Utah property managers can now join the recently launched Utah Vacation Rental Managers Association (UVRMA). Founded by vacation rental and real estate professional Brad Winget, the state’s first industry association will host inaugural trade conferences on October 24 in Salt Lake City and October 26 in St. George.
Tyler Hurst of Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals will serve as UVRMA’s VP of operations, and Lyndel Strong will serve as executive director. She was previously the executive director of the Idaho Republican Party and an implementation manager for LiveRez. “For me, being the association’s first director is a big responsibility and exciting,” she said. “I have the opportunity to call and work with every professional VRM in Utah and hear the things that are happening in the industry and how they are impacting each business individually.”
The association’s primary objective in its first year is to help fight local short-term regulations. “One of the biggest challenges that VRMs face that I hear over and over again on the calls I have been having is fighting all the regulations and fees,” Strong said.
Moab, St. George, Provo, Salt Lake City, and Park City are among several Utah municipalities with short-term rental restrictions or bans in place. Meanwhile, the town of Sandy recently lifted its ban on vacation rentals, and, in a rare twist, Emery County is encouraging its residents to rent out their homes to help boost lodging and tourism around its popular rock climbing and outdoor adventure destinations.
Winget decided to start the organization after successfully fighting regulations in areas where his vacation rental company, Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals, has properties. “I’ve seen firsthand how big of a difference you can make if you take a proactive but respectful approach to fighting back and educating representatives,” he said.
UVRMA has hired two lobbyists Winget has worked with in the past to help in its effort: Michael Ostermiller and Christopher Kyler, both partners at Kyler, Kohler, Ostermiller & Sorensen, LLP (KKOS) and registered lobbyists. Ostermiller focuses on legislative advocacy, lobbying, and local government affairs for clients in real estate, construction, health care, and other sectors.
Kyler manages the partnership’s legislative advocacy efforts, including legislative drafting, campaigning, fundraising, PAC money disbursement, and lobbying for KKOS. He is also the CEO of the Utah Association of Realtors.
In addition to fighting regulations, Winget said some of the association’s other objectives include improving the industry’s image, educating the public about VRMs, educating property managers, improving their businesses and best practices, and networking with and learning from like-minded people and companies.
UVRMA will name its committees and boards of directors at its first semiannual meeting in early 2019.
UVRMA is now recruiting new members. Current members include Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals, Vacation Resort Solutions, and Family Time Vacation Rentals. Tiered membership costs based on inventory size start at $250 per year for 5–20 properties.
Registration for the trade conferences is also open. Both events will feature a networking event the night before, breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and conference presentations and an exhibitor tradeshow from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
The show is free for UVRMA members and $20 per person for nonmembers. Sponsorship packages start at $500 and include both events.
According to the Utah Office of Tourism, about 19 million travelers visited the state annually the last two years. In 2016, travelers spent $8.4 billion, generated $1.23 billion in state and local tax revenue, and supported 144,200 jobs in the state.