Begin to Organize
At the outset, it will be easy to engage fellow owners, operators, and hosts who are interested in supporting an effort aimed at fair and reasonable regulations for short-term rentals. Initially, you should look to recruit as many providers as possible, knowing that there will be some natural attrition over time. Once you've assembled a core group of providers you should begin to think about adding additional allies and stakeholders for your effort.
As a short-term rental owner, operator or host, it will be obvious to local policymakers why you and your fellow providers support formalizing and legalizing short-term rentals. But it's also important to ensure they understand the full impact of short-term rentals in your community, and the numerous local residents who derive both direct and indirect benefits from them.
There are some obvious places to start look for allies.
The first group consists of those who understand and can speak to the local economic impact of short-term rentals and the travelers that use them. Consider reaching out to organizations such as the local economic development authority, chamber of commerce, small business association or tourism board.
Next, think about the local businesses that you and your fellow providers regularly recommend to out-of-town visitors, such as tour operators, bike rental companies, restaurants, specialty shops, and unique tourist attractions in your area. As you conduct your outreach, be sure to ask these business owners and employees how many of the travelers they cater to seem to prefer staying in short-term rentals. Often this kind of simple question can prompt some great anecdotal stories about short-term rental guests-stories that will be important later on.
Finally, ask you and your fellow providers need to think about the businesses that may service your short-term rental(s). Local vendors and services suppliers will not only have a firm grasp of how many short-term rental industry customers they have, but also its impact on their business, employees, and bottom line. Owners and employees of local businesses such as house cleaning services, general contractors, laundry mats, and landscaping companies will often have compelling stories that detail the positive impact of short-term rentals on their businesses and families.
But there also may be some allies in less obvious places as well. For example, you might consider reaching out to a local hospital or patient advocacy group, as many patients and their families prefer to stay in short-term rentals when they have to travel away from home for an extended hospital stay or medical treatment. Another audience to consider are wedding planners, particularly if you live in a “destination wedding” hotspot. Often groups of friends or larger families will opt to stay in a rental property for a long wedding weekend. Also think about any local businesses that frequently employ out-of-town consultants or workers who may prefer short-term rentals for lodging when they're in town. Examples might include production companies who rent short-term rentals for actors and crewmembers in town for a filming, or corporate sponsors for large events who may choose to house a group of company representatives in a home rather than a hotel.
From all your recruitment activities you will also want to keep a simple database or running list of allies and fellow stakeholders. We suggest collecting simple contact information like names, emails, and phone numbers so that when the time comes to mobilize your group you can quickly and easily communicate with them.