In response to the service and support issues vacation rental managers have been experiencing with TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals, 100 property managers representing 15,000 properties united to send a formal letter of complaint to TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer.
(Read the letter in its entirety below.)
While Priceline moves to expand its vacation rental business and Airbnb initiates technology integration with property management software systems utilized by professional managers, TripAdvisor has reportedly been struggling with overhauling and supporting their vacation rental technology platform.
Last week Tracey Zhen, GM at TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals addressed concerns saying, “While property managers always have and will remain a fundamental part of what we do, another key change this year and last has been our increased focus on homeowners as demand to list independent properties continues to rise sharply in the vacation rental market.”
Zhen added, “We’re aware of the isolated incidents mentioned in your post, but these are a small proportion of our client base.”
Zhen’s comments prompted an expedited effort to make CEO Stephen Kaufer aware of the challenges.
- Part 1: TripAdvisor Issues: What’s going on with TripAdvisor?
- Part 2: TripAdvisor Issues: More support issues, rate parity, discriminatory policies, and the negative impact for vacation rental managers
- Part 3: Where is TripAdvisor heading with vacation rentals, and how do they stack up against the competition?
- Part 4: Response from TripAdvisor to issues and vacation rental managers unite to address concerns
- Click here to get a pdf of the entire series of articles.
Open Letter to CEO Kaufer about Service, Support and Unfair Policy Issues at TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals
Dear Mr. Kaufer:
We are writing on behalf of professional vacation rental managers (undersigned below) to express our concerns with issues we have experienced with Flip Key /TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals Division. You may not be aware of some of these items so we feel it is important to bring them to your attention since TAVR is an important division of TripAdvisor.
Many of us have been satisfied TAVR customers for years and have received acceptable service and functionality within the system. Over the last 18 months the service, support, communication and functionality have deteriorated dramatically due in part to significant staff turnover, while the technical issues have created inaccurate pricing, inaccurate calendars, outdated photos, incorrect location details, inaccurate content that cause consumers to believe we are deceiving them.
Several property managers we have communicated with have decided not to renew their TAVR listings due to these issues. Some are still contemplating whether to remain a FK/TAVR customer or not in the future. Others have agreed to discuss an industry wide protest of TAVR in October at Vacation Rental Managers trade conference in New Orleans in 2015.
We hope this feedback will be useful and productive to you and your senior leadership, and that this feedback will lead to necessary changes in focus, communication, and transparency regarding senior management within TAVR, specifically Mr. Dermot Halpin the President of the Vacation Rental Division, and Ms. Tracy Zhen the General Manager of the Vacation Rental Division.
We all value TripAdvisor as being one of the world’s leading travel websites. We appreciate the quality guest traffic, the leads the site brings from our listings and the opportunity the site provides for our guests to leave independent third party reviews of their experiences in our properties.
The following is an outline of the issues we have experienced (all of which have been reported by our companies independently to TAVR support or customer representatives):
Technical Issues (Inaccurate listings & customer inability to correct issues or respond to reviews)
- API feeds are not functioning – Causing inaccurate calendars, inaccurate pricing, inaccurate availability, outdated photos, and incorrect location details. We all know consumers demand truth in advertising and the challenges presented to our employees to mitigate these discrepancies are overwhelming. Many of us have been told that the technical issues are a “system wide issue” and they cannot be corrected, or there is no timeline presented for follow-up and resolution. If Managers are to self-load, monitor, and edit all this information, the cost and time to manage this process devalues the ROI on purchasing TAVR advertising, and many companies do not have the marketing staff to handle this function especially when there are hundreds of listings involved. Other distribution channels are more user-friendly and accurate, and have a structured, transparent ticket system for reporting issues, assigning follow-up and communicating resolution.
- Expired listings, or worse, deactivated listings appear live on TAVR (these are properties that have been sold, moved to another management company or under a maintenance hold) – sometimes causing managers to receive threats from our clients (the property owner) to have them removed, or else. In some states Real Estate laws consider it a violation for an agent to advertise a property that is not operating under a valid management contract. There have been cases where we have been threatened by our clients and their attorneys due to TAVR’s lack of response when we request a listing be removed for this reason. Managers should be able to remove their listings on the back end, or get immediate response when this action is requested of support.
