Last summer, a group of vacation home owners got together for dinner. As the evening progressed, our conversation turned towards our homes and the state of the rental market. And, as is invariably the case when you get a group of home owners together, everyone quickly focused on the frustration and cost of dealing with VRBO/Homeaway. But this time, there was real anger around the table. Both the recent and the forthcoming changes to Homeaway business practises, particularly the enforced Online Booking, combined with the dramatic recent drop in enquiries and bookings, has homeowners of even longstanding concerned for the future. The general consensus seemed to be that VRBO was forcing the changes upon homeowners and if the homeowners didn't play ball, the veiled threat was that their properties would be delisted. As you're probably aware, the market is now dominated by a handful big players and as a consequence, these multinational companies have homeowners over a barrel. The situation is fast approaching the point whereby the homeowner either advertises with them on their terms and price, or he/she looks elsewhere and possibly risks their business as a result. It's no exaggeration to say that there is genuine concern over the future of privately owned vacation rentals.
You also probably already know, that it's not just the homeowners that are being impacted by these changes; once Online Booking is fully introduced, your guests will have to pay the new Homeaway Service Fee. Plus, due to the deliberate vagueness of the description of the charge, your guest is likely to think it's you who has introduced it. So, as a result of that dinner, we decided that a group of us would raise funds to have a site developed which would offer everything we used to like about VRBO and Homeaway, but at a much lower cost. Whilst we're not looking to create a homeowners collective, we are looking to offer something that favors the homeowner. We want to wrest some control away from the multinationals and give it back to the people who've the real skin in the game; the homeowners. We're currently seeking funding for advertising and once the site is launched, we'll charge a nominal property fee for the first year, and low standard fees thereafter. But we'll do our utmost to support both homeowners and guests by keeping costs as low as possible. So, please spread the word about Tripelli.com, the vacation rentals site owned and operated by homeowners. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.