Tag: Rentals

Cathedral City voters to decide fate of short-term vacation rentals in March special election

The Cathedral City Council on Wednesday night unanimously agreed to allow voters to decide whether to phase out short-term vacation rentals, teeing up a heated debate before a special election occurs on March 2.

a truck that has a sign on the side of a mountain: Cathedral City is the second most populous city in the Coachella Valley.

© Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun
Cathedral City is the second most populous city in the Coachella Valley.

Faced with the decision of repealing a previously passed ordinance to phase-out rentals or calling for a referendum, the council went with the latter, citing the quality of life issues raised by many residents and strong opinions on either side.

“We’re divided here,” Councilmember Mark Carnavale said. “This has to go to the voters for their opinion.”

A working-class community with around 54,000 residents, Cathedral City had around 400 short-term vacation rentals this year before the council passed an ordinance to eliminate them in all neighborhoods but homeowners associations. Their presence has caused significant debate including a lengthy task force report, a moratorium on new rentals, and hundreds of comments from residents on either side of the debate. 

Through the referendum, voters will decide whether the city should stick with the council’s September decision to undo its existing regulations and phase out short-term rentals by 2023, or overturn those policies. 

After the September vote, supporters of short-term rentals organized as Share Cathedral City embarked on a signature-gathering campaign to overturn the ban. The group is an offshoot of another group called I Love Cathedral City that sprung up earlier this year to support vacation rentals, and both argued that Cathedral City didn’t properly enforce its original short-term rental ordinance before making the decision to ban them.

They gathered 4,304 signatures, and 3,515 were verified by the county registrar of voters as of November 24. That meets the threshold of more than 10% of the city’s registered voters to trigger a referendum on whether to overturn the ordinance.

a sign on a dirt road: A sign with a slogan in favor of banning short term rentals sits in the front yard of a home in Cathedral City, Calif. on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

© Vickie Connor/The Desert Sun
A sign with a slogan in favor of banning short term rentals sits in the front yard of a home in Cathedral City, Calif. on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

Past coverage: Cathedral City votes to phase out short-term rentals by 2023

Past coverage: Cathedral City group opposed to short-term rental ban submits petition

Because the group gathered enough signatures, the council could’ve voted to repeal the ordinance or put it to the voters. In casting his vote in support of the referendum, Mayor John Aguilar said he has concluded that short-term vacations are “disruptive to our neighborhoods and a bad idea.”

Before Wednesday’s vote, roughly 40 people spoke during a two-hour-long public hearing on what has become one of the most controversial issues for Cathedral City in recent memory.

Residents on both sides of the debate urged the council to take their side by citing the cost to taxpayers of hosting a special election. The Riverside County Registrar of Voters estimates it will cost be between $75,000 and $85,000, according to Cathedral City documents. 

A heated debate

When the city decided to phase out short-term rentals by

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Vrbo family travel trends and popular vacation rentals for 2021

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  • Due to COVID-19, domestic destinations and private vacation rentals in nature have seen big spikes as travelers prioritize safety and isolation.
  • Expect these trends to continue into 2021, especially for families, according to Vrbo’s new travel trend report. 
  • The report is based on a survey of over 8,000 people, as well as Vrbo travel demand over a 12-month period.
  • We break down the top four family travel trends from the report’s findings below, plus highlight top-rated Vrbos to book. 

The travel trends triggered by the pandemic this year show little sign of slowing down as the new year approaches. As travelers continue to prize safety above all else, family travelers especially are seeking lodging in private homes (doctors consider these low risk for virus transmission) in drivable, domestic destinations.

The vacation rental platform Vrbo announced its 2021 Travel Trend Report, which identifies some more specifics surrounding where, why, and how families will likely target their travel in the coming year amid the ongoing pandemic. The report compiled data from a survey of over 8,000 people, as well as taking into account Vrbo travel demand from families over a 12-month period.

