Response score and listing quality enhancements

Your listing quality scorecard is a great way to help you improve your listing to get more bookings and provide a great traveller experience. We are making some changes to the scorecard to reflect what travellers have told us are important to them when booking a property. Your listing quality score and other important factors, like offering online booking, will soon be available in your updated listing scorecard. Your listing quality score will also help determine where your property appears within search results relative to other listings within your subscription level.

Measuring listing quality

You may already be familiar with the listing scorecard, but we are making some changes to better reflect what travellers have told us they need. Your response score, as well as other important factors — like accepting HomeAway Payments, offering online booking, and having recent reviews — will soon make up your listing score.

We will also be adding some new features to the listing scorecard to make managing your listing quality score easier than ever:

  • An improved design so it is easier to understand
  • One overall score so you can quickly see how your listing is doing
  • Comparison data to see how your listing is doing compared to others in your area

Listing quality & response scores

Travellers are likely to enquire about another property if they don’t receive an answer within 24 hours. And 25% of enquiries receive no answer at all! Failing to respond to enquiries makes for a poor traveller experience and causes lots of missed booking opportunities. So we’re adding a new response score along with other enhancements to your listing scorecard to make sure your listing has all the information travellers need to book your holiday home.

Your listing scorecard gives you immediate feedback on the things that matter most to travellers, so you can be sure you’re providing them with the information they need. After subscription level, your listing quality score is the most important factor in determining where your property appears in search results. And of course, better search placement translates to more click and more bookings!

Getting a good response score

Since getting a quick response is one of the most important factors to travellers, we are launching a way to measure it. Listings will get a response score based on how quickly and frequently each owner responds to initial enquiries and reservation requests. While responding within 24 hours will get you maximum credit on your response score, we encourage you to reply even faster to secure the booking. If you consistently reply within 24 hours, your faster response time will be featured in your listing scorecard and eventually on your listing, where travellers will be able to see it.

When these changes take place

You will first see these new changes in your scorecard and have some time to improve your listing quality score before any other changes are made. After a few weeks, we will update search results to reflect these new factors and display your response time and response rate on your listing so travellers will be able to see how quickly you reply.

How it works

Measuring your response score

Response score will be measured for all listings that have our newly released secure communication feature. This messaging feature is in the process of being rolled out to all listings, so check your listing scorecard to see if you will get a response score right away.

Your response score will be calculated after five enquiries and will be updated with each new enquiry, using and offering the ten most recent enquiries or reservation requests. It will be calculated using the following two factors:

Response time

The amount of time between when you receive an initial enquiry or reservation request and when you reply.

Response rate

The percentage of your last ten enquiries or reservations to which you have responded.

Responding over the phone

If you prefer to reply by phone, you can still do so. When you log in to your dashboard to get the traveller’s phone number, we will consider that a response and use the time elapsed as your response time.

Dealing with spam enquiries

If you receive an enquiry that you know isn’t from a real traveller, you can log in to your dashboard and mark it as spam. The enquiry will then be removed permanently, and your response time will be measured as when you marked the enquiry as spam.


Measuring your listing quality score

While responding quickly is one of the most important things travellers look for, it isn’t the only thing. We have done extensive traveller research to find out just what makes for a good holiday home listing for travellers. Everything we measure reflects what we’ve learned, and are improving it to make sure we measure the things that matter most. Listing quality factors are:

Response score

As we mentioned above, a quick response helps turn enquiries into bookings and reduces the chances of travellers looking elsewhere. Consistently respond within 24 hours to get full credit for your response score.

Online booking and payments

Research shows travellers prefer to pay securely online rather than by cheque or bank transfer. So your score now reflects not just if you have online booking and HomeAway Payments, but if you use them. Be sure to use these tools when making reservations with your guests.

Reviews

Recent reviews are important: most travellers agree that a recent review is more important to them in evaluating a potential holiday home than quantity, so we’ve changed the way reviews are scored. You should try to get at least 12 reviews to begin with, and keep collecting them to make sure you always have recent ones on your listing.

Calendar

Having an accurate calendar lets travellers know when your property is free for their dates, so they’re more likely to enquire. To save travellers time and to keep you getting high-quality enquiries, update your calendar frequently. If your calendar isn’t updated at least every 60 days, your listing may be hidden from searches where travellers enter specific dates.

