Short-Term Rental Revolution: What’s Your Game Plan?

Lodging is evolving through technology, as many tourists and visitors now seek to stay in shared spaces and other short-term lodging alternatives. While short-term vacation rentals can help diversify tourism by promoting areas that need visitors the most and reducing overcrowding in tourist hotspots, significant challenges remain regarding the regulation and fair and equitable taxation of short-term rental properties.

At the MACo Winter Conference session, “Short-Term Rental Revolution: What’s Your Game Plan?” an expert panel discussed the latest trends and detailed best practices for the fast-moving alternative lodging marketplace.

Senator Sarah Elfreth led the conversation in front of a packed room at #MACoCon. She discussed state legislation pertaining to the regulation and taxation of short-term rentals. “Short term vacation rentals pose a number of challenges and opportunities for communities – and it’s incumbent upon jurisdictions to get ahead of the ever-changing market to both protect the quality of neighborhoods and ensure these properties are supporting the tax base,” Senator Elfreth said.

The panel speakers included:

  • Jerry Walker, President/CEO, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation
  • Cassandra Vanhooser, Director, Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism

As a former Anne Arundel County council member and president of MACo, Walker reflected on the importance of local control when it comes to regulating short-term vacation rentals. Walker also pointed to the importance of balancing the potential economic benefits of short-term rentals with community input with negative side effects such as noise, trash, parking and traffic problems as well as more serious issues like the impact of short-term rentals on affordable housing and neighborhood character.

Vanhooser detailed how Talbot County’s short-term rental regulations are helping to boost tourism while also keeping residential neighborhoods residential and ensuring that short-term rental hosts are paying their fair share of taxes and permit fees. Vanhooser also provided attendees with best practices for jurisdictions to embrace the economic benefits of short-term rentals without sacrificing community input.

The 2019 MACo Winter Conference, Building for the Future,” was held on December 4-6, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year’s conference focused on county governance challenges and best practices – from the foundation to the rooftop – that will decide Maryland’s future.

More about the MACo Winter Conference: