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  • Wed, December 28, 2022 1:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Nancy Stevens, Meetup Committee Member and Host in NW Portland

    Nancy StevensWhat a great time at the Host2Host Fun(d) Raiser to celebrate the close of 2022 and welcome the new year! We had an amazing array of items, valued at over $8,000 – available as raffle or auction items – everything from gift cards, food, tours, and, of course, vacation rental listings from Oregon to Florida! In the end, there were more than 30 very happy winners!

    event participantsHoliday greetings were shared in at least six different languages, and guests learned about holiday drinks such as rumchata and Christmas noggin. 

    The biggest challenge seemed to be extending time for the purchase of raffle tickets. But, eventually, Santa brought a much-desired extension, so everyone was able to make the purchases they wanted. 

    presentsWhile the RallyUp platform required a certain amount of flexibility, by the end of the evening, around $3,500 was raised and a good time was had by all. A few of the big winners were: Heather Goldberg who won three raffle items and two auction items. Diana Gladden, new Host2Host Board Member won a 2-night stay at Whispering Woods in Mt. Hood, graciously donated by fellow Board Member Laura Angyus. Then, we were all happily surprised to receive a special gift for everyone on the call – Alanna Schroeder’s course on starting and optimizing your short-term rental. 

    What a great evening! Thank you to all the donors, sponsors, members, and guests who made this a fun and successful FUN(d) Raiser! Hope to see your smiling face at future Host2Host in-person and online events!

  • Wed, December 28, 2022 1:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Charity Kuahiwinui, Host2Host Executive Assistant, Charter Member, former North Portland host & co-founder of Ensourced a STR consulting firm

    Call it what you will, but global financial indicators are projecting a bit of a slump in the coming year. Forecasters predict the United States has a 50/50 chance of avoiding a major financial downturn in the economy for 2023. The rest of the world is showing even less favorable signs and will most likely experience a recession of some sort.

    Economic Uncertainty
    woman looking stressed out at computer screenAs we have observed most recently, during times of uncertainty, job loss, and economic downturn, travel expenditures are one of the first items to be cut from household budgets. Whether or not the R-word comes to fruition, though, it is clear that the short-term rental market has matured. Guests are seeking more from their rental experience than has been offered in the past.

    Do what you can to meet those changing expectations and capitalize on your assets.

    Departure Duties
    person washing dishes with spongeAirbnb has acknowledged that guests are tired of the onerous list of check-out responsibilities being asked of them. While departure rules vary wildly, hosts with the highest guest satisfaction seem to ask the least of their guests.

    Do what you can to set your cleaning crew up for success, then trust them to take care of the things that matter. If you need to increase your cleaning fee to make the duties match the time it takes to complete them, guests seem happier to pay a larger amount with very little required of them at check-out.

    Hands-On or Off
    Let’s face it, there are as many different types of travelers as there are hosts eager to welcome them. Some people get really excited about engaging with their host and look forward to intimate conversations, learning the ins and outs of a new environment from their local guide, and building friendships to last a lifetime. Then there’s the introverted folks who, as VRBO has emphasized in their ad campaigns, prefer to enjoy their rental all to themselves without a host "snooping around".

    Be honest with yourself about your hosting style and define your approach clearly in the listing description. Let potential guests know what to expect from their stay. No doubt there’s a guest who will click with your style.

    Making Memories
    photos and buttons on a journalGuests are not just looking for a place to stay, they are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. What’s trendy and eye-catching will undoubtedly grab the attention of an eager traveler when they are searching through lists of potential places to stay.

    Furthermore, in times of economic uncertainty, folks tend to gravitate to staying at places closer to home where they can make new memories with the people they love. Find a way to set your rental apart from others in the area, then take professional photos that capture this vibe effectively. Make good use of the captions on photos to provide listing-scrollers with a strong sense of the memories they will make. Get them excited about staying with you!

    Like everything else, periods of economic downturn have a beginning, a middle, and most definitely an end. Count on it. In the meantime, take measures to maximize your opportunity for ongoing hosting success.

