How short-term rentals help improve lives and communities
Short-term rentals do more than just provide a place for people to sleep while they’re traveling or on vacation. They improve lives and communities.
The mainstream narrative surrounding short-term rentals isn’t always so positive, though, as news stories focus on parties and property damage.
However, we know that most short-term rentals operate peacefully within their neighborhoods or buildings, and data from Rent Responsibly’s State of the Short-Term Rental Community Survey can back us up. In the past 12 months, approximately 80 percent of short-term rental managers reported receiving zero complaints from neighbors or members of their community about their STRs. Additionally, only 1.4 percent of survey respondents said they did not enjoy a positive relationship with the neighbors of their short-term rental property.
As more homeowners associations and local governments across the country consider additional regulations or outright bans on short-term rentals, it is essential for property managers to advocate the positive impacts STRs have on the community.
That is why Futurestay is celebrating Vacation Rental Week in partnership with VRMA from March 7-11. Vacation Rental Week was created to spread awareness about the positive impact that professionally-managed vacation and holiday rentals have on guests, property owners and local economies large and small.
To kick off the celebration, let’s take a look at a few of the ways short-term rentals can improve lives and communities.
KEEP MONEY LOCAL
Generally, people who come to stay at a STR aren’t going to be from the area. STRs offer an expanded opportunity to house people who are visiting for big events like conferences, conventions and sporting events. While accomodations for those types of events were once restricted to hotels, guests now seek out short-term rentals for more comfort and better value.
“When people from out of town are coming to visit, they’re also generating additional tax income,” says Abbi Booth, the director of alliance operations at Rent Responsibly, a group that empowers property managers to work with their community, city, and local government to promote responsible renting. “That money goes right back into the cities and the counties.
That has an obvious benefit, sure, but it goes deeper than people just spending money. If a guest stayed at a hotel instead of a STR, for example, they may find themselves in a more commercial part of town with chain restaurants and big-box stores. That’s going to make them more likely to spend money at those places out of convenience.
But because STRs are normally found in less commercial areas, it provides a unique opportunity to build a partnership with local businesses in the neighborhood.
“If someone goes and visits a chain restaurant, that revenue goes right back to headquarters, and they’re not reinvesting that into the community,” says Dana Lubner, the head of leadership at Rent Responsibly. “But if you direct people to the coffee shop around the corner, that money is going directly into the pockets of the individuals that are local, and that money is likely to stay local.”
A great way to begin promoting nearby businesses is todevelop and offer a guest welcome book at your STR. Not only does your suggestion help keep money local, it helps your guests feel more at home and a part of the community, too.
“It can be as simple as building a rapport with a coffee shop and listing them in your guestbook,” Lubner says. “Or property managers can even build a rewards program with local businesses.”
Anyone who has owned a home can tell you that keeping it maintained can feel like a full-time job. Thankfully, as an independent property manager, you don’t have to go it alone. STRs of any size can create ancillary jobs in the community for cleaners, handy persons, groundskeepers and pool cleaners. Large-scale STRs may even employ office staff who help run operations.
According to the Rent Responsibly survey results, 57 percent of surveyed short-term rental owners hired up to employees to service their property, and 69 percent spent up to $15,000 on those providers.
Independent property managers who want their STR to stand out may even end up employing photographers and website developers to showcase their properties online, two jobs that are often done freelance or part-time. That can mean reliable income for people struggling in the gig economy.
There’s a lot of work that goes into making sure that the place they're staying is in tip-top shape. In fact, Airbnb recently reported that in 2021, there were 75,000 jobs supported by STRs just in Arizona.
PROVIDE EMERGENCY ACCOMMODATIONS
When natural disasters happen, people are often displaced. During emergencies, STRs have the ability to help accommodate people in a more home-like setting than a hotel or an emergency shelter.
“Having a place to stay after a flood or an ice storm where people can make dinner and have their kids be more comfortable is huge,” Lubner says. “That’s something that you can’t get at a hotel.”
During times of crisis, the comfort of feeling at home and not like a traveler in a hotel can’t be understated.
That time of crisis is now in Ukraine. As the country remains under attack, allies from around the world are booking Airbnbs in the country with no intention of checking in – instead, they are donating their stay to refugees who may need the shelter and using the reservation fees as a quick way to get money into the hands of people who need it most.
Guests have an expectation that the STR they’re going to stay in is well kept and safe for them to be in. Oftentimes, that means that homes purchased to be used as STRs are going to be renovated and updated. That brings the value of the entire neighborhood up.
“When you elevate your home, it often elevates the other homes on the block,” Lubner says. “Neighbors may also follow suit and rebuild a fence and get inspired to do more.”
Curb appeal is important to ensuring consistent bookings, so making sure your property and your landscape look great should be a priority. That’s a win-win for property owners and the entire neighborhood.
CELEBRATE VACATION RENTAL WEEK
Consider adding your voice to the Vacation Rental Week celebrations by sharing on social media about the positive impact your business has on your community. Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #VacationRentalWeek.
Futurestay pioneered the first operating system designed to empower rentalpreneurs with the connectivity and automation previously out of reach for everyday people running short-term rentals. Building on its promise to help rentalpreneurs succeed at any stage, Futurestay is so much more than a platform, offering anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a room to rent the chance to learn, earn and grow at every stage of their rentalpreneur journey.
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