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NoiseAware sponsored our April meetup with a thorough review of their product line and its value to hosts and their communities. Matt Williams, Director of Sales, and Natasha Garber, Senior Content Manager ended their presentations with a great discount offer to Host2Host (see that below).
Host2Host puts on monthly educational meetups. Once a quarter, the meetup is of the “sponsored” variety, in which a Host2Host business affiliate member presents the meetup. These meetups help Host2Host meet our financial needs while bringing the latest relevant business information to hosts. We make these “Sponsored” meetups free to the public.
NoiseAware began in 2015 after a party caused a host to lose a catastrophic amount of money and their right to host. Invention followed and seven years later, the Dallas, Texas company employs 55 people and has monitored noise levels for over 3 million STR nights. The company’s goal is to help owners and managers have guests peacefully coexist within their neighborhoods. Another value to hosts is the reduction in costs for cleaning and damage that results from large parties.
Many jurisdictions seem to be jumping to strict control of STRs. NoiseAware can reduce the friction between STRs and neighbors and may help avoid more reactionary responses by districts. Some jurisdictions are even requiring NoiseAware or similar products to be utilized. Many hosts make a point of letting their neighbors know when NoiseAware has been installed, to emphasize that the hosts are taking the issue seriously.
NoiseAware uses interior and exterior sensors to monitor the level of sound in a home. The sensors are unlike Alexa or Google Home, in that they do not “listen” to conversations but rather measure the level of noise being produced. And it’s not simply the loudest, momentary noise that the system responds to, like a dog barking one time. The noise has to be sustained for a period of time.
This type of monitoring must be disclosed in the OTA bookings. NoiseAware has helpful language to proactively communicate this to prospective guests and possibly avoid having those guests you really don’t want.
The sensors are plugged into existing electrical outlets and are fastened to make them difficult to tamper with (and tampering is something the system monitors as well). The sensors can be installed in minutes. The exterior sensors have adhesive backing to stick to a surface. Even if you only want to monitor exterior noise, at least one interior sensor is required because it connects to the WiFi network. The home owner or manager uses an app to set the level of noise to trigger alerts, typically 60-70 decibels.
Once on the network, the sensors in the home then relay noise levels to the NoiseAware monitoring service. The home owner or manager receives alerts when noise exceeds the settings. A historical record is maintained to assist in cases where a neighbor may complain about noise that did not actually exceed the city’s allowable threshold.
“Auto Resolve” is the newest product from NoiseAware. When noise levels are exceeded during the specified time period, NoiseAware sends a text alert to the guest advising them that quiet hours are in place. If the noise levels continue for the next 10 minutes, a second alert is sent. If the noise subsides, no further alerts are sent. The company is working on a version that will allow the messages to be customized.
In the next few weeks, NoiseAware will roll out another new feature, called “Occupancy”, again at no additional charge, that will report the number of devices like cell phones that are attached to the WiFi network. If that number exceeds the configured threshold, the host will be notified.
Cost: The cost is per sensor per month; for a month-by-month plan is $20/sensor per month. For an annual plan it’s $15/sensor per month.
Now through May 7, 2022 use the special Host2Host promo code “h2hna22” to get a 20% discount for annual subscription plus one free indoor sensor.
Questions about NoiseAware? Contact:
From the NoiseAware Blog:
Suggestions On How To Inform Guests About Noise Monitoring:
Recent Case Studies:
20% off annual subscription + 1 free indoor sensor with cart code H2HNA22 (can be used for up to 9 properties) Dedicated rep + special offer for 10+ properties. Offers good through May 7. https://noiseaware.com/cart/?wt_coupon=h2hna22
Here is an awesome new tool to share with your short-term rental guests. Travel Portland has created a QR code which links to relevant information on the Travel Portland website. Just point your phone's camera at the QR code to access Travel Portland.
Congratulations to Host2Host charter member, Melissa Sheets, for being named the best woman Airbnb host in the US - In honor of International Women's Day!! We are so proud of you Melissa! And Brian, of course. Get the whole story @ KGW.com
Hope you caught the Vendor Showcase on March 9th. Sorry if you missed it, because you missed out on Ryan Tigner's surprise gift. $100 off an Itrip Vacation booking.
