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About the STR Certification Course

This course was developed after public officials in Las Vegas asked Julie Davies if she knew of any accredited courses for the vacation home/STR industry. When they investigated the educational resources, they found some webinars that promoted products or companies and a lot of dangerously flawed webinars and blogs, but there were no courses within accredited settings specifically designed to educate about best practices for this emerging industry


Officials asked Julie to write and teach an STR course, and she did so. She enlisted a knowledgeable Millennial to round out her experience using time-honored best practices, and they added innovations and changes within this emerging industry. After testing the curriculum in 2017 (earning excellent reviews from seasoned professionals and officials), Julie contacted the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) and presented the curriculum. After months of Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) academic review and documentation, educators determined that there was a community need for this education, and they rolled out the Course within academic settings in February 2018.


As City officials reviewed STR licenses and permit applications, they saw a marked positive difference in STR Certification Course graduates, so other Planning Commissioners and City Council Members strongly recommended or mandated the course for many applicants. Several municipalities have approved the course for their education requirement for all STR registration/license homeowner/applicants (and their applicable designated local contacts/property managers). Other cities strongly encourage STR permit holders and managers to complete this respected certification course.


Regulations lack action verbs and detailed explanations that tell hosts why they should be compliant, how to do it, and what it will do for their profitability. This class answers questions that save city staff time, and it gives hosts and managers practical tools to be more code-compliant and neighborhood-friendly.

Other colleges and universities recognized the need for this education in their communities. They added the course to their continuing education catalogs in the professional-level 2-day live and online version in classrooms, the self-study e-course version, and hybrid versions. It is also approved as a semester-long course within Hospitality Management or Business Management degree programs. Real Estate Divisions and Cities requested a short course (4 hours) that covers the essentials needed to work with or govern this often misunderstood industry.

Due to the approved real estate CE in certain states, this innovative live course has had regulation class sessions offered in city offices and real estate division classrooms --- but it has been available in other locations, too! This course is offered within Accredited Higher Education Institutions, Cities, Real Estate Divisions, and respected Associations without influence-pushing sponsors or commercial endorsements, which keeps the content secure from special interests and greatly reduces the cost of this vital education.

And now it is offered within Hospitality Management and Business Degree programs in some universities (as a semester-long for-credit class). 


Whether you own, manage, sell, or reserve nights at a vacation rental home or homeshare, this course is a great way to learn about this alternate lodging option. Improve your profits and earn more 5-Star reviews----for less than the cost of a short reservation!

Why did we develop this course and agree to give so much of our time to provide it? It was partly due to the repeated requests from public officials who recognized that a few hosts know what they're doing, but too many hosts make disruptive mistakes because they simply don't know how to host well. The course authors also received numerous calls from hosts, managers, and realtors who were in serious trouble --- and it was usually a costly problem that could have been avoided if they had received quality vacation home/STR education (these calls included reported hefty fines for not being properly licensed or for not following STR regulations; fines for the bad behavior of guests in STR homes and neighborhoods; lawsuits; costly damage to their homes; injured guests; disputes with the hosting platforms; even some tragic deaths; ... and hosts who lacked sufficient income to cover the expense of hosting a home or room because they simply didn't know what they were doing or were following bad advice). This course reviews applicable laws, best practices, and innovative tools and tips that every host and property manager needs to know to stay out of trouble and develop more profitable businesses!

Universities put this course through stringent academic reviews before holding it within accredited higher education institutions. Real Estate Divisions also put the course through reviews before allowing CE for course graduates. And publishing a textbook required legal and content reviews--- all of which it passed. This is not just a simple webinar, podcast, or seminar. This is a college-level course, complete with an acclaimed textbook! (The same textbook is also used in semester-long courses within degree programs. The 2-day live course and e-course versions are for industry professionals, but both versions use the textbook. Graduates report that it is an ongoing reference tool they use for their businesses).

Course graduates rate this course with the highest scores and consistently click the evaluation box saying that they would recommend the education to other hosts, property managers, realtors, vendors, municipal leaders, and investors. Learn time-honored short-term rental industry 'best practices' along with laws and tips about innovations that help hosts better communicate with and monitor guests, keep more of the profits, and become more neighborhood-friendly.

This course qualifies for Real Estate CE in some states due to the critical need for real estate professionals to understand this emerging industry. Realtors who don't know zoning requirements, and the difference between traditional property management and short-term rental contracts/procedures are causing problems for themselves and their clients. We offer the 4-hour seminar for those who need to know these key differences, how to find the laws and zoning requirements, and essential best practices. This short class is great for brokers and officials. But those realtors who actually manage or specialize in STRs need the full course.

Universities and real estate divisions set the tuition price so the cost of the course varies between $275 and $550 per student (the price includes tuition, instruction, testing, references to the renowned textbook, and course materials). This is a valuable, cost-effective investment in your STR business! Owners and Managers from every US state and from many countries have completed this course.

When you earn the certification, you can use the honored STR Certification Seal to show that you have taken your knowledge and commitment to a professional level! We've lost count of the number of countries where course graduates host and manage STRs.  And many guests look for the STR Certification seal when they're making reservations.

