- Success Story
- Summit County
How Summit County used technology to enforce its short-term rental ordinance and boost compliance
Summit County, CO is a popular resort town with the highest concentration of short-term rentals (STRs) in the country. Home to in-demand tourist attractions like Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone, Summit County was managing an incredibly high volume of STRs with a two-person team. With short-term rental management and communications software powered by Granicus, this small but mighty team increased compliance, collected valuable STR data, and made smart, data-informed updates to their ordinance.
- 2-member team managing STRs in a popular tourist area
- 78% median email open rate for STR communications
- $1.6M received in total payments in just one year
- 400 peacefully resolved STR complaints using 24/7 hotline
Compliance and Communications
As STRs grew in popularity, the Summit County jurisdiction approved regulations and licenses and the county began using software to enforce its STR ordinance, which led to the use of Granicus solutions in 2020. Later — to improve communications with STR owners and property management companies — the STR team added Granicus’ marketing and communications software to the technological mix. This unique software pairing allowed Summit County to launch a communications strategy that serves as an aid to help local STR hosts become more compliant by virtue of sheer awareness.
Reminders and Regulations
By creating several relevant topics and subscriber lists, the two-person STR team has been able to quickly send targeted messaging to interested groups, which has helped alleviate unwanted outreach.
They send out a quarterly newsletter called News You Can Use to share helpful tips about specific regulations, license renewal reminders, and other messaging. The purpose of the communications is to help the STR community understand the regulations, which they hope will be reflected in compliance down the line. “Property managers have a lot going on,” Jen Uhler, planning technician, said. “They have said it’s helpful to them that we reach out. We’re not required to send them reminders, but they appreciate it, and it allows things to go smoother.” The software takes care of duplicate email addresses and reports on engagement behavior like bounce backs, failed sends, and click-through rates, which helps the team assess the effectiveness of their efforts.
With new regulations on the way, the team appreciates how nimble the communications software allows them to be. “It’s nice that we can create email templates early to get ready. That way when the new regulations pass, we’re not in a frenzy,” Brandi Timm, STR program coordinator, said. “Everything’s ready to go in drafts. We can just hit send.”
In addition to the basic functionality of the communications software, the STR team appreciates how they can make the emails visually appealing as well, with the use of easy-to-use templates, themes, and graphics.
Education and Enforcement
STR ordinances are often lengthy and complicated, but STR operators are expected to read, understand, and implement them. By pairing Granicus STR management software with its communications software, the county was able to present complicated ordinance information in bite-sized, digestible pieces to improve compliance.
In addition to being pleased with the overall functionality of the software, Jen and Brandi are appreciative of the working relationship they’ve developed with the Host Compliance and govDelivery teams, who have partnered with them to provide regular communication, technical training and support, and constant progress over the years.
“Over the past couple years,” Brandi added, “We’ve been able to fine-tune our STR process with Host Compliance. We started with 400 to 600 noncompliant STRs, but we were able to weed that number down to like… 20-something.” On top of that, the county was able to collect $1.6M in total payments in just one year. Their 24/7 STR hotline helped the team peacefully resolve more than 400 complaints in 365 days. And the median open rate for the county’s STR emails is 78%, well above the average rate for government communications.
Above all, the software has helped Summit County better manage STRs, assess their effect on the community, and communicate with involved parties to make them an asset instead of a hindrance