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VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

Bay Area, California
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VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

For your awareness, if you use VRBO for finding a great vacation rental, don't be caught by surprise by the new Traveler Fee. It is separate from the cost of your rental with the owner and is a Booking Fee.

Please read the attached article which explains the trends in 2016 to charge travelers additional fees for vacation home rentals.

http://www.guestservicefees.com

Tennessee
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1. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

This was such informative reading. We have encountered a similar situation in Canada.... which we love, but opt out from paying. I learned about this tourist tax on TA the first time we went. We are returning again and will ask that the 3% tourist tax be moved from our final statement.

So many travelers do not notice or question these add ons. Have you looked at airline tickets lately? Ours into Calgary had 7 or 8 "added fees". As if they are not overcharging already.

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Calgary
Calgary
Alberta, Canada
Charlotte, North...
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for North Carolina
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2. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

Thanks for getting the word out, I've made a few posts warning of the new "travelers service fee" on VRBO/Homeaway, but there needs to be more throughout the TA forums, and all social media. It's ridiculous, and we all need to boycott it. I've been using VRBO for our family's vacation rentals for many years, and 7 years ago, I began advertising our family's beach house on VRBO after years of dealing with too many local property management companies who nickeled and dimed us, taken higher percentages from us each year, and on top of the price to rent our home have added huge fees to the renters bills....Plus their poor housekeeping left our home filthy by the end of each prime summer rental season.

For our family's vacations, I've found wonderful vacation properties, dealt with wonderful homeowners, never having anything but great vacations in VRBO rented homes. And with my own beach home on VRBO, I was able to hire hard-working locals who have treated my home as their own, it is just as clean in late August and it is when I leave it in May. I've had very thoughtful, good people rent our beach home, and had very little damage since managing the house myself on VRBO. I've enjoyed doing little extras, etc to help those spending their vacations at our home have the best vacation possible, and our house has received all 5 star reviews.

Since Homeaway purchased VRBO things have been going downhill, and now that all that is Homeaway has been purchased by Expedia, the enormous corporation cares nothing for homeowners who've paid hefty subscription fees to advertise their vacation rentals, and nothing for travelers/vacationers who come to the website to find good properties for their vacations. VRBO/Homeaway/Expedia is all about gouging both homeowners and travelers to make record profits for their stockholders. When huge numbers of homeowners have complained about the new travelers service fee, we've been told, "it's for your benefit, but if you don't like it, cancel and leave the site, the new fees are not going away....and more changes are coming"

I still have a few months left on my VRBO subscription, but will not be renewing. Until my subscription ends, I'm no longer accepting payment through the VRBO/Homeaway system, and outside of the system I am not charging my guests that ridiculous fee. My house is smaller, not on the ocean, so is not an expensive rental, but the travelers fee has been over $100 for every quote I've given since the fee was added to the system! That's unacceptable, I already spend close to $1000 per year to advertise my home on VRBO, plus they charge homeowners large fees for processing payments through the website (which they've lead renters to believe that they must do this to protect themselves from fraudulent homeowners....so bogus!) they haven't needed these huge travelers service fees in the past, and they don't need them now! They make plenty off homeowners, and that should be the end of it.

We homeowners are scrambling looking for alternatives for advertising our vacation homes, I'm planning to make a Facebook page for my home, and looking at other online rental from homeowner sites, that are not owned by Homeaway/Expedia, and that are not gouging homeowners and their guests.

Please pass the word, and if you do find a home on VRBO or Homeaway, for your sake as well as the homeowners' please ask if they will accept payment OUTSIDE the corrupt VRBO/Homeaway system. At this time we homeowners on VRBO and Homeaway still have the right/ability to choose how we rent our homes/which payment methods we accept, etc. but this will most likely be ending soon.

NC
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3. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

Too bad. I predict they will soon be out of business. I've had about 50/50 experience with them as a customer - half good, half bad. I'll just look elsewhere for rentals - no prob. Thanks for the info.

A M
Oak Ridge, North...
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4. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

What a shame. I read the link, but am not totally clear on what the VRBO service fee actually is. Is it 6% of the rental fee? I know that owners pay a very high fee to list their property on VRBO. We listed our home with them many years ago when the fee was very low. Things are certainly different now. I have a couple of VRBO properties I hope to rent again. I am not aware of these properties being advertised anywhere other than VRBO. I have tried to google them, but came up with nothing else. So, are we supposed to ask the owner via VRBO contact about this issue - and if they list their rental elsewhere?

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

The new travelers service fee is 6%-10% of the rental costs, not to exceed $499.00!...Can you imagine paying that much money on top of a rental price? Geeze!!!

