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.
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