According to the report’s findings, 82% of families are already making plans for 2021. They’re likely to put a continued emphasis on road trips, and hybrid work-leisure trips. In terms of lodging styles and locales, visitors are seeking cozy cabins, as well as homes in natural settings close to lakes, rivers and streams. And overall, families say they plan to go big whenever it’s safe, with most planning to take a trip to a domestic bucket-list destination whenever conditions support doing so.

And, the trends also highlight that families are considering mental health along with physical health and safety. In fact, 22% of travelers surveyed said a vacation would improve mental health and act as self-care. 

“It’s so great to see how these trends are tied to mental health because for so long, we’ve kind of ignored mental health. And it’s so important, especially now,” pediatric psychologist and parenting coach Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, explained in a Vrbo news release. “Neurologically, our brain doesn’t like monotony because we lose our motivation. We become exhausted, agitated and irritable when it’s too much of the same stuff, so changing your environment is important.”

Dr. Lockhart also notes that “any change of scenery makes a difference that can help support families and kids, and their mental health.”

To highlight some of the best rental options in keeping with Vrbo’s family travel trends, we selected listings with the following characteristics: 

  1. All listings are for entire private homes with plenty of space for families and multiple bedrooms.
  2. All are highly rated with near-perfect ratings, and a minimum average score of 4.9 out of 5.
  3. Our picks are right for a range of budgets. Average nightly rates range from just $80 to $500 per night to start.

It’s important to keep

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The Growth And Challenges Of Vacation Rentals In The Age Of Covid

The prevailing themes for the travel industry in 2020 has been, and will end up being, safety, survival, and recovery. For so many in the industry, the coronavirus has spelled doom and disaster, both for its widespread human cost and for its damage to the foundation of tourism. For some, the product they offer actually fits into the aforementioned themes.

Airbnb for instance, by virtue of its service, kept the guest a little bit safer by adding a personal touch to the stay – complemented by hand sanitizer, of course. As travel restrictions tightened, the flexibility of Airbnb also added some ease to the nerves of the local traveler. Rounding out the benefits, Airbnb put a generous foot forward by relaxing its refund policies, despite suffering losses of approximately 50% of its total revenue.

Moreover, Airbnb has been growing in popularity since its inception in 2008. The brainchild of Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia, Airbnb evolved from an idea to a 31 billion dollar company. They had planned on seeing the company traded publicly on the Stock Market, but the coronavirus dampened those plans, temporarily. In fact, Airbnb has already filed their IPO (initial public offering), sticking to their plans of trying to make it public in 2020.

For travelers, especially during this tenuous era where the very air and unclean surfaces can lead to hospitalization or worse, the individualized attention one might find renting from an Airbnb-type property rather than a monstrous hotel brand can bring some solace to travelers of every level of germaphobe. Besides the cleanliness factor, vacation rentals often give the traveler more space for less money overall. In addition, the vacation rentals often offer kitchens and washer/dryers, and although one might not want to cook or do laundry while on vacation, the convenience factor is substantial. Finally, in a world where high speed wifi is as important as hot water and indoor plumbing, vacation rentals frequently have stronger and more reliable wifi.

On the flipside, if one owns an Airbnb, the profits can be sizable. According to priceonomics.com, the average monthly income from an Airbnb property is $924. However, some owners are moving away from the traditional Airbnb format and branching out a bit more on their own. Owners who wish to remain part of a huge network might try booking.com, which charges 15% commission on rentals, or perhaps homeaway.com, which has a yearly or a per-booking fee. Flipkey.com allows owners to rent out any type of accommodation from castles to houseboats, offers free listing and charges only 3% commission. 

However, when the time comes

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Themed Vacation Rentals: Turning a Property Into an Experience

Differentiation is a key pillar of any short-term rental business. With the rise in Airbnb and vacation rentals, we’re seeing more supply come online. Despite the short-term negative consequences of the pandemic on the industry, this real estate asset class bounced back nicely, thanks to a dramatic rise in domestic travel.

