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  • Sun, January 16, 2022 12:26 PM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    By Debi Hertert, Host2Host Founder and STR host of Oregon Shearwater


    Host2Host Sponsored Meetup featured Radious’s Amina Moreau, and H2H members Anthony Rallo and Becky Burnett.

    Slow Season is a time to take care of issues that hosts haven’t been able to get to during busy times.  Anthony Rallo gave us some great suggestions on projects that will see us operating more smoothly during future busy times:

    1. Deep clean

    2. Have the septic tank emptied (if you have one)

    3. Inventory and replace needed items 

    4. Reapply shower caulk and grout in the bathrooms

    5. Clean/replace furnace filters

    6. Inspect CO2 and smoke detectors for battery replacement

    7. Refresh photos and have seasonal photos taken

    Anthony made 3 points to consider for future reservations:

    1. Take care of maintenance items (as above)

    2. Know the kind of guests we want to attract.  Who is our ideal guest and what can we do to make our listing ‘speak’ to that guest?

    3. Supplement income with platforms like Radious

    Radious is a booking platform like Airbnb, but instead of overnight stays, spaces are being offered as work space during the day to local businesses and employees.  Working remotely takes on a new look as professionals rent meeting and work spaces in hosts’ homes.  

    What do people do when they are not vacationing?  They’re working.

    This is an excellent way for hosts to take advantage of the slower shoulder and winter seasons, and as Radious becomes more popular, it is becoming evident that this is a wonderful way to supplement hosting income, with some spaces earning as much as $300 or $400 per day!

    Becky Burnett talked about her experiences with Radious guests and emphasized that there is literally no downside to renting her daytime office spaces.

    There are 3 types of spaces that business professionals are interested in:

    1. ‘Homey’ style of area that has a comfortable, warm feel.

    2. “Officey’ feeling spaces that offer a more business atmosphere with amenities to enhance professionalism.

    3. Unique listings - such as a remodeled train car, a tiny home or an RV.

    It was also emphasized that if you have outdoor meeting space(s) these would also be in demand.

    Amenities to consider supplying:

    1. HDMI cable

    2. TV (for slide presentations) and a white board

    3. Monitor, wireless keyboard, ring light for Zoom meetings

    4. Fast Wifi

    5. Workspaces and meeting spaces

    6. Water, snacks, coffee

    Amina was very gracious in her comments about her membership in Host2Host and how much our nonprofit hosting community has helped in supporting her through this new venture.  We are all very proud of her successes and look forward to watching Radious grow.

    Host2Host Members can access the video recording on the Host2Host website.

    How to get started with Radious:

    • The Radious team is offering free space reviews over Zoom. Click here to book a time and the Radious team will be happy to assess your space and offer suggestions on how to stand out on the platform.

    • You’re also welcome to create an account and start a listing at http://radious.pro. The Radious team is also offering free listing optimization, where they can help you put together your listing for maximum success. Book a free consultation here.

    • Radious is also offering a free professional photo shoot to its first 100 hosts!

    We are beyond excited to see all the great press, Host2Host member, Amina Moreau is getting for her new start-up: Radious.

    Portland-area Startup Radious Found a Better Place to Work From Home: Someone Else’s Home
    Willamette Week Article By Andi PrewittJanuary 12, 2022

  • Sun, January 02, 2022 4:48 PM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    The Portland STR community lost one of our true pioneers in Sue Carter Low, who passed away in December. 

    In 2013, long before Host2Host was born, Sue and her husband Bob couldn't get a permit for short term rental space, because that type of rental option was not available.  So they went downtown and began meeting with city Council members and got the entire issue put on the council agenda. They held meetings at their beautiful home. Because of Sue and Bob's initiative, Portland became the first city in the US to legalize and tax short term rentals. 

    Bob told me that Sue's tenacity was critical when they started their quest to get the city to address the short term rental issue. Sue was creative and would get hyper focused when she took on an objective, as during her career in education, or initiating and managing the inaugural Laurelhurst home tour. 

    In Bob's words, "she was simply an amazing force of nature who had a good heart and always meant well. Her intentions were always positive, never malicious.  She was enthusiastic and a great storyteller which always had a thread of truth.  She was a connector of people and had maintained long term friendships, some for over 50 yrs. In short I was honored to be her friend, husband and soulmate.  I dearly miss her".