- Listings not being removed after the TAVR advertising contract expires. One manager communicated the request for removal for nearly a month after the expiration until they finally were removed. As we contemplate an industry wide protest of TAVR, we want to make it clear that TAVR must agree to deactivate listings of any property manager who requests this.
- Guest reviews are not all showing up within the TAVR Admin but are showing up live on FlipKey and/or TripAdvisor – thus making it impossible for a manager to respond to a review when this is the case. To counter this and to allow a legitimate Management Response to a Guest Review, Manager Responses have to be sent to TAVR via email due to the lack of them showing up in the backend admin. These legitimate manager responses in some cases take months to be updated on TAVR and worse, some property manager responses to Guest Reviews are not added by TAVR.
- Managers no longer have the ability to manually suppress reviews on our own websites, and getting support to do so is slow and difficult. While as customers we appreciate the functionality of being able to feed these reviews to our websites, we must have the ability to manage which ones are visible in our own marketing. The former Flip Key back end offered this option which easily allowed us to self-manage the display function. An example of this need would be if a property is sold, renovated and the listing is updated, sometimes there can be five year old not applicable negative review that should not be included in the current marketing. We understand these reviews will not disappear from FK or TA, however, we should be able to control what reviews appear within our own websites. When removing functionality such as this from property managers it should be communicated in advance and offer an alternative method which accomplishes the same goal quickly. Lacking this internal control damages our relationships with our property owners
There appears to be a complete lack of a process for handling Property Manager technical issues. TAVR does not offer reliable or consistent technical support or updates on system issues or resolutions leading Property Managers to attempt to call or email multiple contacts to address issues. Property Managers are asked to send issues to a generic support email account, yet there is no way to prioritize urgent issues from more routine technical issues. Worse, there is no attempt by technical support to provide anything but a generic response back to a request.
Request: We recommend a transparent support ticketing system and response system be implemented to track the technical issues like the ones reported above. This system should be transparent in regards to providing the client with an email and a case number that estimates turn-around time on their specific support issues.
Customer Account Management and Communications
- One company received a generic renewal letter from an account manager who had not been at the company for over 4 months. The manager requested a new contact and a conversation and received no response. Very unprofessional. The manager chose not to renew their 215 listings.
- Lack of timely response and service: Requests for support are often ignored for weeks, requiring persistent follow up from the customer. Many of us have email logs of repeated reporting of issues without response or resolution for weeks.
- When Managers reach out to TAVR for help on urgent technical issues (like inactive units no longer under contract that appear on TA), it is virtually impossible to reach a person. Many of the TAVR staff leave their phones filled with voice messages and some avoid answering the phone – so you can no longer leave a message. Even when you do reach a TAVR representative our communications are directed to support, and response time there is also very slow (weeks). Most items require multiple follow up with multiple employees to get resolution.
- There is no consistent TAVR account manager to report deficiencies to. When one TAVR account rep leaves the company customers are not notified who their contact is. The communication circle begins again to see who is left at TAVR to pick up the dropped balls. TAVR staff turnover has created many communication issues and most managers do not have a point of contact. Many of us have spent months requesting a new account contact only to have those requests ignored. One manager has had over 5 account reps at TAVR in a little over a year and several have vacated without notification or identification of a replacement. There are also examples of companies who stopped receiving their “Flip Key Front Desk Report” from their reps because they no longer had one and no one assumed that responsibility. How are advertisers to measure their success and ROI?
- A culture among TAVR senior management of both denial and “take it or leave it” regarding resolving technical issues. Several managers who have persistently attempted to escalate technical issues have been told that if they keep complaining TAVR will decline to renew their listings. One larger manager insisted on speaking to Mr. Dermot Halpin on a phone call regarding the significant technical issues on TAVR, and during this call Mr. Halpin advised him 3 times to just remove his listings if he was not satisfied with TAVR.
Request: We recommend a review of required staffing levels and training programs for new hires in light of merged responsibilities and turn-over. Senior management at TAVR should also be trained to respond to clients in a manner that is consistent with values that align with the hospitality industry and retention.
Lack of commission parity for Professional Managers vs Rent by Owners on “Pay on TripAdvisor”
Properties that are professionally managed are being charged a significantly higher commission (10%) than those that are owner managed (3%). This practice makes no sense and, if anything, managers should get a discounted rate since they list in bulk and are business partners. At minimum it should be equal. The flat rate listing price should also remain equal or discounted for managers if the company is considering changing its advertising structure.
