Here we are on the one year anniversary of the roll out of “Service Fees” by Expedia on their VRBO/HomeAway /VacationRentals websites and how do they celebrate? By raising the service fees! When they added the service fees in 2016, they ranged between 4% and 9% depending on the cost of the rental. Well, they now range between 5% to 12%...holly cow, 12%! What are our guests getting for a 12% service fee? Nothing!
While this is Expedia’s latest move, it’s not the only move they made so far in 2017. Back in January, they permanently removed our phone numbers from our listings, and for many of us, our names are gone now too! You may have also noticed if you try to communicate with a potential guest through their communications portal, and include an email address in your response, it will now be blocked, replaced with a series of xxxx’s!
This is all part of a well calculated plan by Dara Khosrowshahi (Expedia’s CEO) to make direct communication with guests outside of the sites not possible, and change the revenue model of these sites, from subscription based to transaction based. It’s happening folks…at least those of us on LBI now have an alternative!