There is no denying that Home Away are a holiday rental giant. Since joining forces with Expedia a year ago the company has continued to expand and it now advertises millions of holiday homes worldwide. However, backlash from owners in the US has already started as the pricing structures have changed dramatically in the last 12 months. With only those owners who choose to pay a premium getting maximum exposure. We look into the changing face of Home Away and what it means for holiday homeowners.
Traditionally, Home Away was an advertising site that took a reasonable annual fee from homeowners and then left them to get on with the business of handling their own bookings and enquiries. Whilst the annual fee with no commission charge is still an option, choosing the basic package pretty much guarantees that your property will stay at the bottom of thousands of search listings.
The problem is that Home Away now offers homeowners five levels of subscription, ranging from the ‘Classic’ package for £249+VAT right up to the ‘Platinum’ package which costs a hefty £799+VAT. It is to be expected that if you are paying almost four times as much for a property listing, you would expect your property to be featured higher in the rankings but this leaves those paying less in a position where very few customers get to see their property in a sea of other holiday homes with owners in a position to pay more. This has made taking the ‘Classic’ package almost obsolete.
Whilst appearing on a huge site like Home Away can give your property credibility, these days it certainly doesn’t guarantee hundreds of bookings as holidaymakers struggle to root through the many homes on offer. The chances are if you are paying the basic package, they will go mad before they get to yours.
As a smaller company we pride ourselves on delivering a personal service that concentrates on ensuring visibility for all the properties we represent. The fact that we charge no upfront advertising fee also means that we are incentivised to produce as many bookings as possible for our homeowners in order for us to make a return. As such it is in our interest to promote each holiday home equally and vigorously.
Home Away offer homeowners a global audience but this also comes at a price. Since the partnership with Expedia took place Home Away has acquired several other worldwide sites that you can promote your property on under the Home Away umbrella. However, the latest reports show that in order to do this across all sites homeowners would be paying around $2000 (roughly £1200) per year and that is with no bookings guaranteed.
For those wanting to avoid the increasing annual fees Home Away have also introduced a commission based booking model. This started out at a competitive 3%. Within a short 18months this has leapt to 13% +VAT for owners to now process bookings through the Home Away site.
This is problematic for a few reasons. Firstly, there is the question of where these ‘Booking eligible’ properties appear in the listings compared to those paying almost £1000 in annual fees. Home Away are keen to bring in the bookings for the commission based customers so placing them high in the search results which inevitably pushes those opting to pay a one off fee down the search rankings again; disappointing if you have paid out such a large amount. Secondly, taking a 13%+VAT commission makes quite a dent in the rental income for holiday homeowners and also makes them wonder where the rises in costs will stop.
Not only are owners having to pay higher costs but are still having to do all the work, answering all their own enquiries via e-mail or phone whilst chasing and checking all payments along with dealing with all the booking administration. The Home Away dashboard in your account for processing bookings is looking more and more complex not to mention inflexible.
As a company that focuses on quality of service and value for money Panoramic Villas offer an adaptable, cost effective method of holiday home rental that removes the responsibilities and time constraints of holiday home rental from our owners. Our commitment to a personal approach makes all the difference in a market where holidaymakers want to feel reassured that they are renting a legitimate, good quality holiday home.
To find out more about what we do for our owners please click here: advertise for free.