South Lake Tahoe Survey Shows Positive Effect of Vacation Rentals on Local Economy

75% of guests said they would not travel to South Lake Tahoe if private accommodations were not available. Spending by vacation rental guests generated an estimated $65-80 million each year for the South Lake Tahoe economy.

As more and more travelers choose to stay in vacation rentals or private accommodations, cities like South Lake Tahoe are threatening a vital segment of the economy by opening discussions of possible bans on vacation rentals, according to the results of a recent survey by TurnKey Vacation Rentals.

TurnKey, the third-largest, full-service vacation rental management company in the United States, emailed a poll to over 2,000 TurnKey guests from 2016 to better understand the impact vacation rentals have on the local economy. The study also examined the preferences and behaviors of TurnKey guests.

Among the survey’s key findings were:

  • Nearly three-fourths of respondents would not have come to South Lake Tahoe if short-term rental homes were not an option.
  • 99% of travelers stated that they thought they were respectful of the noise ordinance and the surrounding neighbors throughout their stay.
  • Guests traveled with six adults and two children with two cars on average.  
  • The 200+ respondents reported spending, collectively, approximately $250,000 on food, drinks, activities, and other expenses, not counting the amount they spent on their accommodations.

Based on the survey data, TurnKey estimates that its guests spend between $2.5-3 million per year in the local economy and vacation rental guests in South Lake Tahoe spend between $65-80 million annually.

The positive effects of vacation rentals in the City of South Lake Tahoe are numerous.

Not only do guests infuse money into the local economy through their spending, but vacation rental companies also provide employment to hundreds of local residents. These important jobs could vanish if the city imposed a moratorium on vacation rental permits. Furthermore, vacation rental homeowners often depend on this revenue to pay their mortgage, property taxes, and other costs.

The money vacation rental guests spend on their accommodations directly contributes to transient occupancy taxes in the City of South Lake Tahoe and helps pay for community services such as a planned new recreation center, competitive pool, and ball courts. In 2016, the income to the city from transient occupancy taxes charged to vacation rental guests was nearly $3 million, up from $2.5 million in 2015. This is a growing source of revenue for the City of South Lake Tahoe that should be protected.

According to Money Inc, the vacation rental industry is the fastest growing segment of the hospitality industry. Our survey indicates that vacation rentals attract guests who would not otherwise choose to visit South Lake Tahoe. The vacation rental industry generates additional traveler demand – it does not merely shift demand from hotels or bed and breakfasts.

The survey provides the city and residents of South Lake Tahoe with several insights regarding the behavior of vacation rental guests – most importantly, that vacation rental guests believe they are respectful of neighbors, particularly when it comes to parking and noise regulations.

TurnKey is committed to good neighbor practices in all markets and especially in South Lake Tahoe. We have the most strict guest screening program in the industry. We monitor and limit occupancy numbers by using decibel noise monitors and WiFi routers in each home.

Our local teams respond promptly 24/7 to any issue and regularly patrol our vacation rentals to ensure they are compliant.

Tourism is the bread and butter of South Lake Tahoe. It is our hope that South Lake Tahoe will work with the vacation rental industry to enforce existing regulations and to develop fair and reasonable regulations that will allow vacation rentals to continue to provide attractive accommodations for travelers, create local jobs, and support the local economy.

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