Just 18 months ago, Annie Switzer was, in her words, a model VRBO user. She complied with everything they required including online booking. For that she was rewarded with being one of the first to have traveler fees attached to her rental quotes. Resistance was futile, she explains, as her arguments posted on the Home Away community were removed, along with those of other owners in the same boat.
Around that time, April Salter, owner of a Tallahassee PR company was feeling the same pinch and launched the Facebook group, Say No to VRBO!
At first the group became the hotbed of complaints against the major OTAs and their practices, but has since matured into a strongly supportive group of professional vacation home owners who collectively see their independence being eroded, and strive to make changes. These range from creating regional listing sites to encouraging members to launch their own websites and pursue direct bookings.
Annie has been a moderator of the group since its inception and works hard to maintain the civility that many groups lose after growth into thousands of members. In this episode she shares how the group has evolved along with some of the hot button issues that fire up emotions from time to time. She also talks about her involvement with the Association of Vacation Rental Operators and Affiliates (AVROA) and why she feels that having a common voice is what independent owners in the industry need.
- How she got into the rental business and why she chose Delaware and Maryland as her locations
- Why she still uses VRBO in spite of the issues surrounding the changes
- How changes in the industry have impacted her business
- The evolution of the Facebook group
- The biggest hot-button topic
- Why she is involved with AVROA and her views on the future of the Association
Links mentioned in this episode:
Say No To VRBO (Facebook Page)
Say No To VRBO (Facebook Group)
Thank you Heather.