Owner Toolkit

 

Listing Quality — Get Better Performance

Research has shown there are certain key pieces of information travelers look for when they search for a vacation rental. Your listing quality score measures these factors so you can easily see if your listing has the things potential guests are looking for. 

 

Listings with better listing quality scores appear higher in traveler search results to help ensure they can easily find properties that have the information they need.  After your subscription level, improving your listing quality score is the most important thing you can do to get better placement in search results.  

 

Your listing scorecard offers immediate feedback and personalized recommendations on how to improve your listing. Check it regularly to see what you can do…and try to keep it at 100% in order to optimize your position in search results. View our recent webinar to get a tour of the updated Listing Scorecard > 

 

View my listing scorecard on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com

 

Take advantage of your listing scorecard

 

Pay special attention to the order of your scorecard: the components at the top are your biggest areas for improvement. 


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Learn more about each component: Click on any of the components on your listing scorecard to get more details. You can even watch a video that explains it all!


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Your listing scorecard components:

Response score

Responding quickly is extremely important to turning inquiries into bookings: research shows that 57% of travelers looking to book a vacation home will go somewhere else if they haven’t gotten a response back in 24 hours*. That’s why there is a response score on your scorecard. Your response score is also visible on your listing so that travelers have an idea of when to expect a response from you. 

 

How it's calculated

Your response score will be calculated after five inquiries, and will be updated with each new inquiry using the ten most recent inquiries or reservation requests. It will be calculated using the following two factors:

  • Response time: The typical amount of time between receiving an initial inquiry or reservation request and replying to the traveler.
  • Response rate: The percentage of your last ten inquiries or reservations to which you have responded.

 

Responding over the phone

If you prefer to reply by phone, you can still do so. When you log into your dashboard to get the traveler’s phone number, we will consider that a response and use the time elapsed as your response time.

 

Dealing with spam inquiries

If you receive an inquiry that you know isn’t from a real traveler, you can log into your dashboard and mark it as spam. The inquiry will then be removed permanently, and your response time will be measured as when you marked the inquiry as spam.

 

 

View my inbox on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com

 

Online booking and payments

Research shows over 90% of travelers want the ability to pay online**. So your scorecard reflects if you offer (and use) online booking and HomeAway Payments. These services make it easier for your guests to book your property quickly and make it easier for you to get paid. Plus, it’s the most secure way to send and receive payments. Be sure to use these tools when making reservations with your guests. Learn more about online booking and payments

 

Add online payments on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com

 

Note: If you have a pay-per-booking listing you are required to use Homeaway Payments for each booking. 

 

 


Reviews

The more reviews you have (and the more recent they are) the better! Over 85% of travelers have told us that reviews written within the last two years are more helpful**. Make sure your guests have a great experience because having lots of positive reviews helps you get more bookings. You should try to get at least 12 reviews and even when you get there, never stop collecting them to make sure you always have recent ones on your listing. 

 
Check out my reviews on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com

Calendar


Having an accurate calendar lets travelers know if your property is free for their dates, so they’re more likely to inquire. Update your calendar frequently to save them time and make sure you keep getting high-quality inquiries. If your calendar isn’t updated at least every 60 days, your listing may be hidden from searches where travelers enter specific dates. If you use online booking, your calendar is always considered up-to-date.

 
View my calendar on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com

 


Location

Make it easy for travelers to find you in a map search by making sure we have a valid address. Don’t worry; we won’t share your exact address on your listing 

 
View my location details on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com

Photos


Travelers like to know what to expect when renting a vacation home, so upload up to 24 well-staged, up-to-date photos to each listing. And make sure they’re big – for best results, we recommend 1024x768 pixels. Otherwise they can look grainy or blurry on some computer screens.

 

Update my photos on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com

 


Quotable Rates

Creating quotable rates gives you more flexibility in pricing and ensures travelers searching for properties get an accurate price quote. It also means your property appears when they search by rate. Learn more about quotable rates

 

Set up my rates on HomeAwayVRBO, or VacationRentals.com



And a note about tenure...

Tenure is how long you’ve been listed on HomeAway or VRBO.com, and although it isn’t part of your listing quality score, it still impacts where your property will show up in search results.

 

Auto-renewal ensures that you won't lose your tenure with hassle-free renewals. If you prefer to manually renew, be sure to do so before it expires to maintain your tenure. Learn more about renewals


FAQs


Not all listings have a response score because all emails do not yet go through our secure messaging feature. Response scores will only be calculated for listings that have this feature. We are in the process of rolling out this feature to all listings. In your listing scorecard you can see if you are eligible for a response score. If it says that you're not yet eligible, it will not be counted towards your listing quality score.

You will receive a response score after you've received your fifth inquiry or reservation request.

To get maximum credit towards your listing quality score, you should reply consistently within 24 hours. If you consistently respond faster than 24 hours, you may see a faster response time like "within an hour" or "within a few hours" shown on your listing. At this time response times faster than 24 hours do not provide you any additional credit towards your listing quality score, but it will be available in your listing scorecard and will be displayed to travelers on your listing.

The last week in October, we will begin showing your response rate and response time on listings who have had at least five inquiries.

 

For listings that haven't received their fifth inquiry, your response rate and response time will be available to you and travelers after your fifth inquiry.

We understand there might be times when you will be unable to respond and have allowed for some flexibility when calculating your response score. You will get full credit in your response rate score by replying to at least 80% of your initial inquiries and reservation requests within 24 hours.

If an inquiry isn't from a real traveler, you can mark it as spam in your Reservation Manager. When you mark an inquiry as spam, we will consider that as a response and use the elapsed time as your response time.

 

The inquiry will immediately be removed from your inquiries and you will be unable to access it again. All future conversations from that inquiry will also not be delivered to you, so it's important to only use this option when you are certain the inquiry is not a real traveler.

 

Over time, HomeAway will look at trends in spam inquiries to better detect and prevent these from coming through to you.

Yes. When you log into your HomeAway or VRBO dashboard to get the phone number, we will consider that as a response and use the time you received the phone number as your response time.

Customer service cannot change, reset your listing quality or response scores, or mark something as spam on your behalf.

 

Remember, your response score has some flexibility built into the calculation. And since it looks at your ten most recent inquiries, over time you can improve your score by replying quickly to the next inquiries.

Tenure, or how long you've been listed on HomeAway or VBRO, is an important factor on where your listing appears within search results. However, the listing scorecard only includes actionable things you can do to improve your listing, which is why tenure is not included.

Your tenure, subscription level, and listing quality score will all still be available for you to view in the "Performance" tab of your owner dashboard.

1. Personal email - When you receive an inquiry, you get an email to your personal account with the details. If you hit "Reply" to that message in your personal email account, you will get credit for your response score.

 

2. Your owner dashboard - If you don't respond directly to the inquiry confirmation email, you can log into your dashboard and visit your inbox. Once you are in your inbox, you can enter your message and reply.

 

3. By phone, If you prefer to contact the inquirer by phone, you can find their number in the inquiry information in your dashboard inbox. Clicking on "View phone number" will give you credit for responding.

 

Once an inquiry has been responded to in one of these three ways, it will count as a response and the response time will be determined based on the time between when the inquiry was received and when the response took place.

NOTE: While you can impact your rank within your level, the search rankings are dynamic so you might notice ongoing shifts in your position.

*Based on a survey conducted in March 2014 to 414 travelers who inquired on HomeAway or VRBO.

**Based on a survey conducted in March 2012 to 2,199 travelers who inquiries on HomeAway or VRBO.

***Based on a survey conducted in May 2014 to 417 travelers who inquired on HomeAway or VRBO.