With mass vaccination imminent, many Airbnb and short-term rental managers are starting to think more strategically about their business and properties. For those looking to pivot, turning your Airbnb into a themed rental may be a good differentiation opportunity.

Indeed, Airbnb is all about experiences; tours, classes, hikes, and the list goes on. But with the onset of the pandemic, many had to rethink and retool their offerings. Something to consider: What if you could use a theme to make the property itself feel like an experience? Let’s take a closer look at the Airbnb themed trend and if it’s worth considering for investors.

Airbnb themed rentals: The blueprint

You’re limited only by your own creativity when it comes to applying themes to your Airbnb rentals. Many managers use their local setting to influence how they theme their rentals. For instance, in New Orleans, you may have a Mardi Gras-themed rental. Or, in a rental near Disney, you’ll find more princess- and superhero-themed rentals.

The idea is to pick a theme with some underlying meaning based on your neighborhood, city, or country that will draw guests to rent your unit. If you’re renting out a cabin or boathouse, for example, you may want to theme your unit around nature or something nautical to be consistent with the locale.

Keeping this in mind, here are the steps to consider when thinking about adding a theme to your Airbnb rentals.

Step 1: Pick your theme

Carefully consider where your rental is located and what themes may appeal to guests traveling to your location. Do you live near a beach? A ski hill? Or city attractions like a famous museum, gallery, or historical site? All these can factor into the type of theme you pick for your rental.

Step 2: Decorate

You’ll then need to intertwine your chosen theme into all that’s visible on your property. The furniture, art, accessories, kitchenware, and so on can all serve to reinforce the theme you’ve chosen. For instance, if you’re near a famous historical site, you may want to incorporate furniture from that time period, as well as period art and decorations.

Step 3: Online branding and marketing

After you’ve decided on your theme and decorated your rental, it’s time to start marketing your property. You’ll want to capture the essence of your themed Airbnb rental with pictures, videos, and a story as to why you’ve chosen this theme. Your marketing can even factor into the chosen theme, describing your rental through storytelling.

Airbnb themed rentals: Examples

Need some inspiration for your Airbnb themed rentals? Consider some of the following real-world examples to get the creative juices flowing.

  • Bubble House, California
  • Wonder Haus, Colorado
  • Riverboat,
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Vacation rentals for people who don’t want to share a house

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

The property is both kid- and pet-friendly, and has plenty to keep both entertained, including a large screened pavilion, shown above, a swimming pool, and plenty of nature to explore.

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

Amenities include multiple grills, picnic tables, and seating areas, hammocks for peaceful lounging, and a hot tub.

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

Other amenities include multiple fire pits, fountains, a grilling area, and a large pool and spa.

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

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Airbnb IPO And The Impact Of Emerging Trends In Short-Term Vacation Rentals

Despite being battered by the pandemic, short-term rentals on vacation homes have surged. While traditional hotels and vacation clubs seem to struggle to keep their doors open, companies such as Airbnb, Luxury Retreats, and HouseTrip are receiving more interest and bookings. Sparse finances mean fewer people travel overseas for vacation and choose instead to stay within their local environment. The health implications of staying in public spaces such as hotels and cruises have also made people evaluate their vacation plans.

The global pandemic has led to the emergence of new trends among travelers seeking vacation experiences. A study conducted in September by Airbnb, which sampled over a thousand American citizens, found that these respondents were changing their vacation plans for the newly adopted pandemic lifestyle.

After a series of postponements, the online vacation rental company finally has its IPO in December. Airbnb intends to raise $30bn through a SPAC – a special acquisition company when it debuts on the New York Stock Exchange in December. The company has an approximate $85 million market cap today, which is an estimation of the total value of shares of the company.

Airbnb’s move is bold, considering that the pandemic has seriously battered the hospitality and travel sectors, the vacation rental industry’s leading drivers. The company’s listing is one of the year’s most anticipated IPOs.