However, we may be under the mistaken belief that TAVR actually wants Professional Managers to list their inventory on TAVR. The impression that we gather from this policy is that the goal of TAVR is to encourage participation by Rent by Owners by providing discounted services and discourage Professional Managers by creating a dramatically skewed commission structure that represents a 70% difference.
Request: Please let us know if TripAdvisor is willing to offer Property Managers the same 3% pricing model on the “Pay on TripAdvisor” as TripAdvisor offers rent by owners with 5 properties or less.
The TripAdvisor Philosophy is Inconsistent with its Policies for Vacation Rental Listings.
From the TripAdvisor website: “We believe in “the right to write.”
The TripAdvisor community has a wealth of valuable experience, and every one of our 315 million monthly users should feel confident sharing their opinions. When you stay in a hotel or eat in a restaurant, you have a fundamental right to talk about that experience with others. We are immensely proud of the community we’ve built which helps customers do just that.
We believe every experience counts, not just the ones where you paid the bill. If you have a party of 12 at a restaurant, we believe that all of them should have a voice. That’s what TripAdvisor stands for. Because we believe in promoting personal experiences, we do not take lightly the decision to remove a review from our site. It might be easier to give-in to censorship and remove reviews that a business owner disagrees with. But it goes against what we stand for, which is the right for genuine consumers to share their experiences. In keeping with this philosophy, our policy regarding review submission is self-directed. While we do require reviewers to certify that they are reviewing their own experiences before they can submit their review to TripAdvisor, we don’t seek third-party verification.
So what does this statement say about the “right to write” if Vacation Rental companies remove their properties? We have thousands of guests whose “rights” will be removed if we allow our listings to expire. It does appear hotels and all other accommodations list for free, VRBO can list at 3% and Managers have to contact TAVR if they have more than 5 listings. So if a traveler is looking for guest feedback on a property, they will only be able to see those written on properties that are paying to be displayed.
By contrast, if travelers want to read reviews of a hotel, restaurant or attraction, they can find almost every business listed on TripAdvisor, regardless of whether the business owner maintains a listing or not. How is this offering accurate information to the traveling public and the “right to write?” to those who have stayed in hundreds of thousands of vacation rentals worldwide? If one company alone were to remove their listings, this could also mean the removal of thousands of verified guest reviews. How is that consistent with TripAdvisor’s philosophy?
Request: We request that a mechanism for allowing guest reviews to remain on the site be adopted, and we would like an explanation of why vacation rentals have to pay to be listed in contrast to other types of listings that appear for free. We would also like an explanation of what happens to the thousands of guest reviews that disappear when a manager removes their properties.
In summary, our intention is to offer feedback on the VR division of TripAdvisor with hope to make you aware that there is a serious problem that many managers are talking about. We will be meeting in New Orleans October 25-28 to discuss the common issues we have experienced with Flip Key and TripAdvisor and a potential industry wide protest of TAVR.
Our hope is that you can address the mismanagement and technical issues, and improve customer communications when issues arise. We realize TripAdvisor is a large company with many areas of focus and the vacation rental segment may not be high on the priority list.
We on the other hand are in the business of managing and marketing our properties to ensure success to our clients and the best guest experience possible. There are many other distribution options to choose from, which many of us utilize with great success. However it would be unfortunate for the vacation rental industry as a whole if TripAdvisor fails to recognize and resolve these issues for the good of TripAdvisor, the consumers, and the advertisers.
Request: As far as additional solutions to improve communication, we are open to your suggestions. Many of us will be in attendance at the VRMA National Conference in New Orleans on October 25-28, 2015. We would very much like to invite at a minimum Mr. Dermot Halpin and Ms. Tracey Zhen to a meeting of property managers to discuss this letter and these issues. We are happy to arrange an in person meeting during that time should you wish to have a discussion or receive further feedback.
Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. We look forward to your response.
