It’s normal for any vacation rental to need time to develop—it’s a living organism, so to speak, that must adjust to the demands of the market. Additionally, managing a rental can be daunting for newbie owners, as they must assess the amenities of their competitors’ properties and then evaluate what they can reasonably afford.
With that being said, I often get asked by vacation rental managers which amenities can help drive maximum profit (by way of increased rates), regardless of the owners’ duration in business.
Our friends at Tripping.com, the world’s largest search engine for vacation rentals, provided us data taken from ten cities in the U.S. to get a better understanding of this question. In general, a hot tub and killer outdoor space, conducive of al fresco dining, add the most value per night (per room).
Why These Amenities?
“Kitchen” in this data set refers to access to a private kitchen, which logically, is a huge selling point. Travelers often choose to book a vacation rental instead of a hotel to have kitchen access. It’s a mandatory feature and often the focal point in the most successful rentals.
In addition to a kitchen, which allows guests to prepare and share food without having to eat at a restaurant, guests look for space and amenities that help them relax leisurely- something that outdoor space, pools, and hot tubs all do.
A Closer Look at These 10 Cities
If we look at the ten cities independently, we see that the amenities contribute to a different value add, depending on the location. For example, we see that a hot tub is a great investment in Miami Beach and New York City but not in Chicago.
Although a pool on average drives the lowest increase, it provides the highest value increase when compared to the other four amenities, in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Which Amenity is the Best?
I think this data is a great gage, but ultimately, owners need to understand what will drive connection (between your guests in your home, to your home, and to the location), comfort, and enhance the overall experience you offer your guests.
If you are outside of these ten cities, research what your competitors offer in your local market then determine if your findings fit into your “brand”. Instead of choosing an amenity because it seems like a cool idea, think of such additions as an investment that should support your overall business strategy to get the highest return.
I’m also a fan of leaning on the hotel industry—they obviously have a bigger research budget so research amenities at those targeting your guest demographic in your city. Borrow the information as you see fit and can afford.
Lastly, don’t underestimate good ‘ol common sense. In addition to considering your guests’ needs, it is important to consider the weather and also the logistcs and costs associated with maintaining these amenities.