Prior to the end of the last century most people would not have thought of renting their personal home to complete strangers, but many people have been doing it for decades in high tourist traffic areas such as sunny ocean towns and sparking white ski resort areas. These early entrepreneurs mainly used real estate offices or property managers to bring in customers.
However, in the early 2000's websites began popping up catering to homeowners and people seeking houses in specific areas. HomeAway was started in 2004 and over the course of a few years purchased many short term rental websites around the world and consolidated the listings under two main websites- Homeaway.com and VRBO.com. Aggregately HomeAway was able build their inventory of house listings to over 2 million homes. Almost every website focused on renting entire homes for owners who would ot be present at the time of the rental.
In 2008 a start-up company called Airbnb began advertising listings for bedrooms in private homes. At first the fledgling company had a difficult time obtaining funding to get their business started due to many leery investors who were scared of the safety and security issues involved in bringing complete strangers into people's private homes. However, as the company gained a track record of thousands of rentals without incident they began obtaining the financing necessary to grow the business and are now one of the top vacation home websites in the world and valued at over $1 billion. Despite their growth, Airbnb still caters to homeowners desiring to rent bedrooms in their homes or rent their personal home.
Today, there are several sites on which a person can list their home or room for rent and the short term rental movement has become extremely popular. Airbnb states that they facilitate the renting of over a million rooms each night.
The popularity has come at a price, however. The hotel industry has taken a major hit and states that private short term rentals are severely hurting it's profit margins. The Hotel Association has garnered sympathy and support from city councils and state legislators across the country by focusing on the perceived ills of short term rentals. They have funded anti-capitalists and lawmakers who believe in regulating businesses and convinced them to pass rules, regulations and laws to protect the hotelier's fiefdoms and make it onerous or completely illegal for people to determine how to use their own property. In 2017 the hotel association allocated millions of dollars to fight short term rental's popularity and to continue to have the movement outlawed.
The survival of private individuals renting their own homes or bedrooms will continue to be a hot button issue for the next several years. Typically in this type of fight, the people with the most money win as they buy-off law makers by supporting their causes and elections and waging public relations campaigns. In the end, it's the little guy who usually loses and loses out. But until that day arrives, let's rent our rooms, rent our homes and make some money while we can!
Want to start your own vacation home rental business? Contacting us would be a good place to start!