The company’s decision to go public has been bolstered by the noted survey trends which have been forecasted by industry experts, offering positive insight into demand trends emerging in the vacation rentals sector post-pandemic:

Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The surge in holiday bookings and vacation rentals

Prior to the pandemic, the timeshare industry saw its 10th straight year of growth with a 7% sales increase totaling $12.5 billion; This year travel has seen a decline of nearly 34%. While the pandemic has hindered traveling and tourism, it has not dampened holiday travelers’ enthusiasm. There has been a surge in holiday bookings between April and June, seeing approximately 32% weekly growth. Most people still want to get out and see the world, but how they do it has changed. Cruise lines such as Carnival and Norwegian Cruise announced record-breaking bookings, which, following the lifting of restrictions in more countries, has been uplifting for the sector (This is besides customers who had their bookings rescheduled to next summer). These companies’ positive news implies that travel and leisure companies may witness a record turn out next year post-vaccine distribution.

Remote working

With the acceleration of remote working, many people are now favoring short-term vacation commitments over yearlong leases and rent. Findings from a survey on short-term rentals discovered that a growing number of remote workers are extending their stays on online rental platforms such as Airbnb.

These customers consider moving to another city but want to experience the ins and outs before committing. Others stay in specific destinations for a short period before moving to the next. Whatever may be the case, the rise of remote working has

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Honolulu deals with Airbnb, Expedia will help ID illegal rentals


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill on Tuesday that will enact some of the strictest vacation rental laws Hawaii has seen in more than 40 years.

Time Travel & Leisure

HONOLULU — Airbnb and Expedia Group have agreed to provide Honolulu with information that will help the city enforce its laws governing vacation rentals, the companies and the city said Tuesday.

Hosts will have to provide the “tax map key” property identification number issued by the state of Hawaii when they list a rental on the vacation rental websites. The hosts will also have to provide a Transient Accommodations Tax identification number for the property.

The public will be able to see these numbers on the listings.

Listings lacking these numbers numbers will be removed from the websites.

Honolulu authorities have long struggled to enforce the city’s vacation rental laws, as it’s difficult to prove in court when someone is illegally renting a property on a short-term basis.

This summer: Hawaii struggles to enforce vacation rental quarantines

Honolulu has about 800 legal vacation rental and bed-and-breakfast units. But studies have estimated the city has had about 10 times as many illegal ones.

“We know there are bad actors out there, and this will help us crack down on them. While this is not a panacea, it’s a step forward,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement.

Airbnb and Expedia signed separate agreements with Kauai County earlier this year.


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Airbnb and Expedia agree to help Honolulu crack down on illegal vacation rentals

The city has reached an agreement with Airbnb and Expedia Group on the enforcement of short-term vacation rentals, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the two online platform giants announced today.

The agreement is expected to make it easier for the city to track and regulate vacation rentals and ensure operators are properly taxed.

“We’re going to be able to address problems that have never addressed before,” Caldwell said at a video press conference this afternoon.

Under the agreement, Airbnb and VRBO, an Expedia subsidiary, will provide the city Department of Planning and Permitting with monthly reports detailing information about the operators advertising on their platforms, allowing the agency to more easily verify if a rental is permitted.

The information to be disclosed would include Tax Map Key and Transient Accommodations Tax numbers for each property. If found to be unpermitted, the two companies have agreed to take the ads down.Agreeing to allow ads to be removed “permanently” is a feature unique to Oahu, Caldwell said. In other jurisdictions, “you have to go back and keep scrubbing the lists every so often,” he said.

Kauai County reached a similar agreement with the two companies during the summer. That agreement, however, does not include a permanent removal provision.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Brad Saito, the city’s lead attorney on the vacation rentals issue, said the companies have also agreed to provide education to their advertisers “about what is and what is not allowed in the City and County of Honolulu.”

Max Sword, Expedia’s Hawaii policy advisor, said the agreement “will help the responsible, short-term rental owners and the City and County of Honolulu.” Short-term rentals work well during the pandemic because it allows for better social distancing, he said.