  • Wed, December 28, 2022 12:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    We are so thankful for the kind and generous contributions of those Board Members whose terms are ending in 2022, including: Alanna Schroeder, Angela Dorsey-Kockler, David Boe, Linda Elliott, and Rob Hertert.people seated around a table with their computers

    New members joining in 2023 include Diana Gladden, Kate Simer, and Kim Fitzpatrick. Elected to serve a two-year term, they will join Anthony Rallo, Becky Burnett, Dabney Tompkins, Laura Angyus, and Ryan Tigner on the Board of Directors next year.

    Hearty THANKS to the new and departing members!

  • Wed, December 28, 2022 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Richard Sima recently contributed an interesting article to The Washington Post called, “Showing gratitude is good for all of us, so why don’t we give thanks more?“ Based on a 2018 study by Amit Kumar, professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, the study was published in Psychological Science

    Researchers found that saying “thanks” can make a world of difference. It builds stronger social bonds helping us feel more connected to other people. And, in this often challenging world full of angst and obligation, isn’t that what really matters? 

    thank you cardSome folks are hesitant to express gratitude out of fear of judgment or imperfection, so what helps is taking the first step. Don’t overthink it. Just say, “Thanks”.

    So, to the folks who have been hanging with us in 2022, we just want to say “Thank You”. Thank you for being awesome contributors to our community, for building something out of nothing, for keeping each other in your thoughts, and for helping when and where you can. 

    You are appreciated. That’s right, YOU. We look forward to connecting with you in a brand new year and are sending you love and light!

  • Tue, November 29, 2022 10:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Nancy Stevens, Meetup Committee Member and Host in NW Portland

    nancy stevensWho knew that tax experts could be informative and entertaining? We had plenty of both when we were Talking Taxes with the Experts on November 9th.

    The expert panelists helping us navigate the complex world of taxes at the November meetup were Eve Davis with In or Out Tax Services, Jaydra Perfetti with Paper Investigator, Pam Knudsen with Avalara, and Stephanie Solomon with Block Advisors. (Stephanie is a meetup pro! She has attended EVERY ONE of our tax meetups for the past eight years! Thank you Stephanie!

    eve davis in or out tax servicejaydra perfetti paper investigatorpamela knudsen avalarastephanie solomon block advisors

    Two of the presenters even offered discounts to Host2Host members who are new clients: Block Advisors and In or Out Tax Services! Just mention that you are a member of Host2Host when you reach out to them.

    This meetup has become a regular event for us because significant changes occur in the tax laws every year. Some of the topics discussed by the experts included quarterly occupancy taxes, income reporting, the difference between a contractor vs an employee, payroll taxes, the pros and cons of front loading expenses, Schedule C vs Schedule E requirements, and the Residential Clean Energy Credit (which has increased this year!)

    One of the more challenging topics covered was where you file when you live in one state and have an short-term rental in another – the short answer is that you must file in both states if income is earned.
    As usual, we had a lively, interactive discussion among the participants. And sound advice was offered by the experts including:

    • Good records are a gift you give to your future self!

    • Keep square footage for each property for reporting purposes.

    hand with magnifying glass reviewing symbols while writing in a notebookDid we mention that the session was entertaining too? We learned that there are three kinds of accountants – those that can count and those that can’t! (haha, get it?!) and why did Sherlock Holmes get audited? He had too many deductions. 

    This session is so popular we’ve already scheduled our tax meetup for 2023! It'll be November 9th at 5:00 pm! Save the date!

    Host2Host members who missed the event can watch a recording on our website.

  • Wed, October 26, 2022 10:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Host2Host Member Renee Moog, a Host in SE Portland

    Renee MoogHaving dipped my toe back into hosting recently after sitting it out for the last two years - the recent meetup, Re-Opening Your STR, was very timely and rich in hosting tidbits. A panel of active hosts/volunteer members fielded a discussion on topics relevant right now to those like me that are noticing post-pandemic changes such as types of guests, lengths of stays, and even how the economic and social woes we are all experiencing are affecting the general mood of guests. 

    Airbnb Services:  We learned more about current Airbnb services like “Pro-page" status & AirCover and shared strategies and tools to set positive and realistic expectations for guests whose opinions of Portland have been influenced by the sensationalist news coverage or the hyped showcase Airbnb properties seen in the media.

