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Is HomeAway Quietly Increasing Their “Service Fee” for Travelers?

Homeowners and managers are reporting that HomeAway has been quietly inching up the service fee, in some cases over 12%.

“Since price is an important factor in determining whether a traveler books a property, it’s natural to optimize and adjust the exact amount of the service fee,” stated HomeAway’s Community Forum. “This means the service fee amount will change from time-to-time, based on different factors…Communication with you is important to us – but we don’t communicate all of the tests we run due to the frequency of the tests we run.”

While HomeAway tests their optimal “service fee” for travelers, property managers and homeowners face consequential challenges. For example, guests do not understand the fee and frequently blame the manager or homeowner for the increased cost. The fee is often non-refundable, causing additional friction between the guest and manager/owner.

In addition, HomeAway is now requiring all of their listings to enable online booking.

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