The agreement is beneficial to both operators, who want fair and clearly defined rules, as well as “neighborhoods around Oahu who want to see clear guardrails around the use of vacation rentals in their community,” said Matt Middlebrook, Airbnb Hawaii policy manager.

After years of debate, the Honolulu City Council in 2018 adopted a new ordinance cracking down on illegal vacation rentals.

Under the plan, the city was supposed to allow up to 1,700 new permits for bed and breakfast operations across the island starting Oct 1. But in September, the Council adopted Bill 50 pushing the start-up date to no earlier than April 30.

Saito said DPP is in the process of drafting rules which it hopes to take out for public hearing during the first quarter of next year.

Since the new law has been in place, the city has issued 181 violation notices, Saito said.

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City teams up with Airbnb, Vrbo to crack down on illegal vacation rentals

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – The city is teaming up with Airbnb and Expedia, the parent company of Vrbo, to crack down on illegal vacation rentals on Oahu.

a house with a city in the background: HNN File

© Provided by Honolulu KHNL
HNN File

A new memorandum of agreement is aimed at tracking and regulating Oahu vacation rentals, including by ensuring legal rentals are properly taxed and illegal rentals are shut down.

“We know there are bad actors out there, and this will help us crack down on them. While this is not a panacea, it’s a step forward,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

“For our residents who depend on this income, we want to provide an avenue for people to list their rentals in a legal, and transparent manner.”

Under the MOU, the two platforms will provide detailed information on listings so the city can ensure they’re legal. There will also be changes made to listings to make sure they’re properly taxed.

The changes come as Oahu is slowly beginning to see tourism ramp up with the state’s pre-travel testing program, which allows incoming travelers who test negative for COVID-19 to skip quarantine.

Vacation rentals were not allowed to operate on Oahu until the island moved into Tier 2 of its reopening strategy. In October, Oahu vacation rentals had an occupancy rate of 27%.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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This App Puts A New Spin On Vacation Rentals

In challenging times, an extra obstacle can seem exponentially burdensome. Every traveler is dealing with the restrictions caused by the response to the Coronavirus, but for additionally marginalized groups or even those travelers who make personal security a priority, comfortable and safe travel takes on a new meaning. 

The Airbnb phenomenon saw much of its popularity grow because it gave the appearance of being superior to the traditional hotel. Airbnb properties generally offered more space, better amenities and more local information. However, there are some common problems that have caused a drop in Airbnb popularity, namely illegal rentals, untrustworthy hosts, false advertising and last minute cancellations. In fairness, Covid-19 has taken the biggest bite out of nearly every aspect of the travel industry.

At times like these, where concerns for safety are larger than what can be contained in a bottle of hand sanitizer, the reassurance of friends, or even friends of friends, can be more important than a concierge with an electronic thermometer. Enter myfriendlyhost.com, a new travel app that helps travelers looking for safe vacation rentals. The service is unique as it has become a partner of Facebook, and uses the capabilities of the network to provide safe accommodation for rent from friends. In contrast with Airbnb, in which the traveler nearly always rents from strangers, myfriendlyhost.com creates a network where travelers can rent from “friends.”

The associated app allows users to see if they’re connected through friends to the service providers. This gives a feeling of security, as those providers are already in a safe circle of friends. With no booking fees, no intermediaries, and only direct communication (the app resembles Instagram), the traveler can see a list of both friends and mutual friends who might be a property host. 

On the flipside, the service provider, who is often a property owner disillusioned by Airbnb and its anti-owner policies (such as taking high commissions) has turned to alternatives such as booking.com and flipkey.com. Though myfriendlyhost.com is a safe alternative to Airbnb, it also boasts that it is more B2B than strictly B2C since the property owner also has concerns regarding safety and property liability. Renting to people within a friendly network is simply good for business.

The list of stakeholders behind this concept begins with the investors from startaventures.com, whose website states, “the only way to go big is to go global.” The inequity addressed by this venture is indeed on a global scale. Ironically, though the concept is global, it all began with two brothers, Victor and Sergej Semeniaka.

The app idea

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