Brattleboro to host Short-Term Rental Summit

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BRATTLEBORO — Vermont's first Short-Term Rental Summit will be held in Brattleboro on May 19 to 20.

With more than 6,000 Vermont hosts operating short-term rentals, the Summit will be an opportunity to learn, be inspired, and connect with other hosts and industry experts.

The goals of the Summit are to celebrate the success of short-term rental homes in Vermont; to support hosts in building sustainable business skills; and to further develop hosts' hospitality skills.

"Everyday short-term rental hosts shine as ambassadors in our community and for our state," said Stephanie Bonin, executive director of the Downtown Brattleboro Association (DBA). "The hosting platforms encourage and help welcome visitors who might otherwise have not heard about our small communities. They are a promotional megaphone that we simply couldn't afford otherwise."

Online platforms like HomeAway, Homexchange, and Airbnb help attract more than 300,000 visitors to Vermont each year, resulting in more than $7 million in rooms & meal taxes (both local & state) and providing more than 4,000 host families supplemental income. These online platforms are part of a growing nationwide "shared economy" and participants at the summit will learn how rural areas stand to benefit from experiences in Vermont and other states.

"What we're finding, generally, is that people don't feel the need so much to own an asset. What they really want is the use of the asset." Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar, a national car-sharing platform and advocate for the Sharing Economy. "We're moving from an ownership economy to a use economy." Chase will be the keynote speaker on Sunday, May 19, the first day of the Summit.

"This Summit will be the first opportunity for hosts to learn about self-regulation requirements and safety standards," Lisa Ford, a Guilford Airbnb host and organizer of the summit explains.

The Summit will feature concurrent sessions including state policies and regulation discussion and update with policymakers and permit specialists; learn how individual communities engage with short-term rentals to increase housing stock and improve their local economy.

Airbnb and Expedia staff will discuss their advocacy role for hosts.

Hospitality experts will share tips for improving guest experiences. The summit organizers are calling for story submissions. Three Vermont hosts will be selected to share their stories at the summit as part of the "line-up of experts."

Tickets for the Summit can be purchased directly at brattleboro.com. Early bird pricing ends Friday. Registration is limited, so sign up early.

The Short Term Rentals Summit is organized by the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance and local Airbnb hosts. Visit brattleboro.com for more information and to register for one or both days.

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