    We will miss Sue as well.  
    Rob Hertert
    Immediate Past President, Host2Host
  • Sun, January 02, 2022 4:34 PM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    Created by Robert Jordan for Host2Host 

    Executive Summary 

    Analysis of hotel and short-term rental lodging tax receipts for the eleven fiscal quarters spanning the beginning of the pandemic (October 2018 through July 2021) reveal that short term rentals, though initially harder hit than hotels, were better able to recover and by the summer of 2020 had increased their relative contribution to the city from about 16% to 28% of total lodging tax receipts. These taxes are used in part to support Travel Portland, the city’s Destination Marketing and Management Organization, but short-term rental taxes are in  addition uniquely directed, in part, to support efforts to alleviate the city’s housing crisis. The pandemic has revealed the relative robustness of the short-term rental portion of the tax base both in support of tourism and in addressing the lack of affordable housing. 

    Introduction 

    Both short-term rentals (STRs) and traditional hotels contribute to city and county finances through taxes placed on their lodging revenue. In Portland for the period covered, these taxes were in the form of a Transient Lodging Tax (TLT), amounting to 11.5% of gross receipts, and an additional 2% Tourism Improvement District (TID) tax, totaling 13.5% (an additional 1.5% state tourism tax is also assessed, but as it is not deductible from the gross receipts prior to  calculating the other taxes, it will be ignored in this analysis). Of the TLT, 5.5% goes to Multnomah County, and 6% to the City of Portland (which collects the tax on behalf of both city and county). For the purposes of this analysis, any business reporting on the city’s form TLMR  STR is a short-term rental, and any business reporting on form TLMR or TLQR is a hotel (or  motel). City officials have provided us with tax receipt data for both types of lodging starting in  September 2018 (when an additional $4 per night flat fee per booking was assessed against  short-term rentals only1) through July 2021, as shown in Appendix A. Unless otherwise stated,  all analyses in this study stem from these figures.  

    1 City Council justified the $4 nightly fee per booking levied against short-term rentals but not hotels as it was felt that this type of use had a negative impact on the availability of long-term housing in the city. The entirety of the  receipts from this fee was therefore dedicated to the city Housing Investment Fund for use in combating the lack of affordable housing.

    Taxes paid by hotels and by short-term rentals 

    Because hotels have the option of reporting quarterly, both hotel and STR tax receipts have been converted to quarterly figures for analysis. The resulting numbers for the eleven fiscal  quarters covered appear in Table 1. STR tax here includes the $4 per night fee which hotels do not pay. 


    There are two items of note in this table, the first of which is the extreme drop in tax revenue  from STRs in Q2 of 2020. Not only did many STR hosts shut down operations as the lockdowns  began, but there was an avalanche of guest cancellations (the booking platforms forgave most  cancellation penalties). Notwithstanding the initial collapse of STR revenues, the second item of note is the remarkable increase in the percentage of their contribution to total tax revenue  starting in Q3 of 2020 when compared to pre-pandemic levels (climbing from approximately  16% to 28% of total revenue). The conclusion that can be drawn from these figures is that as the industry adjusted to the pandemic, after only a short adjustment period STRs were better able to adapt than were the hotels, and their relative contribution to (the diminished) tax receipts rose accordingly. It is too soon to predict whether or not this changed ratio will revert  to pre-pandemic levels at some point, but it is worth noting that in the most recent quarter the STR contribution has already nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels even as the hotels are  still struggling.

    STR contribution to the Housing Investment Fund 

    Of the TLT paid by both hotels and STRs during this time period, 6% of gross revenues goes into  the City’s coffers. In both cases 1% is dedicated to fund Travel Portland, but only in the case of  the STRs is the other 5% earmarked: all of it is paid into the city’s Housing Investment Fund.  Table 2 provides the quarterly figures for the STR contribution to this fund both from the $4 fee  and the earmarked portion of the tax paid to the city. 

    Justly or unjustly, STRs have been blamed for contributing to the housing crisis in Portland and  across the country by encouraging the conversion of long-term rental properties to short-term uses. Although the requirement in Portland that all hosts live on premises is probably the greatest mitigating factor in dealing with this issue, the nearly $5 million provided annually by these taxes is also very significant in that it supports the creation of affordable housing in the city. Housing Investment Fund officials have pointed out that unlike much of the housing funding, these funds are unrestricted, further enhancing their usefulness.

