Monthly Archives: April 2020

Colorado Vacation Rentals Offer Free Lodging in Colorado

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, the hospitality & short-term rental industries are evolving with it.

Effortless Rental Group has partnered with Premier Vacation Rentals and a select network of property managers to offer lodging for people who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Participants will qualify on a case-by-case basis and undergo a screening process including background checks. Read more about Premier Vacation Rental’s press release here.

Chris Bettin, founder and CEO of Premier Vacation Rentals said this in the Denver Post late last week…

“Though we operate as competitors in a normal business environment, this crisis presents a unique opportunity for us to unite around a common cause and support individuals in our communities who are in need of lodging during this crisis,” Bettin said. “It’s extremely rewarding to do this right now.”

All in all, the network of PM’s boasts approximately 500 properties across multiple markets. More property management companies are expected to join in on the program in the coming months.

Additionally, with travel activity declining in recent months, prices are being drastically reduced to guests that may not qualify. So now may actually be a great time to book & save money on a future trip.

Lastly, if you’re a guest that qualifies for the program, please inquire with Effortless Rental Group directly here.

Community Outreach – April 2020

Make Your Voice Heard:

3 Ways to Make Your Voice Heard and show how short-term rentals help support our families, jobs, local neighborhood businesses, and the City’s growth.

#1) Attend and speak at the next STRAC meeting:  

There are opportunities for public comment at these meetings and it is important for your voice to be heard.  We will be monitoring how STRAC will be accomodating public comment in the COVID environment and will share what we learn.

Upcoming STRAC (Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee) Meetings:

  • The April STRAC meeting has been canceled
  • Tuesday, June 9
  • Tuesday, August 11
  • Tuesday, October 13
  • Tuesday, December 8

#2) Speak at City Council Meetings:

Denver City Council meetings take place twice a month on the first and third Monday.  Each speaker gets three minutes to speak. All details can be found here.  If you are interested in learning more and getting involved please email milehighhosts@gmail.com. The Denver City Council is making decisions week by week during the COVID crises on whether to allow public comment, so please refer to their web page for that information.

#3) Schedule Coffee with your City Council Member:

Email milehighhosts@gmail.com and we will help you schedule a 1:1 appointment with your city council member.  They are happy to meet with you as this is part of their responsibility as representatives of us all. These meetings can be via phone or virtual meetings (e.g. Zoom, Facetime, etc).

Airbnb Listing Updates – Dos & Don’ts 2020

Airbnb posted an article titled, “It’s a good time to update your listing with these tips” about hosting local and extended stays and some warning about accuracy within the listing.  You can read the full article here.

Eric Moeller summarizes the guidelines below:

DO: Revise your listing title to mention that your space is great for a staycation, as a work-from-home alternative, or for families.

DON’T: Promote your space as “COVID-free” or “quarantine-friendly.” In fact, we’re requiring that hosts remove any mention of “COVID-19,” “the coronavirus,” or “quarantine” in their listing title.

DO: Highlight your enhanced cleaning routine in your listing description. While we won’t allow you to claim that your listing is coronavirus-free, you can share details about your cleaning methods. (Example: “Due to the coronavirus, we’re taking extra care to disinfect frequently touched surfaces between reservations.”)

DON’T: Use shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and other essentials as a way to entice guests. (Example: “Escape the coronavirus! Plenty of toilet paper here!”)

MHH: Best Practice Tips for Hosts – April 2020

How to make the most of the downtime…

It’s easy to want to wait for the dust to settle before doing anything, but who knows how long it will take for that to happen. Why not take advantage of this downtime and knock some things off that to-do list, such as:

  1. Deep cleaning
  2. Decor upgrades
  3. Maintenance projects and repairs
  4. Yard work and spring cleanings
  5. Safety inspections
  6. Give your listing(s) a refresh

What are you doing to keep busy?  Feel free to send us a message at milehighhosts@gmail.com

Mile High Hosts & COVID Resources

The Mile High Host community is made up of a wide variety of individuals, from a host renting a room in their house to Realtors wanting to keep up on the latest short-term rental regulations and property managers managing numerous properties throughout the city.  We want to provide resources to help you navigate these rapidly changing times.

Coronavirus Survival Kit for STR Hosts: 

Industry experts, Jasper Ribbers and Eric Moeller have put together a tool kit for individuals hosts.  They gathered tips, tricks, tools and resources to save you time and help your STR business survive.

