By The Hospitable Team
Today, short-term rentals (STR) are as dynamic as ever. Guests change, trends change, tools change… and strict regulations change too. But one thing remains constant — advocacy can help you protect your business.
Theron Lewis of STRHero and David Krauss of Rent Responsibly took the virtual stage of a recent Hospitable Masterclass to unravel the world of STR advocacy: from the basics to leading a short-term rental alliance yourself.
Whether you’re a seasoned host or just starting your journey, watch the full Hospitable Masterclass or enjoy the highlights below to discover the power of advocacy.
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What is STR Advocacy?
STR advocacy is a united community effort. It’s about hosts coming together to understand local regulations, protect their interests and ensure a bright future for the industry.
David explains why unity is essential, “The only way we build the narrative of professionalism and community is to unify and coordinate our industry. It has a huge effect when the regulatory issue arises because you can present a united front to whoever’s making the rules.”
However, the typical host’s journey into advocacy often begins when they’re at the crossroads of new challenging legislation. Theron points out that a proactive approach is needed instead:
“Everybody should start with advocacy first. Understand regulations, join a short-term rental advocacy group, be supportive… Because these regulations don’t just affect the cities they’re in — they affect everybody, as that’s what other cities look at when creating their new regulations.”
Three Pillars of Good Advocacy Strategy
Advocacy in the short-term rental world relies on a threefold foundation, as described by our guest experts. The following trio forms an effective advocacy strategy:
- Host collaboration: Every host should join an established STR community or consider starting one. Community support is a driving force in advocacy, helping hosts understand local regulations, unite their voices and become the backbone of change.
- OTA connections: OTAs like Airbnb and Vrbo are crucial allies for hosts, so reach out to their policy officials to connect. While OTAs can’t fight individual battles for hosts, they occasionally lend significant support to hosts’ causes.
- Official communication: Attend city council events and network with council members. A simple face-to-face conversation can go a long way in building rapport. Even if you don’t have an issue now, a pre-existing connection can be a game-changer one day.
“The three all work together to create a vehicle that allows you to make things stronger or bring change in terms of regulations.” But Theron admits that many towns are still behind, ”a lot of cities don’t have at least two of those or they may not have any. Nobody is speaking on behalf of a community.”
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More Nasty Regulations
Regulations are on the rise. There’s no doubt that the short-term rental industry is experiencing an uptick in regulations and the facts, as presented by David, speak for themselves, “Since the pandemic, interest in short-term rentals has gone up 250% — that’s people looking to book. With that, the amount of regulatory activity has gone up 400%.”
In response, host alliances are on the rise. Hosts are recognizing the importance of jointly navigating this changing regulatory landscape. David shares his encouragement: “We have an opportunity to steer the future of short-term vacation rentals. You’re not going to sustain a 400% increase. There will be settling of regulatory frameworks and we’re all going to live with them.”
No Alliance Yet? Here’s What You Can Do
Starting a host alliance when there isn’t one in your area may initially seem like a daunting task.
Still, David and Theron agree that with the right mindset, supportive partners and a clear mission, you can pave the way for a more secure future for the short-term rental community in your region. Take the initiative and make a difference for yourself and your fellow hosts.
Watch the full Hospitable Masterclass on YouTube and note down the step-by-step plan for creating your own alliance.
P.S. We also advise you to listen in on the great discussion about the questions from the audience!
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We’ve been inviting the best industry experts to our Hospitable Hosts podcast. Our guests shared their valuable insights and expertise on how to navigate the short-term rental industry and gave valuable tips that can make your life as a host just that little bit easier.
We know that being a short-term rental host can be like a game of Tetris… guests, bookings, and cleaning schedules are constantly falling from the sky and you have to fit them all together perfectly. To help our hosts slot everything into place, we organize Hospitable Masterclasses that are jam-packed with inspiration and insight.