    Person cleaning a table top wearing a blue gloveCleanings for Longer Term Guests: Most hosts reported having longer-term guests of two weeks to 3 months who are working from STR’s rather than tourists coming for long weekends. This indeed was my recent experience, and I asked the group for ideas on how to handle cleaning and cleaning fees when guests were staying longer and settling in more. We discussed updating house rules to let guests know there would be interim cleaning and discussed options of whether to charge extra or just absorb the extra cleaning cost in exchange for longer occupancy rates.

    Resource Sharing:  Experienced hosts presented some creative signage to coach guests on the nuances of writing appropriate reviews and treating their Airbnb like the cherished home that it is. This type of sharing of ideas, experiences, resources, and coping strategies is why being a member of Host2host is so attractive to me. I was reminded though, that it is only one small piece of the organization’s mission. President Dabney Tomkins addressed the need for membership dues and volunteer hours to support not only the regular programming but also the important work of relationship building with the City of Portland and other stakeholders in the STR community.

    We ended the night with the exciting news of in-person meet ups on the horizon…. I look forward to even more sharing of ideas and hosting tidbits!

    Host2Host members can watch the meetup recording on our website.

  • Wed, October 26, 2022 10:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    People looking up at tons of cameras on a buildingIt can be tempting to install security cameras to ensure a rental is securely maintained and appropriately treated by guests. However, before doing so, make sure you fully understand the limits, state statutes, and best practices guidelines. Don't accidentally create serious liability or a violation of privacy claim.
    Proper InsuranceIn its blog, Airbnb Security Cameras & Surveillance is a Bad Look for the Vacation Rental Industry, Host2Host business affiliate, Proper Insurance explains how to add cameras without introducing the risk of costly liability. Chock full of industry guidelines and links to regulations and even lawsuits, you’re sure to find the article interesting if you are considering the installation of a surveillance system or even just wondering if what you have in place is compliant.

    Make sure you understand the pros and cons before it’s too late!

  • Wed, October 26, 2022 10:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Michelle BoyleHost2Host member, Michelle “MJ” Boyle is a patented inventor, Hostess of the Tiny House Podcast, founder and creator of My Tiny House Village, Oregon Teardrop Rentals, and My Tiny Creekside Retreat. Recently she was interviewed by industry thought leader Matt Landau on his podcast, Unlocked. Unlocked Podcast Logo

    Together they explore the rushes and reversals inherent in Homerunning… from hitting a niche market at just the right time to the very real adversities that can shut you down.

    Tune in for loads of validation and thoughtful reflection on Michelle’s truly special tiny house community.

  • Wed, September 28, 2022 8:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Jill Palamountain, founding member of Host2Host, Business Outreach Committee and Membership Committee Chairs & host in NE Portland

    Kim Fitzpatrick gives someone a hugWhat a joy to meet in person again! After a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, Host2Host members gathered together; sharing hugs, elbow bumps, stories and laughs at the beautiful Cooper’s Hall on Sept 8.  While many had seen each other frequently on Zoom, it was delightful to meet in-person.

    Host2Host’s coming back party was hosted by our partner, Travel Portland, who generously provided the venue, an open bar, and some tasty bites. We also were treated to a brief presentation by Travel Portland.

    Jeff MillerJeff Miller, President & CEO shared Travel Portland’s mission, the state of travel, consumer sentiment and the changing perception of Portland. The most damaging message potential visitors hear from Portlander’s is that the city is not safe. Jeff urged us all to change the narrative.

    There are so many really good things happening in Portland. Events have returned. Businesses are back. Sure, we have a ways to go, but together we can turn the tide.

    Ajay Date, Vice President of Marketing, discussed Travel Portland’s approach to marketing; the messages and methods they use to attract visitors from awareness to engagement to conversion. The primary message: Portland is Always On. Ajay also shared some of the videos that are currently running on Travel Portland or YouTube.

    Josie Ratnayake, Tourism Manager, shared the many tools and resources Travel Portland offers visitors - great to provide to guests:

    Becky Burnett chats with Robert Geller of FabstayzHost2Host also has a page devoted to Travel Portland resources to help you find exactly what you need. 

    This couldn’t have been a better celebration. Thank you Travel Portland and thanks also to Radious for the photos. But, most of all, many THANKS TO ALL OF YOU to those who joined us! We are motivated to meet in-person again, so watch for more of these types of events.
  • Wed, September 28, 2022 8:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Charity Kuahiwinui, charter member of Host2Host, former North Portland host and co-founder of Ensourced, a rental consulting firm. Charity lives in Lisbon, Portugal.