At this time you can still get the homeowner's phone number off their VRBO or Homeaway page, you can also send an inquiry through the system asking the homeowner anything you want. Most homeowners will work with you for payment outside the VRBO/Homeaway system. Rumor has it that VRBO/Homeaway (and this service fee was a rumor for quite awhile) will soon remove homeowner's phone numbers from their page, and restrict homeowners from seeing email addresses/phone numbers of people inquiring to rent their property, They will also force homeowners to process all payments through their payment system, or be removed from the website. I refuse to open my home to anyone that I don't have a name and contact info for, and I did not sign up for VRBO to be told how I can receive payment, and/or how to manage the rental of my home. The website was set up to be a marketplace where vacation rental homeowners could advertise their properties to potential guests...Nothing more. I'm gone as soon as my current subscription expires, just the subscription fee has gotten ridiculous over the past few years, I'm paying almost 4 times what I did just 6 years ago!

If you have favorite VRBO properties you'd like to rent in the future, I'd recommend getting the homeowners' phone number, and/or contacting them through the system for their personal email address and/or other methods of contact, ASAP.

Bay Area, California
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6. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

To A M,

The traveler fee is an add on line item when you request a quote on an owner rental on VRBO. It ranges between 4-10%, the lower the total rental amount, the higher the proportional add-on.

So if your total rental days plus cleaning is about $1000, a 10% (or maybe 9%, its a sliding scale) is applied, and the line item called "Service Fee" will be required for the traveler to pay, about $90-$100. If your rental amount is $10,000, then the fee will be more in the 4% range (or $400).

The Service Fee is paid directly to HomeAway/VRBO, not to the owner. The owners have no say in this.

You always have the alternative to book directly with the owner. It is your choice.

When you email the owner HomeAway/VRBO have a couple of windows that pop up on your screen that are intended to essentially make the uninformed traveler quite leary of using the site without their "protection" fee.

Once you contact the owner HA/VRBO provides reasons why the traveler will be safer not to deal with the owner directly. It says:

>Comprehensive payment protection protects your full rental payment against listing fraud, phishing, property significantly misrepresented and more*.

>Premium customer service is available 24/7 to help you with issues or questions regarding your stay

>Emergency re-booking assistance helps you find another vacation rental should your booking be cancelled by an owner or manager at the last minute

>Security deposit protection helps make sure you get your deposit back if it is wrongfully withheld

This is disheartening in that on the one hand HA is promoting the properties as a wonderful way to vacation, next it is issuing a "buyer beware, don't trust the owner" statement.

The best thing any traveler can do is look at the following:

Review longevity of the listing and a do a careful read of the reviews. The number of reviews is perhaps important, but more important is what guests actually say. Read them.

Then, if you are uncertain about property or the owner.......would you rather pay $100 for protection, and hope that things work out?

...OR

should you pick up the phone, make certain before you start your trip that you feel good about the property and the owner by getting to know each other. Owners appreciate to "meet" by phone the people who will come to enjoy their 2nd home and enjoy helping their travelers know how to get the most from a visit to their area.

The fine print always tell the story and in this case it is more important than ever. If you decide to purchase HA's book with confidence program, read it. There are 9 steps that a traveler must take in order to be considered for their refund request, and HomeAway uses the terms "may" rather than "Will" or "Shall" when it explains if it will reimburse the traveler. The language is written such that the strength of the language is in favor of HA to not be obligated to perform.

To read the fine print here is the 'contract' between the traveler and HA who purchases the "Book with Confidence Guarantee"

https:/…bookwithconfidence

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7. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

Thanks so much for the info on this thread! It's very helpful.

A M
Oak Ridge, North...
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507 posts
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8. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

Thank you to all for this info., especially ahappytraveler. That was very informative. I am going to send off an email to the owner of a rental we stayed at last year and hope to again this year. I'll ask if if can be booked outside of VRBO's site. Not sure what their reply will be. We posted a really great review after we stayed last year and they seemed appreciative of it. I've never encountered this type of thing, so I guess I'll see what this particular owner has to say, assuming they answer my inquiry.

Bay Area, California
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9. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

another article provides detailed coverage of the new traveler fee charged by HomeAway/VRBO:

topsailpm.com/homeaway-vrbo-renters-service-…

A M
Oak Ridge, North...
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507 posts
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10. Re: VRBO Implements new 10% Traveler Fees on vacation rentals

Thanks ahappytraveller, that is much more concise as far as fees go. I can't imagine this is going to go well for them.

I did hear back from the owner of one of our favorite VRBO properties. He is willing to discount the rent in the amount of the fee. He is not happy about the new fee. We were pleased he was willing to work with us as there is obviously no other way to avoid the fee, if you book on VRBO. I cannot imagine this particular owner will renew once his contract has expired.