On November 16th, a first-of-its-kind event, the Good Neighbor Summit (GNS) was hosted at the Space Annexx Gallery in Denver, Colorado. The event was curated by Mile High Hosts for Community Advocacy (MHCA), of which Effortless Rental Group is a member. The Good Neighbor Summit came together when we heard both hosts and guests voicing their concerns about the future of short-term rentals. It was clear we had an opportunity and an obligation to come together to find solutions to the problems expressed by some members of the community. The goal of the event was to identify the solutions and find ways for all stakeholders to exist in harmony.
The event was a huge success with not an empty seat in the house. The room was filled with hosts, business owners, property managers and city representatives. Our very own Dana Lubner facilitated the three-part agenda for the day and kept us on schedule. Kicking things off, we learned about having transparent conversations with our neighbors and solutions for navigating dialogue for respectful outcomes. The second session of the day included insightful talks from VisitDenver, EatDenver, Denver Graffiti Tour and and Kimberly Lorenzen, an interior designer on how to make a space feel welcoming to visiting guests. MHCA surveyed over 300 guests on why they chose to stay at a short-term rental over a hotel and where they spent their time while in Denver. The two word clouds below are generated from the guest survey data. Pretty cool stuff!
The final session was an engaging panel discussion on the future of short-term rentals, something we are all invested in. Among the panelists was former councilwoman, Mary Beth Susman, who was instrumental in creating the current legal framework for STRs. Joining Mary Beth was David Krauss (founder of Rent Responsibly), Nick Massey (National Director of Sales for Proper Insurance), Scott Shatford (CEO and founder of AirDNA) and the wise beyond her years Ashley Hodgini (Regional Government Affairs Manager for Expedia).
Mary Beth spoke to the climate of STRs a few years ago when there were no regulations and the intention of the primary residence rule was to protect affordable housing. She humorously acknowledged that the sharing economy is here to stay through comics and storytelling. Analogies help us understand things we have a hard time understanding, which David Krauss used beautifully when telling the story of when cars were first introduced and how rules of the road were needed in order to keep everyone safe. We are at a similar junction now with how we adapt to short-term rentals and the regulations we create to support evolutionary demand.
Nick addressed Airbnb’s recent appearances in the media and how a few bad players do not represent the community at large. He stressed the importance of separating STR hosts from Airbnb as they are not one and the same.
Scott Shatford explained that the new hybrid STR hotel is a result of tightening regulations and how it pushes out the individual homeowning sole entrepreneur.
Ashley shared a touching host story of a woman that inherited her father’s home a few doors down from her own in New Orleans welcoming guests that were displaced from storms or other hardships. She painted a warm and welcoming picture of the opportunity hostings provides to those in need -- its stories like these that are not often highlighted in the media.
As the day came to an end, attendees energetically discussed takeaways and action items for the next steps moving forward. It is imperative for community members to connect with their city council members and share their hosting stories. Another call to action was for attendance at the upcoming STRAC meeting on December 10th to show support for the hosting community. MHCA is launching their website in the next few weeks which will highlight ways to get involved and keep in touch.
Denver is a vibrant forward-looking progressive city. We are artist-centered, sports-focused and surrounded by pristine natural beauty. We are a city of citizens that embrace new experiences. Short-term rentals are a part of the fabric of who we are. Let’s embrace them. The Good Neighbor Summit set the stage for stakeholders to put aside differences and find solutions to support each other in our common goals for a unified community.