The undersigned professional vacation rental managers have already agreed to be part of this letter to Mr. Kaufer and TripAdvisor
To see the active Linked Discussion, go to this web site:
Tybee Vacation Rentals, Tybee Island, GA
Amy Gaster, President
215 Properties, Flip Key advertiser since 2000
3000 guest reviews, Rated excellent property manager 5 years, cancelled listings in July 2015
Finger Lakes Premier Properties, Penn Yan, New York
Dr. Lynn Thurston, President
250 Professionally Managed properties
Quit TAVR in 2013 & on hold with contract renewal pending resolution of issues
Sanctuary Vacation Rentals, Pacific Grove CA
Annee Martin, Owner
70 Professionally Managed properties – Dropped from the TA site for over a month.
Scott Breon, Chief Revenue Officer
Over 2,500 Professionally Managed properties
“We actually cancelled our contract with them ($250k) over the issues February-April… tremendously terrible customer experience. Even the basics of returning calls and emails. We’re back online partially with them, but it’s been a train wreck of broken feeds and promises. It took weeks over the holidays to get them to change our office addresses from Afghanistan…”
Maui Rental Group, LLC, Wailea, Maui, HI
Paul Dobson, President and Principal Broker
Over 80 Professionally Managed properties
Vacation Rental Pros, Various locations in Florida
Steve Milo, Founder, Owner, Managing Director
Over 950 Professionally Managed Properties, TAVR Advertiser since 2008 – 4333 guest reviews
Bluewater Vacation Homes
Paul Becker, President
70 Professional Managed Properties
Acme House Company – Palm Springs, CA
Ken Hudnall – Reservations Manager
75 Professional Managed Properties
Ali’i Resorts LLC
Billy J. Dirksen, Director of Operations
160 rentals on Maui.
McLean Company Rentals
Michael McLean, CEO/Owner
200 Professionally Managed properties
“Our account rep seems never to be available, away from her desk and will eventually call back days later. It’s been a nightmare not being able to manage our inventory in real time, but having to rely on FlipKey instead! They have made live, in active or sold properties, and have deactivated live properties. We normally have 200+ properties listed, but have requested many of our properties be deactivated until they can demonstrate that they have things fixed. There is complete chaos and confusion in their support department!!”
Dave Stubbs Real Estate, Inc.
Joyce Thomas, Solana Beach, CA
75 Professional Managed Properties
“Our account manager, Kathryn, made me feel like I was the problem. I have gotten to the point where I just want to remove our properties and find other marketing venues. I wish the public knew how poorly Trip Advisor/Flip Key managed their business. Please add us to the distribution list. We are having terrible problems and it’s been going on far too long with no resolution…I think the first part of solving a problem is acknowledging that there is one. Trip Advisor and Flip Key maintain that they don t have problems and that all is well. I have never seen such disorganization, lack of customer care, lack of technical expertise to address problems, and an arrogance by the account managers and executive management that seems not to give a clear message that our problems are not a concern for them. Because we are in the midst of our busy summer season, I’ve put this on a back burner. But, Flip Key will have to address our issues or we are going to pull off our properties. We are not going to support a company who is not willing to reciprocate. I think they need someone at the top to do a major shift in this company and it may require some pretty drastic changes to fix the gaping hole in this sinking ship.”
Blue Ribbon Management
Brenda Sali, Owner
Manage 90 vacation rental homes
Nancy’s Vacation Rentals
Nancy Kramer, President, CEO
55 professionally managed properties
Solterra Luxury Rentals, by Solterra Realty
Kimber S. Leefers, Designated Broker, Owner
31 rental properties
AE Hospitality, Los Angeles, CA
Justin Hales, Sales Manager
Commendable Rentals LLC
60 professionally managed properties
“I have not been able to reach my account manager, and he does not return calls, requests for phone meetings, or answer questions in emails. I wonder if he is even still there! I had planned to ask for new account manager.”
Allstar Lodging, Inc., Luray, Va.
Carlos Ruiz, President and Owner
Over 80 Professionally Managed properties
Island Vacation Properties, LLC
Ann Caron, Broker
225 professionally managed properties
“I agree with all of the complaints. We manage 225 rental properties and have nothing but problems for the past year.
Auntie Belham’s Cabin Rentals, Inc.
140 professionally Managed Properties, With TA-FK Since 2013
Norris Lake Cabin Rentals
Kathy Nixon President/CEO
MT HOOD VACATION RENTALS
Betsy LaBarge, President & CEO,
30 professionally managed properties
Russian River Vacation Homes
Ellen DeProto, General Manager
“Our specific problems have been – inaccuracy in listings, including amenities, property location and rates (the last resulting in a negative yelp review about us) – non-working technology, so when we update our listings they only stay updated for a brief period. – Malfunction with the online booking function – for instance automatically accepting a reservation for already booked dates. – This is exacerbated by horrible customer support, as sited below –constantly changing account managers, extremely poor communication, and denial of responsibility.”
