A new non-profit association is positioning itself to be the
voice of vacation rental owners and managers as they deal with changes and
challenges in their business model.
The Association of Vacation Rental Operators and Affiliates launched
in late March to offer services, discounts and advocacy to the hundreds of
thousands of individual vacation rental property owners and people who manage
those properties on their behalf.
“There’s been a lot of disruption in the vacation rental marketplace,
and as the large OTAs [online travel agencies] have begun to squeeze owners and
managers through the implementation of service fees, through limitations on
communications between guest and owners and other things they have done, there really
has been no voice for owners,” says April Salter, chair of AVROA and owner of seven
“We feel like this association is to give voice to these concerns
and to provide the kinds of services owners and manager need and want.”
The new association is a reorganization of the original
AVROA, which operated as a for-profit listing service for vacation rentals.
Salter says the new AVROA fills a need not addressed by the Vacation
Rental Management Association, which is focused on large, professionally-managed
The association is starting with a focus on education,
offering a series of webinars on topics such as vacation rental business
basics, tax considerations and photography.
Later this year the leadership will begin developing policy
“The key focus for us is speaking out around reasonable
service fees and unfettered communication between owners and guests, because
that is fundamental to a vacation rental experience,” Salter says.
“When people open their homes to strangers they need to be
able to talk to them.” Salter says they are also closely watching Airbnb’s developments,
including opening the platform to hotels.
In addition to services for its members – AVROA currently
has about 130 and is working to get 330 by the end of the year – the association
is certifying listing sites that meet its criteria regarding fees and
communication. Currently it has certified 10 sites including Tripz, New York
Rental by Owner and Houfy.