Research has shown there are certain key pieces of information travelers look for when they search for a vacation rental - and it's all there in your listing scorecard.
Your listing scorecard offers immediate feedback and personalized recommendations on how to enhance your listing. Check it regularly to make sure your listing has everything travelers need to book.
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 is calculated after your listing has received 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:
Responding over the phone
If you prefer to reply by phone, you can still do so if you have a subscription listing. 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. Note: If your listing is on the pay-per-booking model, you will not be able to access the travelers phone number until after the booking is confirmed.
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.
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 securely, and makes it easier for you to manage all payments and bookings directly from your dashboard. Learn more about online booking and payments
Tip: Enabling and using online booking is the best indication that you are providing the kind of booking experience that travelers want. Online booking can contribute to a higher placement in search results, and you always decide whether to accept or decline booking requests. Don’t forget, you can now enable online booking with your additional payment methods
Note: If you have a pay-per-booking listing you are required to use Homeaway Payments for each booking.
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.
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.
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
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 3840x2160 pixels.
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
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.
Your response rate and response time appears on listings that 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.
If you have a an annual subscription, you can contact travelers by phone and get credit. 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. To help ensure all reservations made for pay-per-booking listings are processed through HomeAway Payments, travelers and managers of those listings will not be able to access each other’s contact information until after the booking is accepted.
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.
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. For subscription listings only: 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.
*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.