So I used to use OwnerRez all the time for my property which was linked to VRBO (Homeaway). The inquires worked well and I was able to book and management payments through OwnerRez – which worked well – really well.
About a year and a half ago, I made, in retrospect, the bad judgement call to start processing everything though VRBO as I figured it would be ‘easier’, especially with their ‘Hospitality Manager’. That turned out to be a pipe dream. The hospitality manager is hard for some guests to use and the booking engine is buggy – I already flat out lost one reservation request due to a bug that did not allow me to send an updated quote. Obviously with this new traveler fee, this was the last straw.
Hence I am considering going back to OwnerRez to handle and manage all my bookings. The booking engine is much easier and more flexible than VRBO and the automated emails are awesome. In the meantime I have started getting bookings in from AirBnB and from Flipkey. In my humble opinion VRBO/AirBnB/Flipkey are the only real players in this game. I have tried many of the other sites – some where I have had to pay an annual fee – and the results of them are 0 bookings in 3 years. I would say my bookings are broken down from VRBO/AirBnB/Flipkey as 75%/20%/5%
My overall question is such: With VRBO now joining the ranks of providers who tack an extra fee onto each booking, has anyone still had success in utilizing the inquiry engine here? The last time I really used the system, one could process VRBO inquiries relatively easy and manage the booking fully from OwnerRez. However I can imagine that like AirBnB and Flipkey, VRBO is now a closed system in order to prevent any bypass of their greedy customer service charges as imposed by their own system.
What are others doing? I am considering duplicating bookings in OwnerRez regardless just to use the excellent reporting and auto-email features of it. Mind you, in full honesty, I am trying to decide if the $5/booking cost is worth it for just that.
Thoughts by anyone? Open to advice / suggestions ;-)