Letter to the Editor: Silverthorne’s vacation rental survey should be processed with caution | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Silverthorne’s vacation rental survey should be processed with caution

Julie Koster

I’m writing to urge caution in reading too much into results from Silverthorne’s recent survey on vacation rentals as described in the Oct. 17 article, “Silverthorne releases almost 150 pages of results from short-term rental survey.” I am also writing to urge our elected officials to take a step back before acting on the information.

The number of pages released is not a substitute for real-world data. It simply conveys the feelings of an audience who had the time, motivation and technical know-how to respond to the survey. For example, many questions start by asking respondents whether they “think” a certain policy action is necessary. Yet none of those questions provide context around the existing data, data in nearby or similar communities, and the pros and cons of the proposed actions.

Rather than basing decisions on information gleaned from the court of public opinion, our elected officials should instead base their decisions on the ample public data that is available to them. That includes license numbers, data on number of and length of stays, data on complaints, etc. 

At Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers, we pride ourselves on being a good community partner — and continue to offer to work with local governments to get them the information they need so that they can make informed decisions that do not have negative consequences (intended or unintended) for an industry that is a critical driver of jobs, visitors, and sales and lodging tax revenue in our resort communities.

Surveys are great for things that rely on public opinion, but when an entire industry is being painted as the boogeyman, that is not the best starting point. I urge our elected officials to work to get this right.

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