    STR contribution to Travel Portland 

    Travel Portland is funded in part by its 1% portion of the TLT paid to the city, and in part by a special 2% TID (Tourism Improvement District) tax (increased to 3% in July 2021, after the period covered by this analysis). Both hotels and STRs pay this tax. Table 3 shows both the TID and the Travel Portland share of TLT tax paid, by quarter, to the city and county. The column for  STRs does NOT include the $4 fee, which goes entirely to address housing issues. For both  hotels and STRs, the gross receipts figures have been back-calculated from the tax receipts.

    This table tells the same story as Table 1, muted by the fact that none of the $4 nightly fee goes to Travel Portland. After the lockdown figure for Q2 of 2020, STRs’ relative contribution to Travel Portland increases once the pandemic begins in earnest. Travel Portland’s website states that 63% of its operating budget comes from these city taxes (this figure based on pre pandemic conditions). As is also evident on the previous two tables, by the second quarter of  2021 STR income has recovered from the effects of the pandemic.

    Conclusions 

    It is important to remember that all the figures for STRs in this analysis are derived from data on Form TLMR STR, and that there are businesses that report on this form that fall outside the common conception of an “Airbnb”. Nonetheless, it is clear from the tax data that Portland’s  STR community, though originally suffering a more severe decline in revenue than did hotels,  was able to more quickly recover and by the time of this writing (October 2021) had essentially made up all the ground lost to the pandemic, whereas hotel revenues remained at barely half their pre-pandemic level. Because of normal seasonal swings in tourism from a high in the summer to a low level in the winter, it is important to compare like quarters when examining these data, but we might speculate that STRs as a group are less reliant on tourists than are  hotels, with more of their guests traveling to Portland for family visits, to explore relocation, or for business. Hotels have suffered especially from the extreme loss in convention business, a segment of the market generally less interested in STR type accommodations. Individual STR hosts are nimbler than hotel management can be, able to both cease and restart operations quickly. For the recipients of lodging taxes, specifically Travel Portland and the Housing  Investment Fund, the presence of a healthy short-term rental segment has provided a valuable cushion against the shock of revenue lost to the pandemic.

  • Sun, January 02, 2022 2:35 PM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    Presented by Shannon Hiller-Webb, Host2Host representative on the Travel Portland Board at Host2Host’s Annual Members Meeting – Nov 17, 2021

    Let me start by stating that it has been a privilege to serve as your Host2Host representative to the Travel Portland board of directors. For those of you who may not know, we earned the Travel Portland board seat through our testimony to City Council in 2018 about being a voiceless part of our industry as decisions were being made that impacted us. The criticism that had been levied vilified our portion of the travel industry. In reality, the blame often belonged to the platforms and bad actors and did not reflect good hosts who support local businesses, create meaningful experiences for travelers and allow many hosts to invest in their homes and age in place.. We found much about our sharing community was largely unknown. City Council agreed and advocated 2 new board positions from our industry be created at Travel Portland - one for platforms and one for hosts. 

    A collage of people Description automatically generated with medium confidenceMy time on the Travel Portland board has allowed me to inform travel industry leaders and decision makers about our slice of the travel pie - Short Term Rentals. Travel Portland exists to attract conferences, promote the uniqueness of our city that drives demand for heads in beds in overnight stays and supports the local economy. Travel Portland also intersects with major travel organizations, political stakeholders and political decision makers, locally and internationally. 

    Text Description automatically generated with medium confidenceTravel Portland experienced their most difficult years in recent history given the COVID pandemic. Travel Portland very early on determined to take proactive measures to preserve savings and conserve the limited income, as most of their funding comes from taxation to travelers staying at hotels and short-term rentals. They did so by laying off 34% of their staff, canceling media contracts, advertising campaigns, postponing programming and renegotiating infrastructure costs. That time was used in large part to aid coordination of Top Chef, recognizing that investment would launch later in the pandemic and put Portland in the limelight highlighting some of what is best about our city - food and people to inspire travel here. 

    Website Description automatically generatedLeading into summer, Airbnb & Travel Portland launched the first of its kind $25k Promotional Collaboration. Airbnb engaged key feeder markets like San Francisco and LA with several e-newsletter emails, paid social media and PR highlighting seven Portland Neighborhoods in a “Cool Portland Neighborhood Guide”. With an average 7.4% open rate, it was the best performing Airbnb email campaign in North America and provided a lift in local bookings. We are encouraging more collaborations between Airbnb and Travel Portland as an investment in our success. 