Tahoe Moon Properties
Jill Schott – Owner
75 managed properties
Southern Comfort Cabin Rentals
CJ Stam GM / partner
“We have experienced several of the issues outlined. Especially the wrong location and staff turnover making it difficult to resolve the technical and billing issues.”
Key West Vacations
Jaime Caballero, Broker
Teeming Vacation Rentals
Jeff Paglialonga, owner
Over 200 Properties in 3 Locations
On the Water in Maine
Justin Ford – Business owner
225 professionally managed properties
Vail Resort Rentals, Inc.
Dale Bugby, President
GetAway Vacations, Inc., Killington, VT
Fred Cercena, Owner and Manager
25 Professionally Managed properties
237 corporate housing properties nationally
Sunsplash Vacation Homes
J and M Management Services Inc.
“We definitely agree and have chosen last month to not renew our listing.”
Manage 50 homes.
Mid-Florida Home Management Inc.
Martin Walker, President
35 homes listed on TA and FlipKey.
“We are becoming desperate for help.”
Catalina Island Vacation Rentals
Amy Tran, Director of Marketing
Manage 185 properties
“We’ve experienced many of the issues outlined here too.”
La Jolla Vacation Rentals
30 professionally managed properties
“FlipKey is awful now – NO customer service and they are always messing up our properties – taking some offline for up to 3 months with no refund.
Holiday Isle Properties, Inc.
Patricia Denny, CEO
300 professionally managed properties
“I have had a horrible time with them this year to the point that I discontinued all marketing – I have a terrible account rep and no follow up for any issues. She seems to think that I need her more than she needs me. If this is the new platform for FlipKey/TripAdvisor I am not interested. I have always been a strong advocate for FlipKey and until this year I would have recommended them over HomeAway in a heartbeat – instead because of the issues and lack of concern regarding them I ended doing all my marketing with HomeAway for almost 300 units. My monthly budget was somewhere between 5-6k a month but that must be pennies to their company for all the concern they had for my company. I don’t believe they have it right and unless my customer support changes I will not be back with FlipKey.”
Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals
Renata Circeo-Loundon, Owner
57 professionally managed properties
Morton & Furbish Vacation Rentals
Beth Eastlack, Owner
175 properties managed
“I have experienced all of the issues below and have practically given up on contacting my customer representative at this point”
22 apartments in Paris
Greybeard Realty and Rentals, Asheville
80 professionally managed properties
Chip Craig, Owner/Broker
“Here is a list of some of the issues we have had.
- Skewed rates shown (averaged weekday and weekend)
- Properties placed in wrong geographic nodes
- Support is difficult to reach – typically don’t hear back for a week or more
- Very difficult to get property location accurate if FlipKey flags it as the wrong address.
- Inconsistent imports of new properties
- Sometimes photos, rates, geographic location missing; have to manually update
- Had reviews from wrong properties show up on different properties listings after big FlipKey update completely lost FlipKey reviews that were tied to impacted property listings. Inconsistent integration between Escapia (we were told we could be integrated with Escapia, and then the connection just dropped with no notice…this is supposedly back up but full listing info is rarely pulled over). Had a turnover of 2 different account reps within a month with no communication of either or who our new account rep was.
- Without an account rep for longer than a month. During FlipKey software updates our phone number defaulted to a wrong number that wasn’t our number with no notice – at the same time we had a turnover of an account rep and it took 2 weeks to get the problem fixed. Reviews have to be collected manually – at one time we gained automated review request capability, the connection has been dropped again so that we have to collect manually.”
Blue Sun Properties
Jeff Phillips, Owner
Eric Bordier, CEO and Founder,
30 properties, Apartment-Hotels in the Heart of Prague
Vacation Rentals of North Myrtle Beach
Marcia Hanscome, General Manager/Co-Owner
97 Professionally managed properties
FlipKey/TripAdvisor customer since 2010
Ron Purser Co-Owner
75 vacation rental properties
“The predatory folks at TA/FK are horrendously dysfunctional, have no business attempting to conduct business in the hospitality industry within our collective property management segment that first helped put them on the map, and not at all what we signed up for back in 2008 when we heard then president of Flip Key, TJ Mahoney, make his pitch for us to sign up for free on the same day I was pulled into the HomeAway Booth who had a booth also at the same show.”
