There’s so much to consider when setting up a new short-term rental unit, from layouts to furniture to amenities. 

In a recent webinar, Nectar hosted a panel discussion about setting up your STR to maximize your ROI. Each speaker has an expert perspective on the STR industry and is a leader at a company that’s built unique solutions for other STR owners and operators:

  • Jamie Lane: Vice president of research at AirDNA, a global analytics company focused on the STR sector. 
  • Jeff Iloulian: Co-founder and CEO of HostGPO, a group purchasing organization that helps members save on furniture, linens, and more. 
  • Derrick Barker: Co-founder and CEO of Nectar, a company that provides cash flow financing to experienced STR operators 

During the webinar, Derrick, Jeff, and Jamie shared some of their own experiences with setting up STR units, offered advice to other operators, and explained how their products can help you increase your ROI even further. 

How to Choose Amenities for Your STR Unit

Adding amenities to your STR unit can significantly increase your ROI, but it’s important to do your research so you can strategically select the ones that will add the most value. 

This will largely depend on where your unit is located. For example, Lane pointed out that hot tubs can be a key differentiator for units in mountain areas like North Georgia. 

“It really depends on the market. As you look around, why are people going to that market? Are certain things you can add to your property going to add to that?” Lane asked. “In certain markets [an amenity] adds a lot, and in others it doesn’t.”

Ilouian also reminded the audience to not overlook small additions like a microwave or an Airbnb. These amenities can help you rank higher on Airbnb or Vrbo, since people will sometimes filter by the amenities they want in a unit. 

Factors that Impact Your ROI

When thinking about the amenities that could have the most impact on your ROI, it’s important to consider multiple data points.

Certain amenities, like being pet friendly, will increase your occupancy rates. Others, like having a hot tub, can increase your ADR.

It’s also important to consider the ongoing costs of adding a certain amenity, including insurance premiums and upkeep. 

“For example, if it’s something as easy as clicking ‘we are pet friendly,’ that’s not necessarily something you have to invest in,” Ilouian explained. “But then you want to think about things like, what 's that going to your furniture, what’s that going to do to your ongoing cost?”

Barker also reminded the audience to consider the amount of time it will take to set up a new amenity.

“ROI is not just occupancy and ADR. Time offline makes a big difference also,” he shared. “Think about investments that won’t take you off market, so you won’t have a vacancy increase.” 

Choosing Your Furniture with ROI in Mind

When purchasing furniture for your new unit, the most important thing is to invest in items that will last. 

“Talking with professional hosts about what did they regret most when starting their rental was going out and buying a whole bunch of stuff from Ikea and then having to replace it all within that first year, and regretting not making a larger investment or even a different investment for their property,” Lane shared.

“Buy nice not thrice is what we always say,” Ilouian agreed. “This is an investment at the end of the day, so if you’re going to do it, do it.”

He also encouraged the audience to focus on finding the investment pieces that will add the most value to your unit, and then marketing those with great photos and a prominent position in your listing. 

“Instead of thinking ‘how much should I spend?’ focus on ‘no matter how much I’m spending, what’s the most important thing i should spend on? Look at what is important and necessary for your market. Is that a firepit? Is it a jacuzzi? Is it going luxury versus going basic?"