Space is limited in live class sessions, so register early!  (Classes fill quickly and academic institutions usually close registration a week before the course date for live courses).

If you don't see a date that works for you, we can usually add a class date with the commitment of a minimum of 20 registrants. Get together with your associates and contact Julie about scheduling a convenient session for you!

Vacation Rental Management 411

At first, the STR Certification Course used a student manual, but universities asked for a textbook. So Julie enlisted Breanne Ellis to co-author Vacation Rental Management 411, which was published through iUniverse. The textbook contains the time-honored "wisdom of experience" from Julie's decades of lodging management experience (including B&Bs and STRs) and teaching background. It also includes the innovative and tech-minded approach of a Millennial who is well-versed in hospitality management and global enterprise with a special interest in social media marketing as well as STR management. The two perspectives match the strengths and opportunities within this often misunderstood and emerging industry.

Some universities include the textbook in the tuition and curriculum fee, which students may find convenient. Other institutions require students to purchase the textbook in addition to the course tuition (they say they want students to have a choice, but most course graduates report that they use the textbook often as a reference in running their businesses).

Students who want the textbook can order a textbook from a variety of sources (including the authors through this website) in softcover, Kindle, and ebook versions:

  • From iUniverse (the publisher) 


It's about quality education for an emerging industry.

Some notes about the course and this site:

  • When we offer courses within accredited higher education institutions, there are rules we all must follow.

  • We don't disclose student information unless we have permission from the student (or if their information is available outside of academia). We follow federal privacy laws.

  • We do not share contact information submitted through this site's contact page. We may send an email. If you do not wish to receive information, simply ask to be removed from the mailing list.

  • We do not recommend or endorse products or services. Any mention of a company or brand may simply be and example for education purposes---it is not an endorsement. We encourage students to do their own research before using any product or service, or before making any business or personal decision.

  • This site is for information sharing. Again, any businesses listed are not endorsed or recommended (it is just allowing students to share information). If you have a problem with a business or service included on this site, please contact the site administrator so we can investigate and perhaps remove the content.

  • In the blog comments, we ask that posts contain accurate, civil, and positive messages using words and examples that would not offend others.

  • If any product or service is provided for review by a site administrator, it will be disclosed on this page. We do not allow for sponsors of the Certification Course. This strict policy keeps the content secure and trustworthy.

  • The authors of Vacation Rental Management 411 and some of the instructors are site administrators. 


" The vacation rental class exceeded my expectations! The class, taught by Julie Davies, provided a warm and friendly atmosphere where students were able to learn the extensive curriculum, as well as exchange ideas, experiences and support. I hope CSN continues to offer this course on a monthly basis. Learning guidelines and standards are essential to help professionalize this emerging industry. " Paula Caballero, Realer and International Property Manager; Reserve with Paula; and President of the Nevada Vacation Rental Professionals (NVRP, a VRMA Affiliate)

"This is a very complete class for someone interested in STR. A MUST TAKE!"

from CSN Student Evaluation

"Excellent, Excellent, Excellent! Loved it!"

from DSU Student Evaluation

"This course was even fun! And a learned a lot of things I need to know. Great class!"

from DSU Student Evaluation

From the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) Student Evaluations of the STR Certification 2-Day Course----the blue is "Exceeded  Expectations."  Top ratings!

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"Thank you so much!! Really enjoyed your class! The best class I've ever taken, I must say (UNLV 2007 graduate)."

Miranda, STR Owner and Host

"Why didn't I learn this stuff sooner?!! It would have been so much better. This class saved my business during COVID-19 cancellations. I never had a budget before and I was only using Airbnb. But I survived and now I'm back at great rates and good guests. Thanks!"

JD Barker, STR Owner, four homes in Arizona

Spent $3,000 on a webinar that I thought was okay until I took this $340 2-day class. It was ten times better! And it didn't have commercials. Knowing how to find the laws saved me from buying a house I couldn't rent to guests (the webinar didn't talk about any laws). The class has been my best investment yet for running my successful vacation homes!

Johnny D from Los Angeles

What can I say. I'm surprised by how much I learned in class. My favorite parts were about the laws and the marketing. My calendars are so much better and I'm already making more money and spending less on expenses. I changed my decorating, too and love having themes. Great great class!

Jen Fellows, Texas and Oregon Superhost

" I’ve been hosting guests in my homes for 12 years. Even though you think you know it all by now….you don’t! From the legality aspect to the small amenities making the most impact with your guests, this class runs the gamut of advising you on how to operate a short-term rental with professionalism and class! Highly recommended! This class is a must for anyone in the hospitality industry; I highly recommend this small investment to better your business."  

Mike Jensen, long-time licensed Vacation Home/STR owner, and International Travel Broker

"I learned more information in 2-days from this class than I learned as a full-time college student! Great Class!"

from CSN Student Evaluation

"Dreaded the 2-day /8-hour thing, but it went fast! Class well organized. I'd say almost not enough too short when classmates participate. I want to learn even more from her!"

from CSN Student Evaluation

"I didn't know how much I didn't know! No wonder I haven't been making money. Now I can! Thank you!"

from UVU Student Evaluation

"I came to class because I had to get registered and I wasn't happy about this being required to pay for a class. I have six homes and over 300 great reviews! By lunch the first day, I had learned enough new tips that I wanted the class to go on for a week! And it just got better (until the test, but I aced it). I thought I was doing great, but it has boosted my profits and I'm having more fun with my business and less worries. It's well worth every penny and every minute in class. I want more!"