    The resiliency of short-term rentals in this pandemic has revealed to Travel Portland the importance of the funds we generate to support their staffing and marketing. While 18 hotels closed in Portland for months last year, short-term rentals remained open and thriving, giving travelers confidence to travel with a sense of safety, privacy and sanitation. This has been noted several times by Travel Portland CEO, Jeff Miller to the board of directors and City Council reinforcing our financial contribution as important. 

    Diagram Description automatically generatedTravel Portland is working with the City of Portland to encourage investments in addressing houseless issues and cleaning up the city to welcome guests back. Funds generated from short term rental taxes have contributed nearly $5 million a year to the Housing Fund, confirming we are part of the solution. 

    While my main role continues to be building relationships, education and advocacy, I am also focused on expanding STR representation on the Travel Portland board and committees so that we can have more proportionate representation. 

    I regularly attend meetings with public officials and have been expanding our relationship with City Council Commissioner, Mingus Mapps who is a former Airbnb host and someone we hope can advocate from the dais on our behalf when issues we care about are raised. 

    We don’t know of another  organization like Host2Host in the nation who has a seat at the table with their Travel Portland equivalent. We hope that by modeling the work, others will follow to give hosts a voice as responsible contributors to the travel industry and the prosperity of their cities. 

    Your support as members of this organization makes certain hosts are recognized, validated, listened to, and acted on behalf of. You should feel proud to be a part of Host2Host. And we look forward to having you stay connected. 

  • Tue, December 28, 2021 12:41 PM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    A great time was had at Host2Host's first virtual fun(d) raising party on December 15, 2021. Thank you to our participants who helped Host2Host raise nearly $3,500!

    And thank you to our donors who so generously supplied a wonderful array of goodies for our raffle and auction: 

                                                                              

                                  

  • Mon, November 22, 2021 11:30 AM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    Submitted by Carol Wise, host of  Marguerite's Cottage Multnomah Village Portland OR 

    Our panel of tax experts shared their knowledge of Short-Term Rental (STR) tax preparation and recommendations with us.

    We were joined by:

    Some highlights of our discussion included:

    • Understanding the level of complexity of your own situation.  An individual owner with a single STR can leverage simple processes, tools and professional expertise. Most use Schedule E. A partnership or corporation with multiple properties may require more thought and professional expertise to understand and prepare their taxes. And for some Schedule C works best.
    • Regardless of complexity, it’s critical to establish a process to collect and maintain documentation throughout the year and well before it’s time to do your taxes.  Our panelists shared their recommendation on processes, software tools and a variety of options for professional support to establish a process that works. Quickbooks, Wave and a simple spreadsheet were discussed. Tax Preparers can generally adapt to your process, but it's a good idea to ask your preparer early on.
    • Understand current and changing municipal, state and federal tax laws is critical to best prepare and understand the impact of day-to-day and strategic decisions related to your STR business. Talk with a tax preparer to ensure you understand these changes and are taking advantage of all the business deductions allowed.

    Our panelists shared their insights during robust Q&A about a wide ranging subjects.  

    Host2Host members can view the meetup recording (along with other material shared at the meetup) here.

  • Mon, November 22, 2021 10:33 AM | Anonymous

    Submitted by Kristine Batra, host of South Tabor Stay in Portland.

    Currently, Portland’s Accessory Short-Term Rental (ASTR) registry lists a total of 2,197 type A permits and 92 type B permits. To assist in boosting short-term rental revenue and occupancy, AirDNA sponsored a Host2Host event to provide a demonstration of their products.

    As hosts, we look at comparable rates and booking trends to help set our nightly fees. The presentation from Ryan Young and Dillon DuBois (of AirDNA) helped to explain the inner workings of their service and algorithm, MarketMinder, which they stated ensures a 96.1% accuracy.

    Hosts can register with their site for free, to review general insights or to use their Rentalizer tool, which compares up to 100 comps. A subscription would provide greater access to market guide, average daily rate, occupancy rate, revenue, customer support, and much more.

    Their MarketMinder also provides 3 years of historical data for comparables. Their standard pricing is based solely on market size, ranging from $19.95 (less than 100 active listings), $39.95/mo (100-1000 active listings) and $99.95 (1,000+ active listings).

    This was a great presentation on the functionality of AirDNA and they are offered a 10% discount through 10/30/2021 to Host2Host members.

    Users can choose an annual paid subscription or month-to-month. For me, this tool has greater appeal to multi-site hosts, tourism, and large enterprises, as it seems there is a focus on specific host sites more than others and cleaning fees are not part of their data collection. I would encourage fellow hosts to go to their site and try their free features.

