Big Bear Lake, CA
Big Bear Lake, a popular vacation destination during the winter and summer quickly became a year-round place to live and work remotely when the COVID pandemic struck. The rapid influx of permanent property owners and long-term renters overwhelmed local officials who for decades had relied on paper and mail based processes. With days spent on mailing and then manually processing registration and renewal documents for short-term rental properties, officials realized they needed a more efficient and convenient way to manage the city's rental property stock.
With a population of 5,200 and more than 2,600 vacation rental properties, the City of Big Bear, California has traditionally been a picturesque vacation destination with peak activity during the winter and summer months. For decades the municipality relied on a paper process for short-term rental property registrations, renewals, and constituent concern reporting. Property owners listing their homes on sites like Airbnb or Vrbo had to submit or mail in a filled in PDF rental property registration form and Transient Occupancy Tax forms. This highly inefficient process resulted in hours of paperwork for municipal staff, unrealized revenue, and math errors which necessitated rebate checks to be sent back to property owners - often for small amounts.
When the COVID pandemic hit, the city became a year-round home for property owners and long-term renters working remotely. The rapid and permanent influx of people strained the city’s ability to keep up with constituent concern reports, and rental property registrations - both of which had been conducted with paper and obsolete spreadsheets. Officials needed to digitize forms, accept online payments, and have the ability to quickly generate reports in order to share data with council members and constituents.
Big Bear Lake deployed GovPilot in February 2021 and officials as well as constituents were immediately able to see the value of the system. Constituents now register or renew short-term rental properties directly via digital forms on the municipal website where they are also able to upload required insurance documents and instantly pay associated fees. Renewal forms auto populate relevant information from the previous year adding convenience for constituents. Prior to GovPilot, staff manually prepared and mailed renewal forms and then had to manually enter the data when constituents mailed them back. Now that process is 100% digitized and happens automatically saving 24 days worth of time for staff.
With Report-a-Concern, constituents’ non-emergency concerns are now easily reported, tracked, and resolved, and the data is instantly formatted into reports that the municipality now posts monthly on its website for all to see. “Prior to GovPilot it would have been impossible to track fines and citations. We collected and resolved 1,700 complaints in one year with GovPilot - something that would have been impossible with a paper notebook”, said Director of Tourism Management, Lawrence Vaupel.