The State Coalition initiative has been particularly successful. The effort has helped VRMA members to gain a seat in the regulations discussion, and in some cases lead by helping local governments to create effective local rules.
Five coalitions have launched in South Carolina, Central Florida, Oregon, Colorado and Georgia. And, four more coalitions are expected to launch this fall; Maui, Southern California, Texas and Puerto Rico.
The initial coalitions have found immediate success is different ways. The South Carolina Vacation Rental Alliance (www.SCVRA.com) was quick to engage with a letter-writing campaign to local elected officials in multiple cities, and a direct advocacy effort in North Myrtle Beach.
Local Efforts in South Carolina
Like many local governments the North Myrtle Beach City Council and staff was looking at significant restrictions that will minimize the ability for Vacation Rental Managers to operate. By organizing and engaging effectively the newly formed South Carolina Vacation Rental Alliance (SCVRA) was able to steer the conversation from bad regulations to rules meant to achieve compliance.
“The government affairs team fighting in the trenches for the rights of professional property managers is dedicated, quick and experienced,” said VRMA member and SCVRA founder Rick Elliott of Elliott Realty in North Myrtle Beach. “Vacation Rental Managers are in a hand-to-hand fight over local regulations and it’s good to know the VRMA team is helping every step of the way”.
Working Towards Good Rules in Oregon
In Oregon the VRMA members were organized into a state coalition called, VIA Oregon (www.VIAOregon.com). The group immediately engaged in a regulatory hotspot on the Oregon coast; Lincoln County.
The first success for VIA Oregon was a Policy Webinar that included data and VRMA/VRHP protocols for the re-opening of vacation rental activity after the initial pandemic shutdowns.
“Thanks to the support of the VRMA we held a Policy Webinar for the area city elected officials, their staff, and the County Commissioners and county staff,” said Jamie Michel of Sweet Home Vacation Rentals and founding member of VIA Oregon. “By educating the area elected officials we were able to re-open the economy after our COVID-19 closures.”
The VIA Oregon coalition held subsequent meetings with individual City Councils in Lincoln County, and the Lincoln County Commission. This work eventually sparked a second Policy Webinar in August featuring and economist, housing analyst and other compliance and data leaders.
“By being organized and speaking with a unified voice we are able to affect positive change,” said Jamie Michel. “While we continue to work on our County regulations we are more effective because of our support”.
Growing Support in Central Florida
The Central Florida Vacation Rental Professionals (www.CFVRP.com) were quickly organized to address a growing problem in the greater Orlando-area; increasing accusations of bad activity in resorts. Through their organization the CFVRP was able to organize weekly meetings with Homeowners Association management companies and get ahead of the problem by promoting professionalism and solutions to address any concerns.
The CFVRP credits their organized efforts through multiple webinars and educational content to re-open local counties after the COVID-19 shutdowns. And, the coalition is currently organizing efforts with area business outlets and tourism leaders to fight for the restoration of international flights to Orlando Airport.
Direct Engagement in Georgia
In Georgia the state coalition, Georgia Vacation Rental Alliance (www.WeAreGeorgiaVRA.com) was organized and engaged for a local discussion with the Glynn County Commissioners. The coalition support allowed VRMA members to guide nuanced discussions over aspects of the local regulations including occupancy, parking and more.
Building a Statewide Solution in Colorado
The Colorado Lodging and Resort Alliance (www.CLARAforColorado.com) is currently planning a statewide Policy Webinar for destination marketing leaders, elected officials and government staff. The Policy Webinar will partner with statewide groups to educate decision makers on the importance of the Vacation Rental industry.
The VRMA State Coalition effort has driven over 30 Policy Webinars including partnership efforts with the International City Managers Association, Florida Tourism Development Tax Association, Northwest Florida League of Cities, Tri-County League of Cities, New Hampshire League of Cities, Texas Travel Alliance, Code Enforcement Officers Association and an upcoming webinar with the New Mexico Tourism Department.
The effort has created more than 60 letter campaigns to State and local governments in favor of fair and effective regulations, including COVID-19 Re-Opening campaigns in Southern California, State of Florida and Oregon. These letters and testimonials include endorsements from former Mayors and allied organizations including the Code Enforcement Officers Association.