The Henderson City Council voted in July to allow short-term rentals in residential areas. This might not sound like a major policy innovation — after all, this is the way tourists like to travel, and opening up the city is merely recognizing the way the modern travel economy is trending.
But some cities and counties in Nevada — including Las Vegas — have closed their doors to short-term rental platforms such as Vrbo, HomeAway and Airbnb, citing concerns about noisy visitors in residential areas and a depleted tax base. Henderson’s decision sets a strong and positive example for others.
Under the new rules, before local homeowners open their homes to travelers, they must pay to register their rentals and allow the city to take measures against bad actors. The legislation also streamlines online registration and offers greater flexibility on the types of properties that can be rented and for how long.
It’s a smart compromise — and one that will undoubtedly work in Henderson’s favor.
Las Vegas welcomes some 42 million guests each year, many of whom are willing to stay a short ride away from their main destination in exchange for more affordable and accommodating lodging. Henderson will not only be able to house visitors to Las Vegas, but also the countless football fans who will flock to the region next year to see the hometown Raiders play. As the region prepares for a highly anticipated sports team, as well as the more than 500,000 business travelers who travel to Las Vegas for conventions, diversifying and adding lodging will be integral in keeping Las Vegas attractive for business and tourism.
As president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the organization that produces CES in Las Vegas each January, I’m excited about Henderson’s decision. Each year, CES gathers more than 175,000 attendees from around the world. By opening Henderson to CES attendees, we have space for more attendees to enjoy the technology and innovation on display. And short-term rentals are a good option for exhibitors and their setup teams in the area for longer periods of time and looking for more home-like options. It’s a win for Henderson, too, as the city will enjoy some of the economic benefits of the show, including added tax revenue and local spending.
Clark County residents made an additional $100 million in income in 2018 by hosting more than 700,000 travelers. Local businesses also got a boost — on average, Airbnb guests say 42 percent of their spending happens in the neighborhood around the rental property, supporting local bars, restaurants and small businesses. The 2018 launch of Airbnb’s Experiences platform in Nevada promises to increase such spending, as locals take guests to their favorite eateries, hot spots and attractions.
As Henderson residents make the most of their city’s forward-thinking policy approach, Las Vegas may decide to follow in Henderson’s footsteps. Las Vegas has worked tirelessly to be a world-renowned leader in hospitality and convention hosting. The city has made key decisions to position itself as a destination for everything from large-scale trade shows such as CES to weekend getaways. Making smart decisions on the future of short-term rentals will maintain its standing as a top-notch destination.
With CES 2020 fast approaching, Las Vegas should adopt policies that keep it open for travelers from near and far for years to come.
Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,000 consumer technology companies.