    Host2Host members can view the meetup recording here.

  • Fri, October 22, 2021 4:40 PM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    Here is a great little Travel Portland video to share with guests (and yourself) when visiting the Mississippi Neighborhood in North Portland. Enjoy!

    #TravelPortland #MississippiNeighborhood

  • Wed, October 06, 2021 8:16 AM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    Submitted by Ann Kopel, Host2Host Charter Member and host of  Hawthorne/Belmont Retreat

    The Oregonian (9/29/21) reported that 180 refugees are expected to arrive in Oregon in the next few months, and Host2Host invited Katrina Boratko of Airbnb to educate us about ways that hosts can help.

    Katrina shared that since 2015, Airbnb and Airbnb.org (their 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm) have helped 25,000 refugee and asylum-seeker guests worldwide by working with non-profit organizations globally to provide housing and unrestricted grants. Airbnb hosts can help by hosting for free, at a discount, or by donating to Airbnb.org to cover the cost of stays. She said that Airbnb is committed to covering the cost of 20,000 stays worldwide during this crisis, but donations to Airbnb.org can help cover even more. Of course, Airbnb waives all service fees for these stays. 

    To host, you need to be a current host on Airbnb and offer a private space. Refugee guests will be arranged in advance and come with a case worker who will help with orientation and arrange for next steps at the end of the stay. Refugee stays will show up on your calendar and regular paying guests can still book your free dates. Refugee stays average a family of four and range from a few days to a few weeks with an average stay of 7-14 days.

    Opt in using your existing listing or sign up as a refugee only host on Airbnb.org/refugees. You can also register directly with one of Airbnb's 3 nonprofit partners. They are:

    The second part of the program covered a few of the more than 100 updates to the Airbnb website. It was presented by engineer Rakesh Soni and Airbnb product representative, Collin Ronan.

    They recommended especially that everyone revisit the amenities section of their listing because there are quite a few new options and some are quite detailed. For example, you can now list the kind of soap and shampoo provided and whether you have a Keurig coffee maker, to name only a couple.

    There is also an option under your WIFI amenity to photograph Airbnb's speed check of your system which you can choose to post on your listing (or not). They point out that suggestions are offered for ways to update your listing every time you log on.

    Host2Host members can view the meetup recording here (along with other material shared at the meetup).

  • Wed, October 06, 2021 7:19 AM | Jill Palamountain (Administrator)

    Submitted by Susan Lawson, Host2Host Member and host of Retreat in the Heart of Vancouver/Portland area

    Hosts gathered for a peer to peer discussion of Airbnb's recent 103 platform changes.

    David Boe and Pamela Jeanne moderated. After a brief introduction, we broke into small groups to discuss concerns, questions, likes and dislikes about these changes. Then reconvened with the entire group to share our small group findings. Here is a summary:  

    CONCERNS:

    • Some host’s settings like pricing, cancellation, same day reservations were changed with updates
    • Guests have a lot more questions to answer in their review of a host. Hosts do not know what these are and cannot respond to erroneous answers.

    LIKES:

    • "Today" tab summarizing all bookings for all listings
    • Link from Airbnb for a internet speed test you can add to your listing
    • Being able to send scheduled messages to guests
    • Ability to add video for Experience Stays

    SUGGESTIONS:

    • Pets listed as an option (like infant) for pet friendly places  
    • Tightening up on geographic areas in search. If someone puts in a specific city those listings should be shown first. I.e. If one searches Beaverton many Portland listings are shown at the top of the list.
    • Filtering age of person. Seems like rules about minimum guest age i.e 25 years old for whole house rental is ignored. 
    • Key words that host could add to listing and guests could filter to find. For example: urban, residential, near bus.

    GENERAL COMPLAINTS:

    • Airbnb overriding host’s cancellation policy
    • Difficult customer service experiences - 100% to 0% positive. Many agents are reading from a script and do not deviate from it for real help.
    • Need better resolution strategies for damages
    • Guests need to be educated about review process

    Pamela Jeanne talked about Hosting Tips that were helpful in updates.

    David Boe talked about how to use the new Schedule Messaging features where you can automatically have messages sent with a new booking, check-in guide and welcome, wifi info etc. David created a 7 minute video that is available on Host2host.

    Host2Host members can view the meetup recording here (along with David Boe's video on scheduled messaging).

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