HomeAway is changing the way you communicate with guests
HomeAway is set to make an important change to its booking process. They will remove the option to see guest contact details until a booking is confirmed. You must send all pre-booking communication through HomeAway’s own messaging platform. You will also not be able to exchange email addresses or phone numbers with prospective guests. HomeAway will filter messages for this information.
HomeAway described the change:
Messaging through the HomeAway platform: All pre-booking inquiries and responses will be facilitated through HomeAway’s secure messaging platform. Property managers will be able to send messages back and forth as normal. However, phone numbers, links, and emails will be redacted from messages.
You will be provided the contact details of both parties once a booking is accepted. Depending on your inquiry handling process and logic, you may need to make adjustments so that property managers can continue to be responsive to inquiries.
HomeAway will launch this change in a phased approach starting August 7 through the end of August.
Removing external communication, firstly keeps the transaction within HomeAway. One of the key reasons for this change is to discourage fraudulent hosts, looking to exploit potential guests from using the HomeAway platform. It also prevents managers from trying to complete the booking directly and bypass the booking fee.
In their official announcement, HomeAway said:
Protecting your and the travelers’ contact information prior to a confirmed booking helps build trust. It also helps us better protect you and travelers against fraudsters — who, unfortunately, are always hard at work.
However, by removing the communication between managers and guests, HomeAway will impact professional property managers.
This change reduces the ability of a property management business to work with their usual tools, disrupting their business processes. Managers also lose an important opportunity to take control of their own lead nurturing and customer service experience.
Many professional property managers use major OTAs, such as HomeAway, as a funnel to generate bookings. From there, property management businesses use their own communication channels and branding for their guest experience marketing and remarketing. Finding a balance between the two
Reducing your ability to communicate with your guests reduces your ability to establish your own brand.
Using major portals is a great way to generate a booking funnel, but relying on one exclusively can affect your ability to establish your own vacation rental brand.
Vreasy empowers vacation rental managers. We provide the tools to build a lasting vacation business alongside working with portals. Major portals can adjust their business models at any time, so it’s important to make sure your business has a sustainable brand and customer base of its own.
If you want to learn how Vreasy can help to empower your own vacation rental brand, you can have a consultation with our team to start building your brand.