In 2016 and 2017, we saw all of the major vacation rental listing sites take huge strides toward professionalizing their platforms – and, by extension, their users’ approach to vacation rental.
Five years ago, an owner who wasn’t able to answer a traveler’s inquiry within the week was unlikely to be overly penalized. Travelers didn’t expect a professional level of service from vacation rentals, and listing sites didn’t demand it.
In the last few years, expectations have shifted dramatically, and with the introduction of Premier Partner status on HomeAway and VRBO, we’re seeing the vacation rental industry is serious about highlighting and rewarding the owners who are able to give travelers what they’re seeking: an experience with a level of professional service.
But what’s Premier Partner status, and how can you get it?
What is a Premier Partner?
HomeAway’s Premier Partner Program was established to recognize homeowners, property managers, and vacation rental management services that meet the following criteria:
- Quick responses to guest inquiries
- Few cancellations – they honor confirmed bookings
- High-quality photos that show the property
- Detailed property descriptions
- Competitive prices
- Bookings processed online through HomeAway
- 4- to 5-star reviews from previous guests
Premier Partners are easy to recognize by the blue badge on their listings.
When travelers see this badge, they’ll know that these properties are going to provide the high-quality vacation rental experience that they want.
They’ll be confident they won’t have to wait days to receive a response if they submit an inquiry. They don’t have to worry that the homeowner is going to cancel on them at the last minute. They know that people have stayed there before and had great experiences.
As a result, properties with Premier Partner status are likely to see more traffic and get more bookings.
How Do Owners Benefit From Premier Partner Status?
HomeAway’s Premier Partner Program offers owners many advantages. Owners can expect to:
- See their listing stand out in searches with the Premier Partner badge
- Gain exclusive access to HomeAway’s newest tools
- Be eligible for promotional opportunities through Homeaway
- Communicate with guests during the pre-booking process
That last item is the big win for many owners. If you’ve been missing the ability to talk to your guests before the booking is officially made, Premier Partner status will give you early access.
Why does HomeAway single out Premier Partners for that privilege?
Put simply: not everyone was playing by the rules. Many owners wanted to use HomeAway’s enormous platform to promote their property, but didn’t want to pay the cost of entry – the service fee to guests.
They were using the available contact information to make bookings offline, which not only makes it difficult for HomeAway to maintain the platform, but can unnerve guests and make them uncomfortable booking a vacation rental at all.
Premier Partners are those who have been making the best use of the platform. They’ve updated their listings, are providing professional services to guests, and making their bookings online. HomeAway’s happy to extend those owners the trust they deserve.
How Can I achieve Premier Partner Status?
Evolve got Premier Partner status immediately, so we count ourselves qualified to guide you through the process of how to achieve it yourself.
That said, we got Premier Partner status on day one – because we were already doing all of the things that would qualify us.
When we established this business, we understood that it was essential to the success of our owners to answer guest inquiries immediately, market the property effectively with professional photos and descriptions, and use dynamic pricing to ensure the best possible chance of getting a high-quality booking.
Those are all things any owner is capable of doing. If you want to know everything we’ve done to earn Premier Partner status, look no further than this post on how to create a stellar vacation rental listing.
But let’s face it – the steps we’ve described above are more work than you may have bargained for.
Not everyone wants to answer the phone on the first ring – especially if it’s the middle of dinner. Not everyone has the time to learn how to professionally market their listing. And not everyone wants to invest in expensive dynamic pricing software.
Premier Partner status is straightforward. It’s not complicated.
But it’s far from easy.
Evolve was created to make vacation rental easier for everyone. That includes establishing Premier Partner status for your listing – so you don’t have to. Click here if you’d like to learn more about what Evolve has to offer for owners for an industry-low booking fee of just 10%.