Kaua‘i County and the global travel platform Expedia Group entered into an agreement that would allow county officials to effectively track and regulate vacation rentals, while also providing a place for vacation rental operators to advertise their properties online.
On Thursday, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami announced the historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the county and Expedia Group, the parent company of the vacation rental site VRBO.com. The MOU is the first cooperative agreement between a travel platform and any government entity in Hawai‘i.
“I would like to thank Expedia Group and our Planning Department team, led by Director Ka‘āina Hull, for working together for nearly a year to clear a path for our visitors and responsible vacation rental owners,” said Kawakami. “Most importantly, this partnership will help the county more effectively enforce our vacation rental laws.”
This new agreement will provide responsible vacation rental owners and operators the ability to advertise on online travel platforms, and in turn, will require the platforms to provide information on vacation rentals to the county.
“Expedia Group thanks Mayor Kawakami and his team for their leadership and collaboration,” said Amanda Pedigo, vice president of government affairs at Expedia Group. “While this conversation began almost a year ago, the signing comes at a critical time as Kaua‘i takes steps towards the safe recovery of its visitor industry. Expedia Group is committed to continued collaboration with the Mayor’s office and community stakeholders in the months ahead.”
The MOU outlines new steps taken by vacation rental platforms, including:
1.Creating a mandatory field for displaying the government-issued Tax Map Key number (TMK) of each property. Without a TMK number on the listing, a property will not be allowed on the platform.
2.The TMK number will be published on the partner’s publicly facing property listing.
3.Any properties already on the platform will have 60 days after implementation to provide a TMK number or will be deactivated.
4.New properties will be required to provide their TMK before being able to list on a platform.
5.Expedia Group will engage in ongoing communications with the county, providing monthly reports of the TMK numbers of properties on its sites.
Vacation rentals provide unique value to visitors and to the local communities they serve, with visitors likely to invest their travel dollars in shopping local. This agreement is an important opportunity for responsible vacation-rental owners to open their doors and advertise their homes to visitors looking to explore all that Kaua‘i has to offer.
Read the full agreement in the document below.