Greetings, VRMA members. In March, when I began my role as interim executive director, it was the high point of COVID-19 turmoil. We were racing to cancel the European conference and pivoting our Spring Forum event to a virtual platform. Across the country, governors were closing down access to vacation rentals, and we were activating our grassroots initiatives to advocate for safe openings based on our SafeHome campaign. There was little time for planning; we simply had to react and extinguish as many fires as possible. Let’s just say I had a rollercoaster entrance into the world of VRMA.
Throughout the spring and summer, VRMA’s board and staff have carefully navigated the shark-infested waters of 2020, and we are now laser-focused on 2021. This is a pivotal time in our industry. Advocacy, professionalism, partnerships and unity are the keys to a successful future for VRMA.
Advocacy. I have spent the last 30 years leading the governmental advocacy efforts of associations. I can tell you there is no greater responsibility for an association than its role in advocating for its members. This can’t be accomplished by individual members alone, or by influential vendors in the industry. It can only be successful when an association leads the way and coordinates the efforts of others in the space. The most successful lobbying campaigns are accomplished when all parties work together, raise money to fuel the machine and voice logical, data-driven arguments.
VRMA’s advocacy team partners with members guiding them on how to combat damaging local regulations. VRMA currently provides a suite of tools to assist in these efforts, as well as tracking of state and local issues and advocacy alerts to engage members in policy discussions.
Earlier this year, VRMA instituted a state coalition initiative that has been particularly successful. The effort has helped VRMA members gain a seat in local regulatory discussions, and in some cases lead by helping local governments create effective local rules.
Five coalitions have launched, in South Carolina, Florida, Oregon, Colorado and Georgia. Four more coalitions are Shout it from the rooftops: The VRMA brand stands for quality, education and standards. expected to launch this fall, in Hawaii, California, Texas and Puerto Rico. The coalitions have found immediate success in different ways, by equipping VRMA members with the key messages and counter-arguments to highlight the benefits of their businesses to local communities, and streamline the process of responding to any threat while remaining on message (read more on state coalitions).
Professionalism. Advocacy work has little credibility however, unless an association can demonstrate to state and local lawmakers its ability to create and drive quality industry standards in the market. VRMA’s Vacation Rental Management Certificate Program and the VRMA Accredited Professional Property Management Company Program raise the bar on professionalism by differentiating credible managers and companies in the market and, ultimately, increasing consumer confidence. Wide adoption of these tools will expand the volume of professionally managed properties weeding out the “bad actors” in the eyes of legislators and contributing to overall industry excellence.
Partnerships. Almost nothing can be accomplished alone. Over the course of 2020, VRMA has worked closely with several of its partners to fight legislative and regulatory battles across the country.
- VRMA’s data provider partner, Key Data, has played an important role in assuring VRMA’s advocacy arm is equipped with aggregate data across the profession to fight policy battles at the local, state and federal levels.
- Another VRMA partner, the Goldwater Institute, a free-market public policy research and litigation organization, has played a pivotal role in upholding private property rights in lobbying efforts and litigation related to vacation rentals.
- Additionally, Vrbo has worked hand in glove with VRMA, aligning its lobbying efforts with our grassroots campaigns to win substantial battles over COVID-19 re-openings. Our joint goal of raising the bar on professionalism in the community has been the key to this successful lobbying partnership.
UNITE THE COMMUNITY
Advocacy is not only about credibility, data-driven messaging and dollars. To attain any amount of leverage, an association must show its strength in numbers. We must grow our membership in 2021 to show that we speak for the industry.
Shout it from the rooftops: The VRMA brand stands for quality, education and standards. In 2021, VRMA will kick off pilot program with Property Management Inc. that will add every one of its vacation rental franchises as VRMA members, certifying all managers and accrediting each of its franchises. What better way is there to show quality in our community?
Shout it from the rooftops: The VRMA brand stands for quality, education and standards.
If you have colleagues in the industry who are benefiting from VRMA’s lobbying efforts but have yet to join the organization, please reach out and articulate to them the importance of uniting the industry through VRMA.
Thank you for your dedication to growing our association and advocating for our industry