Wonderful things are happening in the media to interest travelers in Portland again. Our friends at Travel Portland shared the good news:
The 12 Best Spots to Go ‘Plane-Spotting’ Across the U.S.
February 28, 2022
Beyond the Bahamas and Mexico: 10 domestic spring break destinations where you don’t have to mess with COVID-19 tests
Points Guy, The
February 21, 2022
The Best And Worst Cities For Traveling Alone, According To Solo Travelers Who Have Been All Over The Globe
February 19, 2022
12 Places to See Cherry Blossoms in the United States
AFAR Magazine Online
February 17, 2022
February 17, 2022
Insider Guide: Portland, Oregon
Sunset Magazine Online
February 14, 2022
Why You Should Plan A Trip To Portland, Oregon, This Winter
February 12, 2022
Where To Get The Absolute Best Bread In The U.S.
Mashed | Becki Robins
February 10, 2022
Celebrating Black History Month? These 5 Cities Are Going All Out
NEW YORK TIMES - ONLINE, The
February 09, 2022
The Best Luxury Hotels in Portland, Oregon
February 08, 2022
Sustainable Venues for Greener Meetings in the Pacific Northwest
Meetings Today Online
Botanical Gardens Every Passionate Gardener Should Visit
Upscale Living Magazine Online
February 04, 2022
37 Products From Black-Owned Brands You'll Use On A Daily Basis
February 03, 2022
By David Boe, Host2Host Board Member, STR host in NW Portland and author of Secrets of an Airbnb Superhost.
On February 2, 2022, a spirited group of Host2Host Business Affiliates met via Zoom for an engaging hour-long round-table style discussion about the state of the Short Term Rental industry during the second year of the global pandemic.
The meeting was energetically moderated by Carlos Camarena, proprietor of Carlos Rafael Photography, a photography and video business that is a longtime favorite among local Portland Airbnb hosts.
Host2Host founder Debi Hertert reminded us of the meeting’s purpose of creating an informal space where business owners could share ideas and experiences with one another around the common topic of short term rentals.
During the general discussion, Host2Host Executive Director, Jill Palamountain offered a brief and optimistic overview of industry trends, including the continued upward arc of anticipated growth in short term rentals, despite or in some cases because of the realities of the Pandemic. In many cases, private homes like those offered by STR hosts have been seen as much safer places than hotels, which can expose guests to many more public interactions.
Several business owners agreed with the assessment of increased opportunities, and shared a sense of optimism for the year ahead. Attendees included:
Bruce and Cindy Eastman, of HealthMarkets; Lorinda Taylor, from InnStyle; Amina Moreau, from Radious; Greta Krost, from Coastline Lodging; and Juliana Ujka, of BnSellit.
Never has it been more important to connect with our neighborhoods. Short-term rentals sometimes get a bad rap, but there is much we do as hosts to enrich our neighborhoods.
Host2Host board member, Angela Dorsey-Kockler recently introduced the benefits of short-term rentals and Host2Host to her Richmond Neighborhood Association. Using a presentation created by Robert Jordan and delivered by Rob Hertert to the North Tabor Neighborhood Association; Angela also found an interested and receptive audience and enjoyed sharing the many benefits short-term rentals bring to our neighborhoods.
The video recording of Rob Hertert’s presentation can be found here. We’ll post Angela’s presentation when it’s available.
We’re opening minds one neighborhood association at a time. If you are interested in presenting to your Neighborhood Association, Host2Host for details.
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:
Have the septic tank emptied (if you have one)
Inventory and replace needed items
Reapply shower caulk and grout in the bathrooms
Clean/replace furnace filters
Inspect CO2 and smoke detectors for battery replacement
Refresh photos and have seasonal photos taken
Anthony made 3 points to consider for future reservations:
Take care of maintenance items (as above)
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?
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:
‘Homey’ style of area that has a comfortable, warm feel.
“Officey’ feeling spaces that offer a more business atmosphere with amenities to enhance professionalism.
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:
TV (for slide presentations) and a white board
Monitor, wireless keyboard, ring light for Zoom meetings
Workspaces and meeting spaces
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.
The Portland STR community lost one of our true pioneers in Sue Carter Low, who passed away in December.
Created by Robert Jordan for Host2Host
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.
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.
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.
Host2Host® is a registered trademark of Host2Host.org, a member trade association for the short-term rental community.