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VRBO ranks Breckenridge top destination among US ski resorts

by Eli Pace Summit Daily

This photo shows a Breckenridge home that rents for $5,000 a night on average. The popular website accommodations company has tagged Breckenridge as the most popular ski destination for the 2019-20 ski season based on the company’s data.
Courtesy of VRBO.com

 

Surprise, surprise, it’s Breckenridge — again.

The Summit County resort town consistently ranked among the top destinations in Colorado and the U.S. has just been pinpointed by VRBO.com as “the most popular ski season destination among travelers for the 2018-19 ski season.”

A VRBO spokeswoman said the travel accommodations website won’t reveal how many guest arrivals or booked nights there were for Breckenridge properties, but she confirmed that the town is in higher demand than any other comparable destination for VRBO.com.

Behind Breckenridge was Park City, Utah, followed by Mammoth Lakes, California, in third, according to VRBO’s rankings.

While VRBO won’t release figures on bookings, some of the statistics that it did publicize regarding the short-term rentals in Breckenridge were jaw dropping.

Based on the properties listed with its website, VRBO says vacation-rental homeowners in the Breckenridge area can charge over $3,325 a week renting out their homes at peak times during the ski season.

The spokeswoman said that figure — derived from a $475 nightly rate — was taken on average and does not simply reflect VRBO’s most expensive rentals, which can run up to $5,000 a night in Breckenridge.

The numbers don’t include any of VRBO’s fees, either, the spokeswoman said, adding that the data points should be taken as “ballpark figures” for what homeowners in Breckenridge might charge listing their homes with VRBO.

“What you would actually net is specific to (the situation),” she explained, adding that the company has different working models for homeowners that can affect the owners’ incomes.

But over half of all VRBO owners use that income to cover at least 75 percent of their mortgage payments, said Bill Furlong, vice president of VRBO’s North American business, in a prepared statement.

And statistics like these are the primary reason Breckenridge’s elected leaders have asked town staff to start segregating short-term rentals from the town’s overall lodging category in the monthly sales tax reports.

That request followed Airbnb.com tagging Summit County as the top mountain destination in Colorado last year with 275,300 guest arrivals and $57 million in host income, second in the state to only Denver.

In 2017, Airbnb ranked Breckenridge second in both guest visits and rental income statewide by itself with two other Summit County locales — Keystone and Silverthorne — making the top 10 before Airbnb began lumping all of Summit County together.

Unlike Airbnb, VRBO also released a list of the top origin cities showing where these guests are coming from.

In contrast with Vail, which largely relies on major metropolitan areas across the U.S., like New York or Atlanta, for many of its travelers — a host of Colorado cities are responsible for a lot of Breckenridge’s guests, according to VRBO.

Ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, Denver and Colorado Springs accounted for the highest number of travelers booking Breckenridge through VRBO. The town also saw a strong turnout from Texans with Austin, Houston and Dallas filling out the bottom three slots of Breckenridge’s top five origin cities.

At No. 7, Chicago managed to crack Breckenridge’s top 10 origin cities, but Colorado reigned king locally with Littleton, Aurora, Fort Collins and Highlands Ranch filling out the remainder of Breckenridge’s top 10 list.

“The traveler origins tell you a lot about the appeal of specific destinations,” the VRBO spokeswoman said.

Additionally, it might influence rental rates. That’s because Park City homeowners could charge $690 a night, according to VRBO, while Vail’s homeowners could get top-dollar at $730 a night.

As for the homes being rented out by VRBO, the company’s “Premier Partner Properties” in Breckenridge are certainly nice ones, but they’re not necessarily the multimillion-dollar, mountain-modern mansions with ski-in, ski-out access.

One of the featured homes is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom condo with 1,550 square feet in the heart of downtown. It advertises comfortable accommodations for up to eight to nine people and rents for around the VRBO average.

Conversely, the one that charges $5,000 a night has eight bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms with 4,600 square feet and advertises sleeping accommodations for up to 17 people.

Top U.S. ski destinations for 2018-19 ski season

According to data compiled by the accomodations website VRBO.com, these are the most popular ski destinations in the U.S. for the 2018-19 ski season.

1. Breckenridge

2. Park City, Utah

3. Mammoth Lakes, California

4. Grand County

5. Squaw Valley, California

6. South Lake Tahoe, California

7. Vail and Beaver Creek

8. Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania

9. Bend, Oregon

10. Steamboat Springs

Source: VRBO.com

Silverthorne puts new regulations on short-term rentals

by Eli Pace- Summit Daily

Silverthorne became the latest Summit County government to enact tighter regulations on short-term rentals with town council approving a series of new rules Tuesday on second reading.

Included in them are occupancy caps and the requirement "a responsible agent" be able to address complaints within one hour 24/7, unless a complaint comes in between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., at which time the agent will have only 30 minutes to address the issue. Multiple failures to do so could result in an owner losing their licenses for two years.

The town is also creating a new licensing process that requires each rental to secure a unique business license, rather than allowing multiple properties to operate under a single license. Rentals will also have to post those license numbers in all their advertisements. According to the town, this helps identify properties that have not obtained the proper license and are not remitting the proper sales and lodging taxes back to the town.

There will also be new fees, ranging from $100-$300 based on the number of bedrooms inside the rental. The new fee structure isn't designed to make money, only cover the town's costs of administering the program, officials said.

Occupancy caps have been one major point of contention as individual governments across Summit County have sought to better regulate short-term rentals recently. Silverthorne hasn't shied away for them, opting to limit short-term rentals to two guests per bedroom plus two. That means a four-bedroom home can sleep at most 10 people. The number of bedrooms inside a rental will be determined by information on file at the Summit County Assessor's Office.

The towns and the county have working together closely as they each look to better regulate the booming industry in their jurisdictions. Together, they plan to set up a 24-hour countywide call center so people can phone in complaints about short-term rentals across the county. A designated "responsible agent" would then have to address those complaints within a specific timeframe or face penalties.

In many ways, Silverthorne's ordinance runs parallel to others already enacted or in currently the works across the county. However, Silverthorne is the only one so far to give agents a 30-minute window to address overnight complaints.

Other provisions speak to health and safety standards and potential inspections.

Like the listings seen on Airbnb.com and VRBO.com, a short-term rental is defined by Silverthorne as any home — or any room inside a home — that's available for rent for a term of less than 30 consecutive days. According to town officials, hundreds are currently operating inside Silverthorne. The goal is to get all of them kicked over to the new licenses by the New Year.

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