With an extensive background in economic development, Denis Hanks uses his expertise to revolutionize the way property owners provide lodging for Florida’s tourists.
Annually, the Florida vacation rental market is a $31 billion industry. Within that revenue, nearly 50 percent of Florida’s 116 million tourists stay in alternative lodging. This is where Hanks, the executive director for the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association (FVRMA), comes in.
Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association
In 2013, Hanks and his wife contemplated renting out their vacation home when they returned up north each year. “I just happened to stumble upon the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, which had a position for an executive director. After several calls and meetings I took the role and we moved to Florida permanently,” he says.
Soon Hanks found himself with another opportunity: executive director of the statewide Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association. Realizing the two organizations were performing similar operations, Hanks led the efforts to merge them. Within seven months, the two became one. Today there are five regions that comprise the FVRMA with a sixth chapter in the plans.
Now, with an executive director in place for the first time in 20 years, Hanks realized an immediate need. With over 300 online platforms offering vacation options for tourists worldwide and thousands of homes around the state for rent by homeowners, he discovered a massive gap in education and efficiency in the system.
Quickly correcting the problem, an affordable association membership level was offered to any vacation rental owner. Providing access to the organization helped owners take advantage of all of the association’s education and benefits, enabling them to become compliant and successful in their business endeavors.
“All of our programs are designed to provide the knowledge and expertise to grow in the fast-paced Florida vacation rental industry,” Hanks says. “Much of what we do is best practices that have been perfected and have worked well for years by our industry leaders.”
Twenty-five percent of the entire U.S. market of vacation rentals is in Florida, making FVRMA the leader nationally in all aspects of vacation rentals. As Hanks and the association focus on further professionalizing the industry, programs such as full-time government affairs services and lobbying projects to protect its members and the industry have become top priority.
Along with establishing the Vacation Rental Managers MBA (meaningful business acumen) program, Hanks is also passionate about defending the private property rights associated with short-term rentals that each owner in the state of Florida deserves under the constitution. “Many communities are trying to restrict the right to rent to tourists in second homes/vacation rentals, which supports our number one Florida industry: tourism,” Hanks says.
He explains that homes have become the go-to for weddings, family reunions and family vacations because they allow several generations to stay together. By raising awareness in the industry, Hanks and the association’s efforts have resulted in the establishment of vacation home rental properties to its rightful place in the tourism industry and produced tremendous economic impact in our communities.