Done Right Vacation Rentals
Kelly Hill, President
75 Professionally Managed Properties
Mountain Home – Montana Vacation Rentals
Suzy Hall, Owner
Managing over 50 properties in Barcelona
Coasting Home, Inc.
“We recently pulled the plug with FK after having been with them from the very early days. Service has become adversarial, automated emails from them are rude at best. All the reasons already stated were affecting us as well. Have had many conversations and emails with so-called account reps, all with no good outcomes. We had double bookings due to inaccurate calendars. Owners are frustrated. Guests are beyond confused. We do NOT have time to manage all this when we are much better off using other very welcoming service models all courting VRMs right now. I am glad I do not own FK stock.”
Seabrook Cottage Rentals
Cindy Murdoch – Property Manager
Currently managing 163 properties and growing
At Home In Key West, Inc.
Sybille Halford, Owner
Seriously considering non-renewing in September 2015.
Padre Escapes LLC.
Jeremy Clayton, Managing Partner,
We currently manage 115 properties.
Lowery’s Vacation Homes, Inc.
James Gockman / General Manager
Manage: 110 short term rental homes
Mountain Memories Cabins Ellijay, Georgia
150 properties in Steamboat Springs, CO
“I actually cancelled my account with them 2 weeks ago due to the very poor customer service and inability to handle the requests we have. I see no reason why as a paying customer would have to wait 2 months to receive a call back from my property manager – Charles Pino . It puzzles me how is it that they are still in business.”
Flip Flop Vacations, LLC
Keith Morris, Owner/Broker
Beachside Vacation Rentals, Inc.
Bradley G. den Dulk
34 professionally managed properties
“We have had significant challenges with FlipKey”
Carolina Mornings, Inc.
Over 100 professionally managed properties.
Gay Weber, Chief Marketing Officer
We just formally severed our ties with FlipKey last month due to many of this issues below. Additionally, a few of our issues:
- Last year we attempted the API integration. It brought our account down for months, with no support from our account manager or support team.
- Once we were finally up and running, the rates were all incorrect and we would still receive leads for dates that were not available on the calendar.
- At the beginning of this year they raised their rates ~25% for the pay-per-lead model. That made their leads no longer efficient, but just a “break even” for us.
- To switch to a subscription model they require 75% of our properties to be listed at once to on-board, which is over $20,000 in investment.
- They failed to notify us of a billing issue for 9 months, then surprised us with a very high bill that was “Over 90 Days Past Due” with no warning.
- In resolving item 5, they offered us payment terms. When we notified them we could not renew our listings with them but would pay the past due amount, they tried sending us to collections instead of accepting payment.
- Over the years we have had false reviews posted (which we could dispute with documented proof) and they would not address them.
I have all of the above documented in emails with various account managers, support managers, Koryn Okey, and Ben Drew. We would love to continue a relationship with FlipKey if they could work out some of these issues. Glad to hear we aren’t the only ones experiencing issues!”
VIP Vacation Rentals
David Schuldenfrei, General Manager –
150 professionally managed properties
“We are definitely having major issue with Flip Key since January. They do not seem to care and it is causing serious issues with our owners”
Leigh Ann Fincher Co-Owner
“We recently received an invoice from Flip Key $2187 with no explanation of the charges. When asked to explain she said that she’d get back to us. We never heard back and now we have a collections attorney after us that has no access to our history. Only thing we’ve been told is that we have 2 accounts and that they’ve forgotten to bill us. We simply asked for more detail with zero follow-up and now we have an attorney after us. I’m quite upset that there’s no one to talk to. I’m Ok to pay if it’s legit but have not been able to determine that thus far. Customer Service is lacking to say the least. I just said last week that we were going to cancel our accounts but have not done so yet.”
Gary C Young, President
WESTPORT BEACH ESCAPES
Elizabeth Coverdale Owner
We currently manage 36 properties
20 active listings on FLIPKEY
710 Beach Rentals, San Diego, CA
Blaine Smith, Owner
Over 70 properties
“They are horrible as of late”
Breckenridge Resort Managers
Stewart Mountain Lodging
If there is any value in adding Stewart Mountain Lodging to this initiative we are highly motivated to participate, including sharing a history of our horrible experiences with the FlipKey organization. I have an archive of emails to and from our account manager(s) that we are certainly willing to share for reference purposes if needed.
