Since we are talking more and more about “fake news,” this is a good time to discuss and begin to address the abundance of false reporting in the vacation rental industry.
This week at least two articles appeared on trusted “news” sites — one on Forbes.com and one on nasdaq.com — by two different authors using the same talking points saying that TripAdvisor is the “most formidable and sophisticated” channel in the industry that will overtake HomeAway and Airbnb. There is not a vacation rental industry professional who does not know that nothing could be further from the truth.
We wrote a rebuttal to one of the articles, “Forbes article misses by a mile on TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals prediction,” but even after sending the corrected information to Forbes, they retweeted the fake news article yet again this morning. And then others retweeted their retweet, and — just like that — the false Forbes article is now a reliable source of news about our industry, even though it is completely inaccurate.
And there are many more, including one in USA Today that said, “Don’t look now, but vacation rental companies are piling on the fees, many of them pure junk.”
And one article in the Wall Street Journal said VRMs arose as a result of Airbnb and HomeAway and, “These rental-management companies maintain the online listings, with some masquerading as the homeowner to answer questions from potential guests.”
And there are many more that misinterpret the state of the industry and the challenges and opportunities facing the vacation rental sector.
Besides misleading the public, one problem with false reporting in the vacation rental industry is that investors, venture capitalists, analysts and startups are hungry for information about the industry and use these articles to make investment and development decisions. As a result, startup pitch decks are littered with bad information, and poor investment decisions are made.
Currently, in the vacation rental sector there are dozens of new companies, propped up by fiction-induced funding, that have not yet — nor will ever — produce a profit. These companies get even more media attention that leads to more vaporware psuedo-solutions being created in the space…and on and on.
As an industry, we need to push back on this type of misinformation being distributed in the industry. If you see an article that has false reporting about the industry, take the time to comment on the article, email the author, or send it over to us.
By calling out the authors that publish bad information, hopefully we can provide a level of accountability that discourages false reporting about the vacation rental industry in the future.
By Amy Hinote, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, VRM Intel