The kit is designed to help you:

  • Survive and thrive through this crisis
  • Maintain occupancy
  • Stay in business
  • Prepare for the opportunities that will come

This kit is only $7 to download and jam-packed with helpful information and resources.

VRMA COVID-19 Resources:

While VRMA is an organization geared toward the professional short-term rental property manager, they have compiled helpful information and resources to navigate the uncertain time ahead.

Click here to view the massive list of resources they’ve compiled.

Support Local:

When all else fails and you need to blow off some steam, keep in mind that you can support your local restaurants and order cocktails to go.  Westword put together a piece highlighting which restaurants are serving craft cocktails to go. One trend that has emerged from this pandemic is the proliferation of virtual happy hours — we truly are a species that thrives off of human connection.  Cheers!

Here are a handful of additional articles and local resources:

Helping Those In Need

As life as we know it comes to a slowdown, if not a halt, we are given the opportunity to reflect on what we have and all that we are grateful for.  While I have felt especially grateful to have a roof over my head and food in my refrigerator, there are individuals experiencing homelessness that don’t have the ability to ‘stay home’ and away from potential exposure to COVID-19.  People experiencing homelessness are at particular risk for spreading the virus because often they live in close quarters with extremely limited sanitation facilities. In order to prevent the community spread of the virus in homeless shelters and public spaces, there is a dire need for space for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Mile High Hosts has reached out to our local city representatives letting them know our hosting community is aware of this need.  We understand that opening up your space to those in need is not something everyone is comfortable doing, but for anyone who might have a usable space is asked to email housingstability@denvergov.org, and volunteers are asked to reach out to the Mile High United Way or the Denver Rescue Mission atunitedwaydenver.org/volunteer or DenverRescueMission.org/volunteer, respectively.

Read more about this from the Denver Posts here.

New STR Ordinance Language Update

Before the COVID-19 consumed our thoughts and inboxes, our community had a mission to ensure the newly proposed short-term rental ordinance language did not negatively impact the hosting community.  Many of you wrote or had face-to-face meetings with your city councilmembers and some spoke publicly at the Biz Committee meeting on March 11th.  Many expressed their concerns with the new language, specifically about “fixed habitation” and the potential of license denial based on the number of days that the short-term rental has been, or will be, rented within the calendar year.

During the Biz meeting on the 11th, Excise and Licenses (EXL) presented the new language to a sub-committee of city councilmembers and fielded many questions.  What came as a pleasant surprise to many of us attending the meeting, was what EXL confirmed with members of city council. Ashley Kilroy, the Director of EXL, said that they would not be denying a license based on lifestyle or frequency of travel — this is something we have seen as the reason for license denial or investigation in the past.  While it looks likely that this ordinance language will pass, we are optimistic that our community has made its voice heard, bringing to the attention of the City Council and the Director that we are gravely concerned about how this language will potentially shut down good hosts.

Airbnb Scales Back Marketing – Top Execs Take Pay Cut

As the travel and hospitality industry is one of the biggest sectors hurt by COVID-19, it comes as no surprise to learn that Airbnb has suspended all of its marketing in an attempt to save $800 million this year.

Airbnb’s founders will also not take a salary for the next six months, and top executives will take a 50 percent pay cut, according to Reuters. The company has paused hiring as well, with the exception of a few key roles. (Read the full article here).

Airbnb announced plans to go public last September, reporting over $1 billion in revenue for Q2 2019.  Airbnb’s losses nearly doubled in Q4 last year, before the pandemic became a global issue, according to Bloomberg.

Airbnb’s Brian Chesky – “We want to fix this.”

Image: Yahoo Finance

On the afternoon of March 30th, the CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, conducted a live stream for the hosting community.  Here is a summary of what Brian said:

  • Travel is at an all-time low
  • Recognition and apology that Airbnb has drifted from the host-focus it was created on
  • COVID-19 cancellation policy was set for the sake of public health. He apologizes for not consulting hosts (violation of partnership)

Actions going forward:

  • Extenuating circumstance policy – established a $250 million fund to pay hosts 25% of canceled booking. Retroactive to March 14. Cancellations before March 14 will be based on host cancellation policy
  • Establishment of $5000 grants for Superhosts and Experience Leaders up to a total of $10 million coming early April
  • Previous guests will be able to send messages and donations directly to hosts. Expected effective date: early April
  • For USA hosts only: COVID-19 stimulus bill allows Airbnb hosts to be eligible for SBA loans and grants, as well as unemployment benefits

You can view the message and read the details here.