Vista Cay Resort by Millennium
Millennium Management Corporation
Maurice Arbelaez, CPCS, CHSP
“My experiences with Trip Advisor have always been and continue to be more than disappointing. It has always occurred to me that there is never a sense of urgency to address any issues and they are always quick to blame the OTA’s for any problems. Right now our biggest problems is that the rates and information displayed does not maintain a rate integrity, by displaying rates that are all over the board and to make things worse, the information displayed on Room Types, Policies and other information is being fed from channels that don’t even have a contract with me This is creating a huge issue with those partners that we do work with, but it is also creating mistrust from the customers because they noticed rates in many instances higher from my property compared to the other channels “
Passepartout Homes Ltd.
Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande, Director
We market 150 properties world-wide.
Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals St Simons Island GA 31522
Kris Maichle, General Manager
350 professionally managed properties.
Portugal Holiday Villas
George Jeffray, Proprietor
StayAmelia Vacation Rentals
Chase ‘N Rainbows
Jill Huschke, Reservations Manager
We professional manage 262 Vacation Condos in West Maui
Captain Cook Resorts
Bob Cook, President
We manage 105 properties in Waikiki.
Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals
Linda Beck-Sweeney, Proprietor
60 homes formerly with FlipKey
Island Park Lodging – Yellowstone Cabins
17 vacation rentals
Great Western Lodging
Peyton Rogers, Director of Sales
San Diego BeachNBay Rentals
Nate – CEO
“It has been a mess dealing with them the past year and glad to join in on this list in hopes to support change. Since switching to the managers platform early this year it has been a constant battle to update properties locations, descriptions, and calendars. Support has been as helpful as a ‘pet rock’ as a previous manager described it. Please listen to us and install changes to keep your company from folding!”
40 properties, Savannah
Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales, Owner
Jodi Taylor Refosco
230 properties, TAVR advertiser since 2009
Paris Rental Connections
I have 26 properties in London and Paris
I support this request to the FlipKey management as it is obvious that since the merger things have been very lax.
Kendall & Potter Property Mgt, Inc.
Rita Law, Owner/Broker
Island Real Estate of Anna Maria Island Inc.
Hector Ferran, Vacation Rentals Marketing
Charles Mehner, Marketing Coordinator
San Andres Condominiums
April Stewart, owner
Jenny Myatt, Vice President of Marketing
596 properties managed
Carolina Cabin Rentals, Inc.
John White, Owner,
130 properties managed
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.
Jeanne Dailey, Founder and CEO
Over 250 professionally managed properties
Five Star Beach Properties
Louisa Baldock, Marketing Director
82 professional managed properties
“I’m constantly complaining about them to my coworkers. They are TERRIBLE. I just got a new rep and I was thrilled, but once again… no email back. I’m about ready to cancel as well. Their customer service is absolutely ridiculous. I had Connor Gavigan as my rep as well and was great! Then things went downhill VERY quickly after his departure…Just wanted you to know I agree and very much enjoyed the article. It is nice to know I’m not alone!”
Beach Front Esterillos Este, Costa Rica
Mikey & Diana Benner, Co=Owners/ Managers
“Inaccurate / outdated listings of non-hotels are effecting our rankings.”
Beach-N-Bay Getaways Reservations
Hilton Head Vacations and Golf
Hilton Head, SC
Jason Ridgway, Director of Marketing
Sunset Properties Gulf Shores
RnR Vacation Rentals, South Lake Tahoe
Stu Roberson, Partner
20 Vacation Rental Properties
KEYS HOLIDAY RENTALS
Andi Saylor, President
52 properties managed
68 Professionally Managed Vacation Rentals
“Loyalty Vacation Homes in Kissimmee, FL has had numerous issues with FlipKey/TripAdvisor as well: -Reviews for our properties completely disappeared, leaving some of our most popular vacation homes that had been reviewed dozens of times absolutely reviewless. -Our account manager, Morgan Farrell, claims that she responds within 48 hours to all emails, yet weeks have passed without response until I start “psycho” emailing her & copying her supervisor on all the emails that she has yet to respond to. -Morgan also failed to do her job when it came to syncing our properties with our PM system, and rather than looking on her end for WEEKS, she repeatedly asked if I was sure we had done things correctly on our end. Of course, it ended up that it was her not doing her job correctly.-We had listings & reviews disappear when we switched from a pay per lead account over to a pay per booking account. -Calendars & rates weren’t updating, allowing guests to book homes that were already booked -Duplicate listings that couldn’t be deactivated/deleted -When calling the toll free help number listed on their site, the customer service help was about as useful as a pet rock.”