Jeni Chang, STVR owner, manager, and traveler

"I learned more about marketing than I did on getting my MBA! Practical information that could apply to any business, but especially to STR management. I would take classes from this teacher."

George Roman, Investment Banker and STR Owner

"The self-study class went by quicker than I thought it would. Great information in the lectures and book. I hadn't taken a test in years, so I was nervous. But it was what I learned, so I did it. I couldn't have opened my STR without this class. I wish my idiot neighbor would take it and stop having party guests. He doesn't know what he's doing and it's hurting my business."

Selia Gomez, California host and Oregon STR owner, too.

I took the class when I was quarantined in Thailand during COVID-19. It was great to be able to be in discussions with other students and the virtual discussion with Julie was incredible! She answered every question and cares about our businesses (and our favorite ice cream flavors). Thanks much!

Roni Lu, STR investor in three countries (now with great managers and profitable STRs because of the class)

I thought I was going to be a host but in class I learned that my house wouldn't qualify. I was devastated. But the best thing was Julie's help to see that I could make a business out of decorating and staging other people's STRs in Florida and Alabama. I love it and it's been profitable. Now I have two employees. Thanks, Julie and Breanne!

Candice Crawford  

" My Wife and I have had Rental Cabins in Duck Creek Village, UT since 2009, and “thought” that we were well versed on the business, (until attending this class last weekend). 
We learned many things from Julie’s presentations, as well as from networking with fellow attendees. I highly recommend this class to anyone who is currently running an STR, or plan on running one in the future.... 👍" 

Doug Williams'‎ post on Facebook Short Term Rental Management Education

" The Certification class was very informative. Instructor Julie knows her stuff as a successful host. Hoping this class becomes a requirement for future STR hosts. 5 stars!"  New host, Syd Barcenas posted this on the Facebook page: Short Term Rental Management Education



"Every day is an education with your guests. This class goes into every tiny little detail you need and should know about hosting guests in your home. A definite must for anyone thinking of getting into this business!"  Posted by Airbnb Superhost on Facebook Short Term Rental Management Education 

"I came to class with a few questions but thought I knew everything. I left with answers and I learned a lot! Worth every dollar and every minute"

from UCF Student Evaluation

"The course was absolutely wonderful.  So happy I took the course.  After taking the course and working in the STR world for the past three years, I feel it is not enough to have a property management permit to conduct this business.  The Hospitality world is very different than Long Term property management.  Tenants versus guests.  Anyway, thank you for creating the course and sharing your knowledge!"


Robyn Yates / Broker CEO

Nevada Real Estate License B-036750

"I wasn't making good money from my Airbnb---Wait! I used the wrong term---my STR. Knowing that one truth has made a big difference for my STR---and more! Now my small business is profitable beyond what I thought possible. I enjoy hosting. I'm licensed. And my neighbors like me now. 5 star reviews! Thank you, Julie!"

Jo Chen, Superhost/Owner 6 STRs

"I took the class because I was required by the City after being a host for six years. Didn't think I needed it. But it changed my business! Great class! Every STR manager should take this class!" 

Roger Daley, STR Owner and Property Manager 

"Didn't want to take the class but needed to. Then I learned a ton of stuff and I'm glad I had to take it. I want to learn more. You need to hold a Part II class!"

Justin Rollins, New Jersey host and Florida vacation home owner (five homes)

About the Authors

Julie Davies is considered an international expert in the intricacies of the vacation home/short-term rental (STR) industry. She opened her first Bed & Breakfast Inn more than 30 years ago while also managing hotels. Her family's most recent STR purchase was in 2021. Julie's experience as a 5-Star host and property manager, along with several decades of teaching hospitality and business management within Accredited Higher Education Institutions, allows her to teach about time-honored best practices and innovations for this emerging industry from profitable experience and trusted research. And government officials are finding her help with STR regulations invaluable. The textbook, Vacation Rental Management 411, is used in university degree courses, a 2-day intensive course for professionals, an online self-study course, real estate continuing education, and lecture tours.


Breanne Ellis grew up in hotels and inns and has traveled to nearly every continent, immersing herself in diverse customs and cultures. She received her ATA in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management when she was sixteen years old and was one of the youngest professionals to earn her Certified Culinarian designation. Breanne went on to earn degrees in Spanish and a Master of Science in International Affairs and Global Enterprise. She earned international awards for academic papers and research on social media and destination marketing. She organized Study Abroad programs and enjoys helping students immerse themselves in local cultures through their studies and work. Breanne brings the Millennial perspective to the creation of Vacation Rental Management 411 and the accompanying university courses that teach time-honored best practices and technology-based innovations within the vacation home/short-term rental industry.

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