[Download] Experts Predict More 2021 Travel
by Shylo Bisnett, on March 2, 2021 at 8:09 AM
What your community should do to prepare for a boost in short-term rentals, leisure travel
Last year, leisure travel changed significantly. Either households eliminated vacations altogether or flipped the script entirely, choosing camping trips or small trips with close pods. As we previously discussed, short-term rental providers such as Airbnb, vrbo, etc. observed an uptick in whole-house vacation rentals as groups grew concerned about COVID and cross-contamination.
And this trend wasn’t just observed in large cities or well-known tourist destinations—smaller communities also saw a bump. Work-from-home policies encouraged some more mobile travelers to decamp for larger homes in destinations surrounded by nature to support working from anywhere and remote-schooling needs. Smaller communities also saw potential residents “try out” a new home through extended vacation-rental stays.
But this year, it seems, pure leisure travel will experience a resurgence, due in large part to vaccine availability. And while 2021 might feature more subdued excursions, the growing return to travel should explode in 2022.
What Does This Mean for Local Governments?
When it comes to tourism dollars, local communities need to keep several things in mind.
Examine your ordinances: While the short-term rental industry has been around for some time, it’s still relatively young and evolving rapidly. Local governments have developed short-term rental ordinances focusing on guest and community safety, as well as requirements around registration, fees, and taxes.
However, business moves faster than local governments. As this industry has changed, regulations simply haven’t been able to keep up. Frequently, municipalities realize that vacation rentals have tweaked operations just enough to evade rules which results in nuisance complaints, or avoid paying lodging taxes or fees. But without the resources of a large, dedicated in-house legal team, local governments rarely stay in step with private business.
Understand your short-term rental landscape: It's very common for some vacation-rental hosts to operate under the radar. In addition, it’s also likely that online travel companies (such as Expedia) and short-term rental providers (ex. Airbnb) aren’t remitting all lodging taxes due. But a comprehensive review of all your revenue from short-term rentals can be challenging for local governments already tasked with too much work and too few staff. Plus, nearly 100 companies are involved in short-term rentals or online travel. Just getting the data can be a headache, much less making meaning out of it.
Get to know your vacation-rental hosts: Your local short-term rental community might be made up of small-business owners with just one or two properties. However, as this industry is maturing, it’s more likely that an investment group or property-management company operates dozens—or even hundreds—of rentals across the region. It's important to understand the concerns of each type of owner/operator and provide solutions to meet their needs. Regardless of size, all companies prefer easy-to-understand remittance procedures and platforms. But far too many local governments still require paper payments, mailed in to municipal offices, or clunky tech tools.
How Localgov Answers Short-Term Rental Challenges
With serious experience catering to the needs of local governments across the country, Localgov offers a more complete approach to the quandary of short-term rental management.
Develop and refine ordinances: We understand that few local governments have legal teams with time to spare, while companies that stand to profit from short-term rentals in your community spend to discover loopholes. So that’s where Localgov’s legal and municipal experts can lend a hand and provide ordinance oversight.
Get accurate data, answers, and funds: Municipal finance departments typically don’t have the staff or time to manage comprehensive revenue reviews. But with Localgov, finance teams gain access to a team of dogged revenue-review experts who have clawed back more than $500 million in funds for communities like yours. When it comes to short-term rentals, Localgov can identify under-the-radar short-term rentals, errors in online travel company remittance due to inaccurate data, and multiple other factors.
Offer businesses useful tools that also help your bottom line: Whether your short-term rental hosts are "solopreneurs" with a few units max or big players managing thousands, business owners like tools that save them time, hassle, and money. Localgov’s secure, online registration and payment platform offers consumer-style convenience that lets busy entrepreneurs pay on time, and on their own terms (ACH, credit, or debit). And the benefit to local governments is that you’ll enjoy a smoother flow of cash straight from payer to your bank account, plus take the paper out of the process.
Read our complete guide to short-term rental tax compliance
Anticipate a Travel Boom: Add Localgov to Your Short-Term Management Strategy
As hearts turn more hopeful that life—and travel—will feel more possible within the next year, it’s time to get ready to handle an upswing in demand. Take control of your short-term rental market by securing a partner who really understands the landscape of this burgeoning business section as well as the needs of local governments.
It’s easy to get started with Localgov. Set up a time to speak with our sales team about your community’s specific profile and your department’s needs. We’ll walk you through how we can answer your challenges, and how our distinctive process translates into swift implementation and measurable results. Read our complete guide to short-term rental host tax compliance.
Schedule a demo today. We’re excited to talk.