Themed Vacation Rentals: Turning a Property Into an Experience

Differentiation is a key pillar of any short-term rental business. With the rise in Airbnb and vacation rentals, we’re seeing more supply come online. Despite the short-term negative consequences of the pandemic on the industry, this real estate asset class bounced back nicely, thanks to a dramatic rise in domestic travel.

With mass vaccination imminent, many Airbnb and short-term rental managers are starting to think more strategically about their business and properties. For those looking to pivot, turning your Airbnb into a themed rental may be a good differentiation opportunity.

Indeed, Airbnb is all about experiences; tours, classes, hikes, and the list goes on. But with the onset of the pandemic, many had to rethink and retool their offerings. Something to consider: What if you could use a theme to make the property itself feel like an experience? Let’s take a closer look at the Airbnb themed trend and if it’s worth considering for investors.

Airbnb themed rentals: The blueprint

You’re limited only by your own creativity when it comes to applying themes to your Airbnb rentals. Many managers use their local setting to influence how they theme their rentals. For instance, in New Orleans, you may have a Mardi Gras-themed rental. Or, in a rental near Disney, you’ll find more princess- and superhero-themed rentals.

The idea is to pick a theme with some underlying meaning based on your neighborhood, city, or country that will draw guests to rent your unit. If you’re renting out a cabin or boathouse, for example, you may want to theme your unit around nature or something nautical to be consistent with the locale.

Keeping this in mind, here are the steps to consider when thinking about adding a theme to your Airbnb rentals.

Step 1: Pick your theme

Carefully consider where your rental is located and what themes may appeal to guests traveling to your location. Do you live near a beach? A ski hill? Or city attractions like a famous museum, gallery, or historical site? All these can factor into the type of theme you pick for your rental.

Step 2: Decorate

You’ll then need to intertwine your chosen theme into all that’s visible on your property. The furniture, art, accessories, kitchenware, and so on can all serve to reinforce the theme you’ve chosen. For instance, if you’re near a famous historical site, you may want to incorporate furniture from that time period, as well as period art and decorations.

Step 3: Online branding and marketing

After you’ve decided on your theme and decorated your rental, it’s time to start marketing your property. You’ll want to capture the essence of your themed Airbnb rental with pictures, videos, and a story as to why you’ve chosen this theme. Your marketing can even factor into the chosen theme, describing your rental through storytelling.

Airbnb themed rentals: Examples

Need some inspiration for your Airbnb themed rentals? Consider some of the following real-world examples to get the creative juices flowing.

  • Bubble House, California
  • Wonder Haus, Colorado
  • Riverboat, Connecticut
  • The Seashell House, Mexico
  • The Boardgame House, Florida
  • Disney House, Florida
  • The AirShip, U.K.
  • Gingerbread House, California
  • Windmill, The Netherlands
  • Brandy Bus, Kenya
  • Bamboo Cottage, Indonesia

The bottom line

For Airbnb hosts, the time is now to consider adding a theme to one of your rentals. It’s a great way to differentiate your offering and have a little fun at the same time. All it takes is a bit of creativity and some redesign work. There’s a niche for every type of themed rental — you just need to find one that works with your location, personality, and target demographic.

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