Italy Perfect, Paris Perfect, London Perfect
Lisa Byrne, Pat Byrne, Madelyn Byrne Willems
Over 200 Professionally Managed properties
“The examples from other property managers of a company in disarray totally mirror our own. It is discouraging to see a company destroy what was once a solid, viable channel for vacation rentals. We have an investment ourselves in its success through our hard work to collect reviews that are, in some ways, keeping us from making a clean break.
We have been in business since the late 1990’s, representing over 300 properties in Italy, Paris and London. We have been longtime FlipKey advertisers, more than 6 years. We used to advertise about 30 of our properties on FlipKey. Since the changes to their platform last December, we have wasted endless hours trying to work within their system to the point where we let most of our listings go dormant and have trimmed back our listings to a couple dozen.
One positive aspect is that we are fortunate to have a responsive and professional account manager, Charlie Pino. If not for Charlie we would have walked away months ago.
Here’s a stranger-then-fiction example of their fumbling. In late March we found that our headlines had been randomly changed to either numbers or strange headlines. For example, one listing (for which we have 131 Excellent reviews) with the headline “15% Discount. Perfect Historic Center Apartment” was changed to “ “Perfect Apartment in History Center for Cheap”. That is not even grammatical and the headline invites the type of clients we do not want to attract, i.e. “cheap apartment for cheap people”. Our account manager was away and out of touch, no answer at Support as always, and it took a week to get it all straightened out. The explanation was bizarre: They had come up special program to increase inquiry conversion and had hired a bunch of contractors to change around the headlines. They did so without notification and without intelligence.
August 17, 2015
In my email from last week I mentioned that the only positive aspect about our relationship with TA was our account manager, Charlie Pino. Ironically, we received notice from him today that he has resigned and is leaving the company at the end of the week. Regards, Lisa Byrne
The Red House Company
3 Vacation Rental Properties
“I am joining as Manager and owner of The Red House Company. Issues have raised as well as prices, the account manager, is not able to support me as she has no power or visibility on the issues. We have lost hours and days on trying to put back on pictures, location, description, features, and then we discovered that there was a problem that was not ours. We manage 36 properties in Venice, Italy and growing. I will not renew next year until issues are not sorted. I want the review widget back, I want all the features of my adverts back, I want an account manager that has the power to resolve and not patiently listen and do nothing. And mostly I want my money back as this year has been the best business wise but the worst with TripAdvisor/FlipKey in 5 years!”
Alfonso Vergara, Owner
60 professionally managed properties
“We have experienced many of the issues mentioned on this email over the past year. Including inaccuracies on the listings (location), calendars as well as problems with the book it online feature. In addition, we have lost more than 100 reviews (without deactivating listings) and I’m sure we have lost hundreds of reviews that guests left and were never available for approval on our end. We currently manage 60 properties and have 260 reviews (12 listings). We have been rated excellent consecutively since 2012 and were informed that there are not awards for 2015.
Sales generated by this lead source (TAVR & FK) have dropped more than 50% compared in the past year and we are truly concerned with the performance of this channel.”
Fortunately, competitor channels such as Airbnb and HomeAway have increase their sales by more than 30% this year compensating the lack of performance by FK / TA. Once again thank you for taking a stand on this very important matter that affects all professional vacation rental managers.
Sisters Vacation Rentals
16 professionally managed properties
Sea Breeze Vacation Rentals
Jonah Mechanic – Founder
145 professionally managed properties
“They have been an absolute nightmare to deal with and I see no signs of improvement.”
Resort Vacation Properties
Candace M. Varnes, Director of Marketing
Over 300 professionally managed properties
“Even with over 3500 reviews, we ended our relationship several months ago primarily because our listings were in many cases, grossly inaccurate. Our reservationists were constantly being pressed by consumers to explain why their rent was different than what was represented on FlipKey. We decided we were at risk of being sued for false advertising. The decision to shield our business was obviously an easy one to make, but it was disappointing. The revenue generated from the leads we received from FlipKey was exceptional.”
Vacation Palm Springs By Wyndham Vacation Rentals
Davis Meyer, General Manager
“I thought we were the only ones experiencing increasingly poor service in the past year… I hope this is a catalyst for a return to a good working relationship with them.”