Advocates vs. Opponents: A New Approach to Vacation Rental Regulations

    Within the vacation rental industry, advocacy has traditionally meant lobbying local governments to create favorable conditions for vacation rentals. It's easy to see why: an over-regulated market, restricted by lawmakers who don't understand how professionally managed vacation rentals can enhance their community, can hamper our industry’s growth and reputation. Many vacation rental management companies are tempted to address this process as opponents rather than as collaborators. I think there’s a better approach.

    As vacation rental managers, our advocacy for the industry in any community should reflect the more complex and nuanced role that we have come to play in local economies. As our industry matures, we continue to create jobs for property managers, housekeeping and maintenance professionals, and many other talented individuals that play an essential role in the day-to-day management of a successful vacation rental. It really does take a village.

    In addition to job creation, our industry generates substantial income for local governments in the form of lodging taxes. Here at Vacasa, our presence in both urban markets (such as Seattle ) and markets with a high degree of seasonal volatility (for instance, Park City, Utah ) has increased tourist traffic, which benefits local businesses and raises the profile of the communities where we operate.

    Once we begin operating in a community, it becomes our hometown, and we do our best work when our interests are aligned with the community's goals. This is the perspective we bring to the table when we sit down with local citizens and lawmakers: vacation rental managers are members of the community, not outsiders. We're partners, collaborators, voters and taxpayers - not opponents.

    The effect we want to see when we expand vacation rental activity in a community is more guests engaging positively, generating a significant economic impact. We also want to see professional managed rentals that respect the livability concerns of full-time residents, business and property owners, law enforcement officials, and community leaders.

    As vacation rental managers, we ask for a seat at the table because we have valuable insights to share. We can provide details on how well-managed vacation rentals work, how to communicate with guests and homeowners, and the ways in which regulations can help keep our communities safe and successful.

    At Vacasa, we believe in responsible management, on-call support, and a commitment to build and protect our communities. Well-considered regulations are a good thing for vacation rental managers, not something to be resisted. As the concept of vacation rentals becomes more mainstream, and as respected brands earn the public's trust, we'll see positive effects across the board.

    It's for these reasons that opposing responsible regulation is rarely in the best interests of our industry. In our experience, the smartest approach is to encourage responsible and reasonable regulation at the local level, the better to protect homeowners, guests and businesses alike.
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