Category : STR Industry News

The Future of Short-Term Rentals (in Question?)

Effortless Rental Group is Colorado’s most trusted hospitality provider, specializing in short-term rental and boutique hotel management.  Helping investors locate new real estate opportunities in short-term rental markets, using analytical data, and industry knowledge.

It’s no secret that short-term rentals have been a hot topic whether promoted, maligned, or somewhere in between.  This alternative style of accommodation has evolved into an industry disrupter and is fast becoming the preferred choice of travelers young and old.

Airbnb and Vrbo rentals across the United States have increased by 105% over the past three years propelled by a new wave of travelers looking for more unique and affordable hotel alternatives. Between July 2018 and May 2019, Airbnb added more than 1 million listings.  For comparison, Marriott added 46,101 new rooms between July 2018 and March 2019.  Seeing the outsized returns that short-term rentals generate, U.S. real estate investors both big and small have jumped into this new asset class purchasing 1.8 million properties with the intent to earn short-term rental revenue in 2018 alone.*(AirDNA)

On March 13th, the travel sector was gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Effortless Rental Group saw 87% of reservations cancel in a matter of hours as travel came to a standstill. Shortly after this new reality set in, we noticed a change in booking behavior, with guests reaching out for longer than the average 3-day stays.  This may be due to the fact that short-term rentals are perceived, and proven, as safer than hotels during this pandemic.  A new breed of traveler has been born; one that includes frontline workers, those looking for cozy quarantine spots, and most importantly, travelers who want to avoid a crowded hotel lobby at all costs.

After stay-at-home orders were lifted and businesses began reopening, there was a big uptick in demand.  Weekend getaways are now turning into week-long getaways, guests are even deciding to book for a month or two, now that “work from home” opens the opportunity to work from anywhere.  Travelers are wanting to escape city life to visit a nearby drive-to destination. This type of travel is expected to continue through 2021.  

Since the pandemic began, the percentage of bookings on Airbnb within 200 miles has grown from a third in February to more than 50% in May. Travel in a post-COVID world is shifting “from airplane to car, big city to small location, hotel to home,” Chesky said in an article from the LA Times.  Airbnb’s newest marketing strategy is “Getaway, without going far.  A journey close to home is just the break you need”.  We’ve observed this within our own booking data as a majority of guests reside in state.

Traveler needs are changing and that is nothing new to the short-term rental industry.  Although COVID-19 has created extraordinary circumstances, we’ve always demonstrated our ability to adapt and meet guest expectations.  Proactive communication of cleaning procedures reassures guests and helps demonstrate the full value of the services provided to them. 

Shifting travel expectations and behaviors present an opportunity for investors.  When stacked up against hotels, professionally managed short-term rentals often win out in cost, size, amenities and quality.  These advantages are historically amplified during economic downturns, making short-term rentals the most attractive option over the next year and beyond.

Rent Responsible & Free Lodging Program #FindTheHelpers

While there still may be uncertainty ahead, one constant we can count on is the good nature of human beings during difficult times.  

The opportunity to provide accommodations to those in need has given us at Effortless Rental Group a way to bring light to a dark time for so many. Our friends over at Rent Responsibly have been on a beautiful mission to #FindTheHelpers.

As they outline on their website:

While we may not be able to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel yet, there are countless STR hosts and managers who will be bright spots along the way, stepping up to help others like never before. 

Every effort to help and every act of kindness matters, from delivering groceries to elderly neighbors, to donating cancellation fees to cleaning staff, to housing medical staff for a local hospital.

We’re here to celebrate the people of this community and show the world what we’re all about our passion for caring for others.

We are right there with you Rent Responsibly and are honored you reached out for an interview about the Free Lodging Program we are offering those in need.

Read full blog here: https://www.rentresponsibly.org/colorado-vacation-rental-managers-unite-to-provide-free-accommodations/

The Good Neighbors at Effortless Rental Group

Navigating the world of short-term rental regulation and professional management is over overwhelming — trust us, we get it — this is our passion and there are a lot of changes to keep up with, especially during these COVID-times.  

Mackenzie Miller, a Denver based designer and creator of Grow Positive Thoughts reached out to feature Effortless Rental Group on her blog, which is a beautiful collection of topics such as local community, style, environmental sustainability, and culture.

It’s important to know your options when it comes to Airbnb management as trust, confidence, and performance are top priorities to homeowners and guests. In her piece, Miller tells the story of how Effortless Rental Group got started and how the company has grown to value our team and it’s role in the community.

“Our team is proud to be with us. We have a familial vibe. It’s a fun, relaxed culture. The company plays music on a speaker in the office, has dogs at work, takes team outings, and hosts potlucks on the regular.”

To learn more about Effortless Rental Group and it’s involvement on an advocacy level, read the entire Grow Positive Thought’s post here, as it highlights many of the company’s host education processes and standards for the short-term rental industry. If you would like to receive more Denver short-term rental industry news, be sure to sign up for the Mile High Hosts Newsletter.

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We hope you enjoy reading our story.  Make sure to follow Grow Positive Thoughts to read more positive stories happening in our vibrant community.

 

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!”)

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:

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.

Senate & House Pass CARES Act

The CARES Act passed the Senate and House last week providing relief to businesses across the U.S. This bill has provisions specifically targeting affected businesses in the tourism industry. These provisions will be available through grants at the state and local level. Advocating on behalf of the Short-Term Rental Industry is extremely important during this economic crisis.

This legislation provides direct cash payments of as much as $1,200 for individual taxpayers, and $500 per child, phased out when incomes exceed $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples filing jointly. This also dramatically expands unemployment insurance benefits and provides an additional $600 per week for those receiving unemployment benefits. The bill provides $349 billion dollars in much-needed, low-interest, small business loans that could be partially forgiven to help businesses maintain payroll and avoid laying off workers. It also directs billions of dollars toward hospitals and other health care providers on the frontlines of this pandemic, in part to help them purchase additional life-saving protective equipment.

VRMA has provided a high-level overview and breakdown of this bill, which you can read here.