Startup Stories: Association for Short-Term Rental Homeowners
New associations launch to fill a void in their sector. Here, a group for short-term and vacation rental homeowners tells us what got them started, what they’ve been up to, and what’s on the horizon.
Starting point. The founders of the Association for Short-Term Rental Homeowners (ASTRHO) come from a hospitality background, and as the pandemic took hold, they found they were getting lots of questions about vacation rentals that they didn’t have answers for. “We would talk to people who owned short-term rentals and were very entrepreneurial and were looking for a place to find education,” said Heather Richer, who serves as ASTRHO’s board president. Richer, along with Heidie Henriksen and Lauren Widmaier, created ASTRHO to provide answers for owners who want resources and education to help them effectively manage their rentals.
Early work. The group hit the ground running. “We’ve been growing fairly quickly,” said Henriksen, who serves as head of business development. “We learned early on that it was smart to have two tiers of memberships. One that is free and still has a lot of great resources—but is somewhat limited—and then a paid membership tier that got more access to all the educational courses, to member perks, and benefits that our corporate sponsors provide.”
According to Widmaier, who handles marketing for ASTRHO, they put out a weekly newsletter with tips and a weekly blog with curated content from experts or partners. “We also have a vacation rental marketing course, we have a revenue management course, and we have a ton of educational webinars,” Widmaier said. “We have our first partner showcase coming up.”
Next steps. While global domination isn’t quite on the menu, ASTRHO is looking to expand and collaborate on a global accreditation initiative. “Vacation rental is a global industry,” Richer said. “What we’ve found is we are all coming together around the topic of global safety, maintenance, and security, and the importance of that for the whole industry. It is a huge initiative.”
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