3 dynamic pricing experts share their opinions on HomeAway’s new ranking solution

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HomeAway introduced earlier this week its brand new listings ranking algorithm.

What are these new criteria? How can you improve your ranking?

Get all the info you need in this article thanks to our 3 dynamic pricing experts.


HomeAway ranking: what’s new?

In order to determine how you rank on their website, many data are being taken into account:

  • The quality of your properties’ pictures: add up to 50 high-resolution pictures highlighting the inside and outside of your home

  • The way you describe your rental: add detailed, updated elements and a complete list of the amenities available

  • How you perform as a vacation rental owner/manager: confirm your bookings and provide a quality, clean and well-maintained home

  • Last but not least: your price competitiveness!

Since this week, HomeAway introduced a brand new element to their ranking system: your property’s price competitiveness compared to the local market.

Thanks to their new pricing tool, MarketMaker, HomeAway announces it will help you define a competitive, appropriate pricing for your vacation rental.


Is price competitiveness becoming a decisive criterion?

We’ve interviewed our expert partners in dynamic pricing management, which you can find in our App Center:

Ian McHenry, Co-founder and CEO of BeyondPricing
“The fact that HomeAway is giving users more access to data is great; it's something Beyond Pricing has been doing for over 3 years and the more data the better.  We've checked their data against what we have for HomeAway and they are incredibly similar.  However, HomeAway only has their own data and not the data across multiple platforms including hotels.  So their data will always be incomplete.  Finally, as we saw with Smart Pricing, if they start giving recommended prices, they will be much lower than you'd ever want to charge because they are trying to help both guest and owners and looking to steal market share from hotels and other vacation rental sites, which they can do by driving down rates.  Beyond Pricing only works for the owners and managers and keeps rates up.  As far as the ranking factors, how you're priced is always a determinant of where you rank on a listing site because they are optimizing for conversion.  Beyond Pricing has helped owners and managers rank well for over 3 years by setting competitive rates that are updated daily, so all Beyond Pricing users will continue to do well under the new ranking system.”

             

Andrew Kitchell, CEO of Wheelhouse

"We're interested in any tool that helps hosts & owners run their businesses better.  We obviously believe that third-party pricing partners, such as Wheelhouse, will always be better positioned to help hosts & owners maximize revenue across multiple channels, but this a great way to learn more about your business, and a clear reflection of HomeAway's focus on delivering great products to the customers".

            

Anurag Verma, Head of Analytics at PriceLabs

“While it's too early to tell how well MarketMaker will do, it's always exciting for us when an industry giant launches something about dynamic pricing. We saw this with Airbnb's Smart Pricing as well - it raised awareness amongst hosts and rental managers, suddenly people were a lot more interested and willing to try not just Airbnb's, but different dynamic pricing tools and choose the best one for their needs.

We firmly believe that professional short term rental managers who tend to list on multiple channels and use sophisticated PMS/channel managers are better off with third-party omni-channel revenue management. Again, it's too early to tell, but depending on the region, the clientele and booking patterns of one channel might be different from others - as an example, in some regions HomeAway and FlipKey tend to get longer far out bookings, while Airbnb and booking.com get the shorter last minute stays. Incorporating all that information from all channels into dynamic pricing is important.

Lastly, we don't think search ranking should depend on dynamic pricing - there are hosts (especially owners) who are content with their flat pricing, and they shouldn't be penalized for that. The rankings should mainly reflect the quality, and maybe to some extent price, such that it increases the chances of a booking. But how that price was obtained should be irrelevant”.

          
                

What about you, would you be ready to jump into the dynamic pricing solution? What do you think of HomeAway’s new ranking criteria?