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Homeaway VRBO Auto-Responder

What's an Auto-Responder?



Before we get into the good news, let's briefly review what Bookerville's Auto-Responder is. Whenever you get an inquiry from a listing site (such as Homeaway, VRBO, FlipKey, AirBnB, etc.) they usually send an email to you with the details. You can automatically forward a copy of these emails to a special email address at Bookerville, and Bookerville will read those emails, obtain the information in them, and potentially automatically generate replies to the guests with quotes, links to book, see your other properties, or make online booking requests. This is configurable, and there are lots of options on how to run it. At a minimum, Bookerville records all these inquiries and presents them to you for easy administering in a convenient lead-management tool in your Dashboard ยป At-A-Glance tab. You can learn more about our highly-acclaimed Auto-Responder and what it can do for you.

Homeaway and VRBO Lead Management



About a year ago (2013), Homeaway and VRBO started hiding the guests' email addresses from these inquiry emails that they send to you. Because of this, Bookerville would be unable to automatically reply to the guest. This could also create a lot of back & forth in terms of data entry between your Homeaway/VRBO account and Bookerville. Suffice to say, most property managers were outraged by this. But there appears to be good news...

Tell Them You're Using an Auto-Responder



Our recent experience with our customers has revealed that Homeaway's policies provide for a workaround: if you explain to them that you are using an Auto-Responder, they will put the guest email addresses back into your inquiry emails. We've seen them do this for several of our customers, large and small. So it's certainly worth reaching out to your account representative to ask about this, as it appears they are willing to cooperate.

Calendar Synchronizing, and More



And while you have their attention, it's certainly also worth telling them that you want them to open up their API's to Bookerville so that we can integrate availability data, keeping your calendars synchronized automatically. AirBnB, FlipKey, and many other listing sites already do this using our iCal export feature, so it's about time Homeaway and VRBO make your life as easy as those other listing sites do, right?

 
9 Responses:

Onlinety, September 20, 2014:

Thanks.. this is very useful information.. Thanks for sharing..
Niseko Boutiques, September 22, 2014:

Does anyone have experience with FlipKey offering this workaround? Quite frustrating when some properties listed prior to the changes allow emails and more recent properties listed do not.
Thanks,
John
John Amato, September 22, 2014:

Niseko Boutiques - are they hiding the guest email addresses from you?
Niseko Boutiques, September 22, 2014:

Yes John, with the new Flipkey policies, names and email adresses are not revealed until a deposit is paid. I will try listing on the other sites now that there is a work around though..
Jihn
John Amato, September 22, 2014:

You might try reaching out to your account rep at FlipKey and tell them you are about to switch to a different listing site because of this policy. My suspicion is that may make them change their mind about it.

It's also worth telling them that you're using Bookerville, which will give them confidence that you're not "cheating" them out of any commissions...
Patrick-2503, August 28, 2015:

Hi,
Have you been able to obtain the calendar and other synch with VRBO yet through iCal?
Thanks,
Patrick
John Amato, August 28, 2015:

Hi Patrick - yes, there are two ways to do it. You can enter your VRBO iCal feed URL that they provide into your Bookerville property setup. Bookerville will read it every night and block dates on your Bookerville calendar. Alternatively, HomeAway is now providing iCal sync with external feeds, so you can copy/paste your Bookerville iCal feed URL into your HomeAway account, and they will apparently sync from that.
John Amato, August 28, 2015:

Let me know if I can help you with either of those...
dhouin, April 21, 2016:

If a inquirer asks for a quote and receives the auto response and then comes back and asks a question through VRBO does that mean they get the 2nd auto response? This looks like this is what happened. I am not sure if this is a good thing. It looked to me as if they got the same auto response twice. Is this correct?

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