There is no shortage of regulatory issues facing vacation rental managers. We receive calls and emails from members and desperate property owners, asking how to respond to calls for more regulation in their communities. In many cases, these communities have already begun the process. That is why we created the VRMA Voice: Vacation Rental Messaging Guide. To make this guide more accessible, we created an online educational platform to help users break down the guide and quickly get to the information they want.
What is the Guide?
A leading national public relations firm, which specializes in crisis management, developed the messaging guide. The firm performed interviews throughout the industry, including VRMA board members, VRMA staff and professional vacation rental manager members in urban destinations and traditional vacation communities. We designed it to empower you to play both offense and defense – offense where you can condition the environment before a threat occurs and defense when facing specific action that might affect you.
The guide’s design maintains the idea that managers are busy running businesses and will need to act rapidly when a regulatory issues arises. In these situations, your primary audience is usually clear: the city council, zoning board or other regulatory authority looking to take action. However, you also should acknowledge and engage your secondary audiences – real estate associations, supportive neighbors, homeowners and others. Your messaging to all of these groups should address the issue spurring action head on and forcefully rebut false claims or portrayals directly to interested groups and publically through the media.
How Do I Use the Guide?
The guide’s new educational platform makes using this advocacy tool easier than ever. The guide is broken down into individual modules for easier consumption with a clear layout. If advocacy is new to you, then visit the Introduction and Helpful Resources sections, which are an advocacy 101 handbook. These sections include information on writing to the press, letters and email templates, as well as tips on organizing into an alliance locally.
Once you have these basics down or you simply need assistance in writing a letter to your city council, creating an opinion piece to the local press or communicating to your local tourism board, you can find statements in the guide to help you along the way. Once in the guide, scroll down and select the prewritten messages on a variety of topics in the General Messaging or Specific Messaging sections. The general messages are broad industry-wide statements, while specific messages are broken down by audience and issue. These sections include targeted messages to elected officials, property neighbors and your guests on a variety of counter arguments on issues ranging from noise to housing affordability.
Most importantly, the VRMA Voice: Vacation Rental Messaging Guide’s design is for practical use. It might help to think about the message points in this book as building blocks that can be assembled and configured to meet whatever need you might have, whether that’s a letter to the editor, a letter to the city council, outreach to the local tourism board or communications with guests, neighbors or even law enforcement authorities. They can be used in written materials or provide the backbone of spoken remarks. Use them how you see fit and however is helpful.
There is a lot of information in the VRMA Voice: Vacation Rental Messaging Guide. Our educational platform presents it in a meaningful way to serve an immediate need and educate you on advocacy and messaging. This guide will be an evolving resource. When new issues arise, or messaging needs change, we will update the modules to keep you informed. Using this strategic communication advocacy tool will help the vacation rental industry create a consistent message when debating the ins and outs of the short-term rental debate.
Learn more about the VRMA Voice: Vacation Rental Messaging Guide here.
The generous contributions of the VRMA International Conference Auction and the VRMA Advocacy Fund paid for the content of the VRMA Voice: Vacation Rental Messaging Guide. Your continued support of these initiatives will help us to fund more projects like this.
From Arrival Issue 4, 2019