Just when You thought… Expedia’s Money Grab
In an article dated December 16 in VRM Intel, it was reported that Expedia owned, HomeAway, was raising its subscription fees for homeowners by 25%. For those of us who regularly follow this industry this was no surprise. However, the 2nd announcement was somewhat unexpected. This company is now going to monitor each property’s guest traffic and try to determine if those who book directly with the homeowner, may have became aware of the property through the HomeAway website. If so, they will attempt to charge the homeowner, who has listed with HomeAway, a 10% booking/administrative/finder’s fee in addition to the already outrageous subscription fees.
According to VRM Intel and I quote them…
“The policy is based on an assumption by HomeAway that any revenue derived from a guest who booked directly with a vacation rental company—and who had previously shopped on a HomeAway site—should be attributed to HomeAway, and HomeAway is entitled to ten percent of that revenue.”
Folks, you just can’t make this stuff up! It reminds me of Mr. Potter from that famous Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. Only Mr. Potter was upfront with his lack of humanity. Who are these people?
From my viewpoint there are 2 major things wrong here. On one hand, who do they think they are to even suggest that their website was a catalyst to bringing homeowners and guests together? Their arrogance is beyond belief. And secondly, they think they can monitor our activity with impunity?
I know there are some folks who believe that Expedia’s ability to carry out this policy is significantly poor. Even if that were true, that argument misses the core problem. Expedia is attempting to own, control, manage all things related to the short-term vacation rental industry. These are the steps that they are taking, one at a time, to achieve that end.
For your reading pleasure I have included a link , Expedia’s Money Grab , to the VRM Intel article so that you can read this report yourselves. The article provides a link to the email sent to property managers by HomeAway concerning this development.
In the face of these changes, I believe that the next shoe to drop is that Expedia will require that all new contracts include language that forces their listing homeowners to agree that they will list ONLY with HomeAway. They will force the homeowners to do business with them and nobody else. Their leverage is the enormous internet presence that they command. This monopolistic power must violate several Anti-trust laws. I definitely foresee a class action lawsuit gaining steam in the near-term future. That is why regional websites, over which owners and guests can conduct the business of vacation planning , must develop and thrive. Owners and guests need alternatives. #ncbeachrentalby owner, #northcarolinabeachrentalsbyowners,#ncvacationhomesbyowners