Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I join VRMLS?
A: Joining is easy. Just go to the website and click on the “Become a member” button. You will be asked if you are an owner/manager or publisher and then be given the appropriate questions. After creating your account and profile you can then load each property independently.
Q: Who are you guys??
A: Just some vacation rental managers and owners like yourself. (And some gals too!) Yes we do have experience in vacation rental ownership, management and the hotel industry too. Plus we're trained in journalism and strive to publish factual, corroborated information.
Q: How much does Owner membership in VRIA cost?
A: Owners have two options for membership. The Limited non-voting membership includes all benefits, but just one listing and no Association vote. Standard owner membership allows for 3 properties and full voting. Both cost just pennies a day and have a 30 day money-back guarantee.
Q: What are the membership dues for VRMLS?
A: VRMLS is owned by the Vacation Rental Industry Association a not-for-profit organization. Our goal is keep fees low and only collect sufficient fees to pay for technology, support, services and management.
Q: How is the traveling public helped?
A: Can you imagine trying to buy real estate by going from broker to broker or website to website over and over again to find everything for sale? As inefficient as that would be, that is exactly how the vacation rental industry is currently operating. Some guests actually do like to ferret out the perfect vacation spot. But a bigger slice of consumers stay away because buying takes too much time. It is time to make finding, comparing, evaluating and booking a private home as easy as booking a hotel room.
Q: Does VRMLS and VRIA offer Consumer Websites?
A: In general, No. Our purpose is to setup and manage the database. We do operate VacationRentalCentral.com as a free service to all members. In addition, Plumbob Publishing which developed and operates VRMLS for VRIA publishes specialty vacation rental directories, and is allowed to offer them for subscription just any third party publisher can do. But there is no obligation to use Plumbob sites.
Q: So who are the other Publishers?
A: Pretty much everyone with a website who subscribes to VRIA.org and VRMLS.org can be a publisher. (Some will and some will not). And new companies can enter the market by using data from VRMLS. Most will be dedicated to the purpose of advertising vacation rental homes. But we expect general lodging and travel sites to also use the service.
Q: Can I cancel Membership in VRIA?
A: Membership in VRIA can be canceled at any time and no further dues will be charged. Fees are due when the property is submitted. There is a full 30 day money back guarantee. After that Dues and Fees become non-cancelable because members have received the services.
Q: Are there any other fees for using the VRMLS?
A: None that are mandatory. VRIA does offer other services such as Inspections, Arbitration, etc which members who choose to participate in.
Q: Do I need to be licensed to join VRIA?
A: That depends on your state or country. Owners and Managers as well as Publishers are businesses and must have a business license and pay the related taxes. In some jurisdictions participants may need to have real estate, lodging or other licenses. We do not require proof of licensing to join but it must be provided should we request it.
Q: Can you enter my listing information for me?
A: Yes. For an additional fee we have staff who can automatically or manually copy information from your existing website to the VRMLS database. Some commercial sites prohibit you from having us copy the content you paid to give them. Odd eh? In those cases you need to secure their permission first. Should we provide this service, you are required to logon and approve the submissions prior to publication.
Q: Why is a Vacation Rentals MLS needed?
A: Vacation Rentals still represent just a small fraction of the recreational travel industry. Most consumers do not know what a vacation rental is, what the benefits are, how to find and evaluate them, or how to book one. The industry needs to find an easier, less expensive method to best way to increase consumer awareness. An MLS is it.
Q: What is a Multiple Listing System (MLS)?
A: They have been around for decades in real estate sales. Agents shared listings to give them more exposure. The Internet allowed agents and publishers to gain even greater awareness. Cooperation helps real estate agents, buyers and sellers.
Q: Who do I call about questions?
A: Well we hope you can get pretty much everything you need on the website. And we are open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm Pacific Standard Time. If you can't find it on the web you are welcome to call. If you have significant issues or questions our staff are available as consultants for a nominal hourly rate.
Q: Can Owners use the MLS just as property managers do?
A: Yes. That is very important. A MLS can not purport to be a comprehensive database unless it makes it possible for all advertisers to participate. The goal is to help guests search through all rentals to find the one right for them. Exclusion of rental based on who manages the property would decrease the value of the
Q: But real estate MLS’s almost never allow owners to participate?
A: That is not as true today. Owners can pay fees to be included in many real estate for sale MLS services. In real estate sales the majority of transactions are still handled by professional agents. And the power of decade old MLS’s is one reason why. That is why we believe a Vacation Rental MLS will become a powerful tool in promoting the industry.
Q: How would an Associate benefit?
A: Initially the Associate Inserts will be a traffic building for other websites. In time we hope to have a system to distribute commissions to Associates for every paid reservation procured by their website.
Q: Technically, how are VRMLS listings distributed?
A: We offer a number of ways in which data from the VRMLS database can be distributed out to Publisher websites. These include direct connection, XML and feeds such as RSS. Interfacing does require some programming knowledge and the security of the connections are essential.
Q: For Owners and Managers how complicated is adding listings to VRMLS?
A: Not very hard. Most owners and landlord with medium or higher computer skills should have no problem. The process is similar to what most advertisers experience in loading listings to commercial vacation rental directory websites. But remember – the good news is – you only have to do it once per property.
Q: Are there instructions for Publishers on how to interface?
A: Yes we will write publisher instructions available on line under the Documents Page. You will be able to view these documents once you are a member of the MLS.
Q: Do you provide technical support?
A: As part of your Publisher membership dues, up to an hour of support time is included. Should more extensive support be needed it is available on a per hour basis.
Q: Can the Publisher also submit listings?
A: Not automatically no. We think that managers and owners need to keep control of their data. They alone should decide if their listings are included in the VRMLS and then resubmitted out to other sites. So the direction of data is from Lister into VRMLS and then out to Publishers.
Q: Can an existing vacation rental website directory convert to your MLS data?
A: Absolutely and in that case, your current listings can be accepted backward into our system. That way you will use our database exclusively and not have to arrange some kind of synchronization system. Contact us for arranging this transition.
Q: How big will the VRMLS database get?
A: We expect it to get very big. The service is worldwide and available Vacation Rentals everywhere. In time, we intend to translate the database into other languages as well. Our system is based on the industry standard structured query language (SQL) and scales up remarkably well. We can accommodate whatever growth is needed.
Q: Can a subscriber publish listings from other people on their website?
A: Yes but remember there are rules. In the VRMLS data must be run in a disciplined manner. Listing will require complete data, well organized and of value to guests. If the owner/manager permits it their listings can be republished on the sites of other owner/publishers. This is common for Real Estate brokers but they are required to display the name of the originating broker. VRMLS will operate in a similar manner.