Location

We recently launched some improvements to our address information and want to make sure we have a valid address for your property on file. Don’t worry, we will never share your address information with travellers—we will just use it to make improvements to things like map search results.

Photos

Travellers like to know what to expect when renting a holiday home so upload up to 24 well-staged, up-to-date photos to each listing. And make sure they’re big—for best results, we recommend 1024x768 pixels. Otherwise, they can look grainy or blurry on some computer screens.

Quotable rates

Creating rental rates gives you more flexibility in pricing and ensures travellers searching for properties get an accurate price quote. It also means your property appears when they search by price.


You might notice that tenure is no longer one of the factors affecting your listing quality score. Tenure is how long you’ve been listed on HomeAway, and although it isn’t part of your listing quality score, it still impacts where your listing will show up in search results.


What you can do now

There's no time like the present to make the most of these new changes. You can visit your current listing scorecard and follow the recommendations that will help you when the new features are available, such as signing up to online booking, collecting reviews, or uploading new photos.

Log into your HomeAway Dashboard

FAQ

Not all listings will receive a response score because all emails do not yet go through our secure messaging feature. Response scores will only be calculated for listings that have this feature. We are in the process of rolling it out to all listings and once it is available to everyone, all listings will have response scores.

When the new features are available in your listing scorecard, you will see whether your listing will have a response score. If you don’t have a response score, it will not be counted towards your listing quality score until the secure messaging feature is added to your listing.

You will receive a response score after you’ve received your fifth enquiry or reservation request.

To get maximum credit towards your listing quality score, you should reply consistently within 24 hours. If you consistently respond faster than 24 hours, you may see a faster response time like “within an hour” or “within a few hours” shown on your listing. Response times faster than 24 hours do not provide you any additional credit towards your listing quality score, but it will be available in your listing scorecard and will be the response information displayed to travellers on your listing.

Approximately one month after the new features are available in your scorecard, we will begin showing your response rate and response time to travellers on listings who have had at least five enquiries within that time.

For listings that don’t receive their fifth enquiry within a month, your response rate and response time will be available to you and travellers after your fifth enquiry.

We understand there might be times when you will be unable to respond and have allowed for some flexibility when calculating your response score. You will get full credit in your response rate score by replying to at least 80% of your initial enquiries and reservation requests within 24 hours.

If an enquiry isn’t from a real traveller, you are able to mark the enquiry as spam in your Reservation Manager. When you mark an enquiry as spam, we will consider that as a response and use the elapsed time as your response time.

The enquiry will immediately be removed from your enquiries and you will be unable to access it again. All future conversations from that enquiry will also not be delivered to you. So it is important to only use this option when you are certain the enquiry is not a real traveller.

Over time, HomeAway will look at trends in spam enquiries to better detect and prevent these from coming through to you.

Yes, when you log into your HomeAway dashboard to get the phone number, we will consider that as a response and use the time you received the phone number as your response time.

Response time begins when the enquiry has left the HomeAway system, so you will never get penalised if enquiries are delayed.

No, we will begin tracking your response score once this component is available in your listing scorecard. Check your dashboard often so you know when this new component is available.

Although we aren’t tracking your response score, it is never too early to get into the habit of responding quickly to your travellers.

Customer service cannot change, reset your listing quality or response scores, or mark something as spam on your behalf.

Remember your response score has some flexibility built into the calculation. And since it looks at your ten most recent enquiries, over time you are able to improve your score by replying quickly to those enquiries.

Yes, your listing quality score will change since we have added, changed, and removed components.

Tenure, or how long you’ve been listed on HomeAway, will continue to be an important factor on where your listing appears within search results.

Since the listing scorecard only includes actionable things you can do to improve your listing, we have removed tenure. This should make it easier to follow the recommendations to get to 100%.

Your tenure, subscription level, and listing quality score will all still be available for you to view in the performance tab of your owner dashboard.

No, the listing scorecard has been moved along with other items in your owner dashboard. To find your listing scorecard, look on the right-hand side of your dashboard and click on “Listing Quality”.

Approximately one month after the new features are added to the listing scorecard, the listing quality scorecard changes will be reflected within search results.

After subscription level, your listing quality score and tenure determine where your property will appear within search results.

When we make these changes, it is important to remember search results look at your property relative to other properties in your area. So while you can influence your position, search results are dynamic, and you may notice ongoing fluctuations in your listing’s position.

If you have a pay-per-booking listing, you may consider switching to a subscription level so you can have greater control over your position within search results.