very helpful and are able to resolve any issue concerning the property quite efficiently. The rate is reasonable as we make it back anyway. Just one suggestion we are limited with the numbers of photos we can use, this should be at least 50.
I highly recommend Homeaway for all you villa or vacation Rental needs,
Owner Paradise Palms Jamaica Villa, Montego Bay Jamaica
If you want to get any results be prepared to give away your arm and leg. Each year they come with a new way to screw their customers. By amalgamating a number of independent websites under one umbrella of HomeAway they created a monopoly which they use for price gouging. I miss the times when the services on internet were mostly free. There are still some sites like that (e.g. ExchangeZones ) but they have hard time competing with these corporate giants.
The latest alteration to the website makes me despair and seriously to question whether I shall renew my subscription after 12 years. Why change what was a user-friendly website to an ultra-sophisticated one which looks and is confusing. Why on earth is Facebook involved unless possibly money is changing hands? Does HomeAway read these reviews and, if so, does it act on them? And I am writing not only as a renter but as someone who tried today to find a holiday let for my family in other countries and locations.
If you want to advertise a holiday home look no further---I have tried many sites and still find Home and Away gives me the most bookings. Easy to use, professional and all questions dealt with quickly. Pay on line is useful--I feel they want you to do well. Jenny Bertoli. www.gitesbreton.co.uk
Unless you are willing to pay for prime placement of your advert then the level of enquiries are poor. There are many properties listed which means lots of competition and often leads to hard negotiation of prices etc. If you ever have an issue with HomeAway don't expect it to be resolved quickly and certainly don't exepect a fair response.
HomeAway does seem to deliver. I am more than satisfied with this company. I would like to extend my exposure with them but find the prices a little too steep. Still, I can't complain with the return I get from my investment on this site. I have been with them for many years and intend to stay with them. I would recommend them without any hesitation to anyone starting out with a holiday rental.
I have been advertising with Holiday-Rentals for over 3 years. They have recently changed and are now Home Away. Their prices increase every year, the booking enquiries have gone down and the new owner Dashboard is terrible! Something as simple as loading photos, updating calendar is a task and a half. I advertise with 2 other websites who are cheaper, easier to contact, I get more enquiries and a 'User Friendly' owners page. I will NOT be renewing my 2 advertisements with them again.
I have been with holiday rental for 9 years now, and every year the price goes up. But for the last 2 years the booking have gone down. I had a problem setting up cutomer online payments. I emailed holiday rentals about this weeks ago and am still waiting for a reply.
We've tried 3 or 4 alternative online web sites but we feel that HomeAway are far and away the best for us. I like the email contact, advice and feel part of the whole team project of providing a really enjoyable holiday but being able to keep "in charge" and able to respond very quickly to new trends and ideas, update photos etc. We have used the European sites this year and thank goodness we have - we are not full but over 90% of our business so far has been through the french sister site. Don't over-reach yourselves otherwise you will lose "normal" people like us - let the new payment systems bed-in before coming up with another marketing ploy. Would recommend your organisation - we are very pleased to be part of the team!!