There’s a battle raging: short-term rental hosts and guests against huge, well-funded companies like Airbnb and Home Away (VRBO’s parent) that block direct contact between hosts and guests before booking.
Airbnb’s business model has been clear from the start: you list your home for free and take a cut of your rental income. That’s fine for hosts and guests who don’t think it’s necessary or even desirable to talk to one another directly.
But VRBO was different. Founded as a way for vacation rental owners and travelers to connect with one another, hosts like me paid an annual fee to list on the site. In return, I had control over our booking process and had the option of talking directly with guests before they booked. Sometimes, an initial phone call was enough for both a guest and myself to realize that our place wasn’t right for them.
Then VRBO’s parent, Home Away, sold itself to Expedia. [Read more…] about Bypass Blocks on Direct Contact with Short-Term Rental Guests?