Competing Against the OTA’s
This has been another part of our focus; how do we take back our bookings from the OTA’s? How can we take back control of our bookings, remain the merchant of record and have our customers direct information in order to better guide them through the rental process? We also have a hard time with the exorbitant fees that these OTA’s were charging the traveler for using their platforms.
At our annual NEVRP conference in April of 2018 we heard from Northwest Vacation Rental Professionals President, Dan Eby and Vince Perez from Fetch My Guest. They presented their new marketplace Northwest Stays. We were intrigued by the idea from the moment we began talking with Dan and Vince. The idea was simple, create our own marketplace that allows a guest to search the inventory of an infinite number of vacation rental companies (members of NEVRP only) and once they find their ideal property, they are then redirected back to THAT company’s website.
After discussing the logistics with our board, it was then that NEVRP decided to move forward with the collaborative creation of NorthEastStays. This in turn made us decide to change our name from Vacation Rental Professionals of Maine (VRPOMe), to Northeast Vacation Rental Professionals in order to be more inclusive to all our members. By creating the NorthEastStays Marketplace, powered by Fetch My Guest, we will be able to promote our individual vacation rental brands while still working together to promote our unique destinations and professional expertise.
Before evolving into the Northeast Vacation Rental Professionals our network was known as the Vacation Rental Professionals of Maine, Inc. (VRPOMe). We began as an informal group of six vacation rental agencies in Maine in 2006. This group of visionary small business owners wanted to network and help each other with issues in an unregulated industry. They were aware that as agencies they needed to self-regulate. Membership in the VRMA (Vacation Rental Managers Association) helped them do this. Legal and operational issues were regular topics of discussion on a statewide basis as they met in different locations around the State.
In 2013, the group reached out to the 80 or more agencies in the state after a DHHS inspector came to Boothbay and asked Cottage Connection to produce a DHHS license. This was how vacation rentals first became aware of the bill, LD330, a bill to require Vacation Rentals to have a DHHS license. It became quite clear that Maine urgently needed a voice for vacation rental companies to communicate with our legislative leaders. The group rallied and created a grass roots effort to testify in Augusta, meet with lobbyists, and talked to legislators and the media. This helped result in the defeat of this bill and several others.
Today, our memberships are increasing year after year, and we have been successful in advocating for Vacation Rentals. We received our first significant donation of $5,000 from LIVEREZ software in December of 2015 in recognition of our success and momentum here in Maine. We are very active with legislation and are working with Deb Hart of Hart Public Policy to stay on top of legislation at both the Regional, State and local levels. We have an active, committed volunteer Board of Directors developing great educational programs to help our industry.
Our mission from the beginning has been to provide support and leadership for the Maine vacation rental industry, as well as the rest of the Northeast, through effective collaborative influence in the marketplace while promoting professional standards for our members. One of our guiding principles is a promise to our guests to deliver quality service and value to the public.
Led an Effort to Oppose and Defeat LD 330 in 2013
We hired lobbyist Deb Hart to help in our efforts
Met one-on-one with Governor LePage whom supported our efforts
Assisted DHHS with Definition of Vacation Rental
Removed Vacation Rentals from Hotel/Motel laws
Led Opposition and Defeat of LD 436 in 2015
Held First Statewide Annual Meeting Dec. 2015
Awarded $5,000 by LiveRez reservation software company in 2015
Your Voice, your investment
The Vacation Rental Professionals of Maine represents the best of the professional agencies and vacation properties in our great State before elected officials for voting and policy decisions. We are on the front lines of issues that directly affect the bottom line for all of us in this growing industry: taxes, length of rental stays, good neighbor relations, health and safety standards, insurance and more. We are quickly becoming the "go to" voice for the media in print,
We are quickly becoming the “go to” voice for the media in print, radio and television for background information and professional opinions. You can see more information about our past and current activities by viewing our newsletters.
Our lobbying and educational programs play a much needed, vital, role in the democratic process and help to ensure sound policy decisions. A few examples of our successful efforts on behalf of vacation rentals and our members in just the past two years include:
Testified and coordinated a statewide effort to defeat a bill (LD 330 in 2013) which would have required private homes to have a prohibitive hotel/motel DHHS license.
Helped clarify and remove vacation rentals from the Hotel/Motel laws.
Created and then introduced the definition of a “vacation rental” into Maine law.
Formally organized as a 501 C 6 to give our industry a non-profit educational voice.
Defeated a second attempt to place restrictions on length of vacation stays in rentals and again to require private vacation homes to have a hotel/motel DHHS license for less than 7 night rentals (LD436 in 2015
in the news
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Latest Article: VRMintel
THe Definition of a vacation rental
According to the current Maine law
“Vacation Rental” means a residential property that is rented for vacation, leisure, or recreation purposes for a day, a week or a month, and typically under 30 days but not for more than an entire summer or winter season, to a person(s) who have a place of permanent resident to which the person intends to return.
What is a Vacation Rental?
1. VR Experience Vs Hotel-Type Experience. An owner renting their residential property for a period of time does not thereby transform it into a commercial property or use. The fact that a vacation rental is of short duration does not thereby transform that rental into a hotel stay. It is still a vacation rental, whether for a day, a week, or a month or season. It is a different experience of a whole house “like a home away from home”.
2. Whole Property Vs Rooms. Vacation rentals operate under a different model than hotels. When a home is rented for vacation purposes, the entire home is put at the disposal of the renters, not just a room or a group of rooms within the home, as occurs at a hotel, inn or bnb. If a property is partially rented, for whatever period of time, that is not a vacation rental.
3. Vacation rentals are “self-catering” - the renters are responsible for all of their own meals, as compared to the hotel model where management purchases the food, cooks and serves it.
4. Vacation Renters are renting for a common purpose. A group renting a private home is comprised of individuals who know each other, not total strangers, as occurs in the hotel model. Often for family reunions, birthday celebrations, or just “together time” for people who all know each other and wish to spend time together in a whole house environment.
5. Health and Safety Regulations. The residential safety model, not the hotel model is appropriate for vacation rentals, with safety criteria applied to residential occupancy as follows: safe water, safe decks and railing, safe heating systems with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.