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VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

Phoenix, AZ
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VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

I have used vrbo to find great rentals for our vacations since 2004, and I have always been happy with where we stayed and the owners who rented to us. Apparently VRBO.com/Homeaway.com (bought out by Expedia) is now charging a "service fee" of 6-10% of the total cost when you book a rental property on their site.

The money goes directly to vrbo/homeaway-- the owner of the rental does not get a dime. Apparently, this fee "Helps VRBO provide a safer and more secure booking experience, coupled with premium 24/7 support throughout your trip."

Who calls VRBO if they need assistance in a vacation rental? I highly doubt that VRBO/Homeaway knows the wi-fi code, can call a plumber for a specific rental in case of emergency, or can take care of any other issue that the HOMEOWNER takes care of. VRBO/Homeaway seems like they intend to act as property managers, without doing anything to care for the property that they are now charging the owner to list and accept credit cards, and charging renters for the "opportunity" to rent through their site.

Story:

tnooz.com/article/…

Overland Park...
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1. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

It's pure greed. It does however open the door for a competitor to rise up and steal vrbo's business by offering a service that does not charge fees to renters. Hopefully that will happen.

Bay Area, California
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2. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

Thank you for sharing this information. It's important for travelers to be forewarned.

The fee DOES NOT APPLY HOWEVER if the traveler makes arrangements to pay the owner directly with credit card or some other secure form of payment.

Your credit card company is actually your best insurance.

The hard-to-find terms and conditions from HomeAway/VRBO, called "Book with Confidence Guarantee" only state that they "may" (rather than the more secure guarantee wording "shall" or "will") provide assistance to the traveler if the traveler runs into problems, and the traveler must complete 9 steps to be compensated/reimbursed.

On the Other Hand...... If you called your credit card company because of an issue with a rental, to set up a dispute, they will immediately reverse the charges and hold them until a dispute investigation is completed. Credit Card companies take fraud very seriously and are effective in dealing with it.

VRBO is the STILL among the best places to find a owner vacation rental.

If you have any doubts at all, FIRST LOOK at the date/duration they've been a member. If they've been doing business on VRBO for 3 or more years, then it's pretty safe to assume you're dealing with an experienced VR to begin the inquiry process. And Read their Reviews and the dates of the reviews. Don't discount the newer VRBO members either, just do your homework as you would for any important purchase.... make sure you picked the best property for your vacation.

Just know that there ARE Options and that not EVERY owner requires you to pay VRBO 10% for the "Book with Confidence Guarantee" fee. In your inquiry through the VRBO system let the owner know you are wanting to know how to decide the best way to make payment. You are always welcome to call the owner too on the phone number they have provided on their listing.

This is the way you can learn whether they offer Additional payment options that do not require you or them to use HomeAway's BOOK IT NOW and the associated 6-10% Traveler Fee.

Another informative post on this on another forum here: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g30582-i174-k92759…

Oahu, Hawaii
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3. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

We've been discussing this issue. Many folks are plenty annoyed.

A new option/company would be good.

4. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

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Oahu, Hawaii
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5. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

<<<<"The fee DOES NOT APPLY HOWEVER if the traveler makes arrangements to pay the owner directly with credit card or some other secure form of payment.">>>>

That will be changing, however.

Hamilton, New York
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6. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

Can you expand on how this will be changing? I'm interested because I've typically dealt directly with the owners when renting from VRBO.

Bay Area, California
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7. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

Yes, jet83...

What you're saying about the still-in-tact option to work with the owner directly through VRBO may be changing.

It would appear that Expedia/HomeAway/VRBO are converging on the AirBnB-like model, essentially extracting a service fee of up to 13% in order to rent a vacation rental that formerly was a financial transaction between the owner and the guest with no 3rd party guarding the transaction/collecting a middleman fee.

So here's what experienced travelers can do, if time comes that they are unable to reach an owner directly on VRBO, is try to find them another way that puts them in contact directly with the owner.

Some owners list something on their VRBO ad that makes them uniquely identifiable. It might be a "name" they've given their property, like "Sanderson's Heavenly Hale" , or perhaps their unit number. Or it might be a unique way they describe their location.

Many or perhaps Most Owners often have other listings on different sites, if they don't today, that WILL be the case in the not too distant future..as owners are abandoning HA/VRBO or at least setting up their paths for listing independence from HA/VRBO .

Many have personal websites.... often with the same phrases in their VRBO listing. So with not too much work, many savvy travelers find with a little detective work on the internet using search terms......multiple websites for the same property.

The trick is that a google search needs to quickly identify quality options for the traveler and my best bet is that HomeAway is going to buy internet traffic with Ad dollars to try and keep as many other players as possible off of a Page 1 Google Search.

This will all follow a zig-zag path until another listing site, that is not playing games with owners and travelers this way, gains a following of travelers and owners.

One great site that is an older rental network established about 20 yrs ago (not certain exactly how long)...... mauiownercondos

they specialize in the South Maui area but are branching into West Maui and perhaps other islands too as there is great demand by owners for what they offer.

They validate every new rental listed - that it is legitimately owned by the person with the subscription. I am not aware of other sites (including the biggies) that do this.

The vast majority of their listings are also personally inspected by a fierce white-glove-inspector, for the quality and type of amenities.

The Availability Calendar is unique and a great tool. It's a group calendar feature where in virtually one glance see what is available for every property on the site during a given month - a great thing when your trip is either last minute or during High Season when most properties are booked.

At the group calendar level, you can select for Area, Bedrooms, and for Beachfront-Only properties. From there you click on the individual property which goes directly to their website.

UNFORTUNATELY....this morning, I find that since the site is newly re-introduced in a new format, the links to the properties was broken.

But....definitely BOOKMARK this site - it is clearly one of the best for ownership-verified, legal and quality South Maui rentals with no-games/no-hassle direct with the owner interactions.

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Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Oahu, Hawaii
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8. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

On the Maui forum:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29220-i86-k923485…

Mentioned in this post
Maui
Maui
Hawaii
Oahu, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
26,235 posts
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9. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

On Kaua'i:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29218-i304-k92800…

Bay Area, California
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177 posts
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10. Re: VRBO/HomeAway New Travel Fees for Renters

jet83, thank you for posting links to this topic.

For more background on HomeAway/VRBO "Book with Confidence Guarantee" Note the use of the terms "may" in Section 2 Protections Provided. Note the nine steps that must be taken (two steps in the first part of the sequence) in Section 5 of the Process Requirements).

I don't know if this link will post: but the full text is vrbo.com/info/…bookwithconfidence or vrbo dot com/info/about-us/legal/terms-conditions/bookwithconfidence