Thinking of adding a hot tub or pool to your short-term rental? Or starting to allow pets? What about a washer and dryer? Adding in amenities to your vacation rental can help increase profitability - if they are the right ones.
Some amenities are a no-brainer add, as they are low cost or low effort with good returns. However, for the larger investments, more exploration is needed to determine if the amenities will pay off.
Let’s take a closer look at the 10 most popular amenities Airbnb lists on its platform:
- A pool
- A kitchen
- Free parking
- A jacuzzi
- A washer or dryer
- Air conditioning or heating
- Self check-in
- Laptop-friendly workspace
- Pets allowed
Using the latest data from Beyond, we can evaluate some of these short-term rental amenities to see how or if they impact rates. We compared listings in major markets across the U.S. to see how those with some of these amenities fared against those without.
Hottest Vacation Home Amenity: Hot Tubs
In almost every market we looked at, hot tubs were a winning amenity. In markets like Atlanta, Oahu, Los Angeles, and the North Carolina mountains, hosts and property managers are able to charge a 20-25% premium on listings with a hot tub compared to listings without one.
Considering that hot tubs can be a relatively easy installation and not too expensive, adding a one to your vacation rental might be a good idea. According to Consumer Affairs, a hot tub model costs between $500-$6500, and installation can range from as low as $100 to as high as $5500, depending on if you install an above-ground or in-ground tub. Depending on your total cost, your hot tub could pay for itself within a few months.
Next Up: Pools
Next up on our list of top amenities are swimming pools. In most of the markets that we looked at, property managers and hosts with pools in their vacation rentals charged a premium compared to those that do not. Home to popular vacation destinations in beach and mountain towns, New York property managers and hosts charged a 22% premium on their rentals with a pool. Sunny Los Angeles and San Diego are close behind, at 18% and 14% respectively.
Since the cost of adding a pool is so high and not every property can accommodate a pool, we certainly do not recommend that every host or property manager consider adding one. However, if you’re looking for a new property to invest in for a short-term rental, you might consider one with a pool as it may turn out to be more profitable.
Guest Appreciate Having a Washer & Dryer
The next amenity on our list that allows hosts and property managers to charge a premium are washers and dryers. Vacationers no doubt appreciate the opportunity to throw in a load of laundry while traveling - and they are willing to pay a higher rate for this amenity. New York comes in first place, with listings charging a 12% premium. Markets like the North Carolina Mountains, the Gulf Coast, Oahu, and San Diego all showed between a 3-6% premium. Adding a washer and dryer can certainly be a low-cost/low-effort add-on if your rental has washer/dryer hookups already.
Pets Allowed: It’s Complicated
Should you allow pets in your airbnb or vacation home? In our comparison, listings that allow pets don't seem to have much of a lift. However, there are some caveats to that observation. First, we may not be seeing that correlation because listings that allow pets might be in a more economical setting, while higher quality listings are a bit more restrictive around pets (due to damages/cost of cleaning). Another reason is due to how property managers and hosts work pet fees into their overall pricing, some include it in the overall nightly rate, some add on a separate fee, etc.
Considering that 68% of U.S. households own a pet and 37% of those animal owners travel with their pets every year (up by 19% over the last decade), allowing pets in your vacation rental might go a long way in attracting new bookings and might help increase your revenue. To help offset any potential damage or wear/tear to your rentals, you can consider charging a pet deposit in addition to a pet fee or an increased nightly price. Remember to ensure that your pet policy aligns with any local laws and the online travel agency (OTA), for example Airbnb or VRBO, that your listing is posted on.
These 5 “Standard” Amenities Do Not Provide Much Lift
Not all amenities translate into more revenue. Some amenities are seen as standard and expected to be included in most short-term rentals, which means that property managers did not charge a premium when we took a closer look. These amenities include:
- Cable TV
- Air conditioning
- Free parking on-premise
These amenities are still very important to include in your rental, and will go a long way in attracting travelers. Having strong WiFi and cable can help you capitalize on attracting the growing amount of remote workers traveling and living out of vacation rentals. A good air conditioning and heating system is crucial to ensuring that your guests can comfortably (and safely) enjoy your vacation rental. And if you are in a drive-to destination, having free parking goes a long way in standing out from other listings in your area.
How do you factor amenities into your overall pricing strategy? At Beyond, we are uniquely positioned to help you with your revenue management strategy. If you’d like more advice and tips, feel free to reach out to us for specific guidance or check our blog regularly for updates.