I am wondering if other HomeAway and VRBO hosts are experiencing a decline in bookings - mine are down significantly and I am thinking their new fees and platform to find the “best” match may not be working very well for me. Thanks for your comments.
I’ve joined a bunch of websites. So far only had bookings from Airbnb
It seems bookings are a bit low on all platforms, I think it has something to do with events all over the world:
- Copa America
- European Football Championchip
I had been seeing a bit uptick in HW/VRBO over the last year because folks were catching on to the lack of booking fee, but no more. I think it IS the booking fee, and it is outrageous.
As for bookings being way down everywhere - I can’t speak for everywhere, but I know the Catskills are over-saturated. Competition is very stiff. Five new places just came on the market in my town of 1200 people. So, so, so glad I did not specifically buy a fixer to turn into a STR. And I came so very, very close more than once.
Thanks for your great comments and even in my rural area there is a bit more competition. I had someone near me and very close to my price point but they were only active for 8 months and then they sold the house. My overall bookings are about the same from the two previous years - with both ABB & HA/VRBO together but I put some more restrictions on such as 3 night minimum during June, July and August which cuts down on booking traffic. I have gradually raised my rates since I have over 50 Five star reviews on Air and 20 on HA/VRBO and decided I was below market for our rental. Of course if I used the price tips from Airbnb I would probably be booked all the time but not make nearly as much income. Best!
I think the VRBO fee is starting to bite hard. Hawaii just goes dead in the summer. Even the hotels are offering specials! When that happens you know it’s not me or my ALREADY CHEAP prices.
I have a strange gap in my bookings from 5 to 15 Juli, before this date I have all my apartments booked, and after this date I have them all booked until the end of august.
But 5-15 Juli is a gap where I do not have anything, very strange.
Actually I am not completely booked for August which is strange. One other huge factor for me is the my international bookings are way lower than previous years and I think it is the strength of the dollar which makes it very unattractive. Again thanks for your comments!
There are also some new requirements to visit the USA. a friend from France had to cancel her trip for tomorrow because she did not have ESTA
ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) Application for Citizens of France
Wow thanks so much for letting us know and since I was in Europe this spring and didn’t have any requirements to book or travel I was not aware of this requirement. I was in Italy and didn’t get to travel to France but that is a surprise. We have always had many guests from France, Germany and England during the summer travel months and none so far this year.
It only takes a couple minutes for them to do the application online.
Last year I added a second bedroom and bath on to my little cottage. It is fantastic, if I do say so myself, and has been a huge hit with my repeat guests. This week I lowered my prices so much I am now back to charging my high of when it was a one bedroom. That’s depressing. I had one good season before it all fell apart.
Hopefully it is just the result of a bunch of would-be hosts who are jumping into the market blindly and will be out as quickly as they got in.
Thats a shame. Try increasing again gradually?
Yes but it takes awhile to approve
The Catskills are pretty saturated with hosts. It is still a hot trend that shows no sign of slowing, but every Brooklyn design professional who finally bought their own place rather than renting has thrown their place up on Airbnb. Completion is stiff, that’s for sure. And all these newbies come onto the market with low prices. Oh, well. I’ll be alright. Just a bit depressing to go down that low.
@CatskillsGrrl I spent $15,000 adding a bathroom and entry to my guestroom and have not been able to raise my prices at all. I am able to book more often because of the separate entrance. When I started 2 years ago there were about 16 listings that I might have considered my competition. Now there are about 60. I and a handful of other hosts have the advantage of being way ahead in reviews. I do think many of the new hosts will drop out after a while.
I’ve mentioned this before but our street is 0.6 miles long and there are ten Airbnbs just on our street! Then there’s a traditional Florida vacation rental apartment complex and goodness knows how many places that are on Homeaway and other sites. The apartment next door to our rental is on HA. Next door!
Hopefully many of these are new hosts who will go away when they realise that it’s actually hard work and not a way to make an easy buck!
Surprised. What new feature can you think of that could separate you from the competition?