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Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.

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Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.

In February, after being purchased by Expedia, Home Away and VRBO started adding a service fee to all rentals. It adds 9% to the total of purchases of around $1000 and less. That's a pretty big fee, and it does not add any value to your rental. They claim they add guarantees, but its nothing but fear-mongering.

Worse, the very best homes are not at the top of the page. There are less experienced new owners trying to make a fast buck at the top of search results. Expedia can make even more money on the newcomer owners. Owners who don't like these changes are leaving the web-sites and using other places.

What you should do if you want to look at these websites, is go through all the listings, even the ones at the bottom of the last page. Look for lots of good reviews. Then see if you can find the home listed on another site, or find the owner's personal website. You can use Google to search the photos. Or when you search Google, don't just use the big listing sites, dig deep and look for the personal web-sites or some of the regional web-sites and avoid the fees.

The owners of these homes are really unhappy at the money grab by Expedia. And they will be really happy to rent to you directly.

Peaks Island, Maine
Level Contributor
1,884 posts
27 reviews
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1. Re: Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.


It's interesting to note the different fees associated with these home rental/sharing sites. Home away (VRBO) was recently acquired by Expedia for $3.9 billion. Because Expedia paid so much for the operations they are likely looking for ways to boost revenue and increase profits, hence the addition of new fees. This is the kind of thing that happens in travel related businesses all the time, such as the airlines. (Do you ever wonder why you now need to pay separate fees for your seat or boarding preferences? After years of acquisitions the airlines are now left with an industry of "add on" fees to cover all of their past costs of acquisitions.)

VactionHomeRentals.com is a much smaller operation that was independently started in 2004. Recently it was acquired by TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor is clearly trying to get into the "bookings" business and the vacation rental/home sharing business is becoming a huge strategic asset for this industry. Just look at the growth rate of the home sharing site Airbnb. This is one of the bigger success stories of the Internet 2.0, and continues to be, even with all of the legal challenges around the nation. With all of these acquisitions taking place there are likely a few things you can bet on: fees will likely increase over time for all parties, the industry will likely change a lot, you'll likely see a lot more marketing activity, and finally a lot more legal issues will pop up because the home sharing/vacation rental market will really start cutting into the traditional hotel/resort rental market. This has been happening already over the past few years.

The other big issue, in addition to navigating the rising fees, is the legal issue. Many properties listed on these sites in certain countries and towns are listed illegally, meaning that the properties listed possibly violate some type of short term rental ordinance. Sites like VRBO don't really do anything to screen this or offer any kind of protection to a traveler. For example you could readily book a vacation rental in a certain city, get all ready to take your vacation, and then find out a week or so before your trip that your reservation has been cancelled because the property owner was threatened by a code violation. This has been happening around the nation. Then you are scrambling to find a place to stay and you're out some of your booking fees.

Washington DC...
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72 posts
31 reviews
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2. Re: Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.

AirBnb has always charged upwards of 12% service fee. TripAdvisor announced they will be adding a fee in the 10% to 15% range.

It is no different than StubHub or Ticketmaster charging fees for ticket sales. Not saying I like it but its not new.

Rockville, Maryland
1 post
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3. Re: Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.

It's different. As a homeowner I already pay HomeAway a $1200 subscription to use their service. And my guests are primarily sourced elsewhere but I liked the convenience of using HomeAway's billing and calendar. And it provided our guests with the ability to obtain travel insurance. This service charge is in exchange for nothing for these guests, to the tune of $4000 a year for our bookings for one home. With over a million homes, and ours not being on the expensive side, the fees raked in would be over $4 Billion annually. This is just sheer greed. And it harms the owners. We will leave in droves as our subscriptions expire. You will see other sites, like HomeEscape.com, growing while HomeAway diminishes - no longer any reason for existing.

Brossard, Canada
1 post
1 review
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4. Re: Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.

That's true but AirBnB doesn't charge a percentage AND a listing fee at the same time.

Bay Area, California
Level Contributor
177 posts
3 reviews
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5. Re: Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.

Travelers will just need to become more clever now.......to find the premium properties and avoid the fees. The owner vacation rental market was created by the initiative of individuals, by the preference of the discerning traveler and fueled by the power of the internet.

The more money that is diverted by the large online booking sites, the less money available for the traveler to spend on other parts of their vacation or the owner to reinvest in the upkeep and amenities of the property. It's a lose-lose for the independent traveler and owner and a win-win for the Big Company CEOs and their Stockholders.

Please support independent owners by finding them on Fee Free sites. Let greedy companies know that enough's enough! Their monopolistic and collusive behaviors need not go unchecked if wise travelers are willing to NOT support this trend.

You can find owners' personal websites or listings on fee free sites by googling the property name or doing a image search on Google Chrome.

This article explains what is going on and what a traveler can do do avoid throwing money down the drain. guestservicefees.com/

6. Re: Home Away and VRBO Prices Just Went Way Up.

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Removed on: 06 April 2017, 12:16