    The ninth annual Vacation Rental World Summit Alfandega Conference Center Porto, Portugalwas held in Porto, Portugal at an old-world charm conference center that used to be the city’s customs house. The seminar was chock-full of useful guidance for short-term rental hosts with plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow hosts, vendors, and property managers.

    Here are some of the key takeaways and how you can leverage them.

    Cleaning Quality is Key
    Industry leaders pointed out again and again that quality is critical. The biggest driver of quality is the cleaning crew hired to take care of your space (or your own trusty hands, of course). Even if you think you’ve found the dream clean team, personally inspect the property at least quarterly to make sure it is being properly maintained and to identify any areas of improvement.

    When you find a good cleaner, keeping them is crucial. There are a few ways to retain these key players:

    • Keep the work environment engaging and organized. cleaner spraying bathroom faucetCleaners hate arriving to a chaotic rental left by a guest, but a storage space or re-supply area with the same amount of chaos is enough to drive them batty;
    • Use a cleaning checklist to make sure cleaners don’t miss anything; 
    • Give them ownership in how they do their work; don’t micromanage. The guest won’t know that your preferred pillow tuck is one way but the cleaner did it another way. They’ll just be happy the pillowcases and sheets are clean.
    • Follow the golden rule and treat people the way you would want to be treated. Reward them with extra pay and bonuses if their work is shining brilliantly in your reviews and resulting in increased occupancy.
    Improve Your Ratings
    five yellow stars on blue and pink backgroundAccurancy: The best way to improve the accuracy of your description is to periodically conduct a rental inspection and read your listing description out loud. Does the text realistically match the layout and location of the listing? Guests demand accuracy above all else. 

    Communication: Communicating with guests is key. Certain OTAs provide automated ways to streamline communications but ensure they still have a personal voice in tone and timing. If your space is frequented often by folks from other countries, translate your listing, guidebook, and house rules into your target languages to help those travelers find you using their search terms and easily get around once they arrive.

    Value: Do you have a 5-star rating for value? Turns out, AirDNA thinks this means you are not pricing your rental correctly. It’s too inexpensive. Strive for a value rating of between 3-4 stars to strike the right balance with potential future guests.

    Environmental Sustainability
    Travel is responsible for 8-10% of all greenhouse gas emissions! Now, more than ever, travelers understand they have a vested interest in minimizing their footprint.reduce reuse recycle note

    The desire for green travel is not a trend. Sustainability is here to stay and advertising a sustainable rental can increase clicks from potential renters and drive increased occupancy.

    Did you know? 
    • 90% of consumers seek sustainable options when traveling;
    • 60% of travelers have chosen a more environmentally-friendly transport or lodging option;
    • Travelers will pay nearly 40% more for authentically sustainable lodging.
    Actionable Ways to Improve Sustainability
    • Make it easy for guests to recycle;
    • Add energy-efficient bulbs, smart appliances, and water-saving tools;
    • Add energy meters to monitor usage in real-time. This can save 22-27% depending upon the type of utility;
    • Consider installing an EV charging station (minimum 120V outlet; Level 2 better);
    • Provide alternative transportation suggestions like using the local metro system, e-scooter apps to download, carshare vendors, etc.
    Improve Occupancy
    Be flexible. There are a few common ways to do that:
    • List on multiple OTAs, especially ones that cater to niche travelers like FabStayz, FairBnB, HomeStay, or;
    • Offer free cancellation policies. These not only increase bookings overall but also improve your listing’s location in the OTAs algorithm search results;
    • Allow for bookings to come in over 90 days before a guest will arrive. Folks are eager to take big trips and are planning early. If your calendar is closed, you’re missing out on them completely;
    • cute dog on bedAccept pets, or at least dogs. 53% of travelers and growing like to bring their pets along. If you do that, include amenities that will help pet owners minimize damages in the home. For example, leave poop bags, offer pet food and water bowls, provide a dog-specific blanket and ask that it be used to protect the furniture from excessive pet fur to make clean-up easier.
    Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to attend a vacation rental conference soon. Next year VRWS takes place in Barcelona, Spain at the Maritime Museum with its sweeping, arched ceilings and rich history. Hope to see you there!
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