10 Replies Latest reply: Nov 5, 2019 4:35 PM by margaret RSS

    Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?

    martyp Contributor
        • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
          scowol Active Contributor

          I suspect that Vrbo (Expedia Group) and Airbnb choose which battles to fight based on their exposure and loss potential in the marketplace.   For example, a VR ban on the 2018 ballot was defeated in my marketplace, and Expedia donated more to the VR advocacy group than Airbnb.  So there's cases where Expedia and Airbnb join forces, each donate a portion, or one sits it out while the other goes to battle.

           

          The following is a great article on what's been fought, what's being fought, and the future...

           

          https://www.vrmintel.com/coming-to-a-city-near-you-as-vacation-rentals-grow-in-popularity-so-do-the-regulations-to-stop-…

          • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
            georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

            Be careful what you wish for.

            Some locales resent the outside intervention and money.

            It can be detrimental.

            On the other hand, VRBO does have an Legal Advocacy Dept

            Phillip Minard is a good contact in DC.

              • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
                martyp Contributor

                I understand that there is good and bad; too hard of a push can result in a push back.  However, there is plenty that can be done without creating a pushback.

                 

                As I said in another thread, VRBO was virtually useless in my market place.  The VRBO advocacy dept did nothing more than create a Facebook group and sent "invites" to other owners. That was a flop.  I could actually say that VRBO was an obstacle.  By blocking owner-to-owner contact information, I was unable to send a follow up to those owners who did not accept the "invite"; I was not able send an explanation as to why they should join; I could not send informative messages to the other owners or create any momentum. 

                 

                Sending individual messages through VRBO's "Ask the owner a question" was pointless because VRBO would have blocked any and all contact information.

                 

                The irony in my situation is that the ordinance was precipitated by one single problem house. It was a 10,000 sq ft, 10 bedroom mega-mansion that advertised that it slept 40 people ... Although many owners were forced out, that one mega-mansion was one of very few of us that were grandfathered ... AND is still operating today.

                 

                I am very disappointed with VRBO for many reasons and this particular topic is one of those reasons.

                • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
                  scottr Active Contributor

                  In our area, AirBnB donated to the local campaign.  Vrbo decided to encourage owners to send a form letter to the City Council.  That didn't go over well with City Council.  The measure to ban VHRs passed, and next year will likely be the last for VHRs in our community, The success of the OTAs, will also be their demise. 

                • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
                  calicalling Active Contributor

                  Airbnb has allowed the proliferation of poorly-managed, 'arbitrage' and shared-space rentals which are the reason that communities are up-in-arms over VRs. Arbitrage (in particular) is damaging to communities and leads to the kinds of issues we all read about (damaged property, poorly supervised properties, etc). I'm not sure its a good thing that they are spending millions to keep their business model going, absent of the kind of common-sense regulations that would be effective for protecting legitimate VRs.

                   

                  As an owner, I appreciate the VRBO/HA model which tends more toward empowering owners to interact directly with decision-makers as local, legitimate community stake-holders.


                  We shouldn't kid ourselves, we are not the bread-and-butter of Airbnb's business. And I'm certain it is not to my benefit when they spend millions promoting arbitrage and shared-space.

                    • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                      What is "arbitrage"?

                       

                      I was looking at replies to Chesky's twitter, and some "hosts" are convinced that it is all fault of "absentee" owners (i.e owners of non-shared spaces). Well I guess they do not know that vacation home rentals existed way before Airbnb and way before internet itself.. They were just rented direct by owner or local manager. So we are the ones being blamed now.

                        • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                          u0999 

                          Arbitrage is when someone rent apartments then sublets them as STRS. Sometimes they rent out the whole apartment but often they rent individual bedrooms to multiple stranger at the same time. Some of the people in the ABB groups have many apartment they sublet. It is very popular among the ABB crowd.

                          • Re: Airbnb spends millions fighting Short Term Rental ordinances. What does VRBO do?
                            calicalling Active Contributor

                            With arbitrage, "hosts" don't have any reason to protect the property or the community. They don't own the home, they aren't members of the community. These are not people who love a town or area and purchase property to enjoy there,.

                             

                            Instead, they are 'business people' who are looking to maximize profit through all the strategies owners disdain and that negatively impact communities (heads in beds, nightly (sometimes hourly) turns, renting to locals, allowing parties, etc).

                             

                            In some cases, the homeowner does not even realize that the home is being rented (sublet on a nightly basis). Often, the lease specifically prohibits this activity but it is done anyway. Many times, it is in violation of HOA or ordinace requirements. They just don't care. I'm basing this on the MANY videos and conversations out there in the public sphere, where strategic discussions are usually "how do I get away with this without the owner/HOA/etc knowing."

                             

                            It is on owners to continue to make the distinction between 'absentee owners' and 'arbitrage operators' clear to the public.