By Nicholas Tsontakis | Dwell Boldly
Why does sharing a space with Grant under a boulder in Utah cost seven times more than staying in Sally’s sewing room in Salt Lake? It is not bedroom count or cable TV: design makes the difference – a unique setting with inspired architecture helps Grant earn more than Sally. When searching for vacation rentals on the Airbnb website, a user can filter properties in several different ways. The second tab on the website is “OMG” which features unique homes for rent that are set apart based on their distinct design. The tab does not just feature luxury properties, it features properties with one-of-a-kind architecture. Most of these houses rent more based on quality design rather than bedroom count or other amenities. While there are different vacation rental strategies, one way to stand out in the competitive market of vacation rentals and command higher fees is to invest in distinctive architectural features and top-notch design.
Unique architecture sets your rental apart. While many vacation properties may have a similar layout or design, unique architectural elements such as a home in a grain silo, or a circular house with 360-degree views can make your property memorable to guests. These distinctive features not only create a lasting impression but also contribute to a one-of-a-kind experience, justifying higher rental fees. One clear example is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Norman Lykes house. Yes, Frank Lloyd Wright is probably the most famous American architect, but the house is so unique that it can command over $1100/night with only 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, and 3 beds while a more typical-looking home in a similar location that sleeps 14 guests with 5 bedrooms, 7 beds, and 4.5 baths rents for about $900 per night. In this example, the Frank Lloyd Wright house even discounts $300 per night for a weekly stay. While it may sometimes be difficult to spend money upfront on design, it can certainly pay later in the vacation rental space. Just like the exterior of the home can boost rates, well-designed interiors must match the architecture.
$1,495 per night ($1,121 with weekly discount)
$930/per night (No weekly discount)
Quality design can greatly enhance the overall guest experience. A well-thought-out interior design that complements the home’s architecture, can make spaces feel more inviting and richer. It often pays to be different. A look into two examples on the Airbnb website, one with a nice, but typical-looking interior vs. one that has exposed metal beams and exposed block, shows that a house that looks as intriguing on the exterior as it does on the interior can rent for much higher. See photos below – the mid-century inspired home that celebrates the home’s structure and materials rents for more than $200 per night than one that looks like so many other homes. Both homes have similar ratings and similar bedroom counts in similar locations, the difference is in the design. This goes beyond just creating a nice, comfortable space; when good design meets good architecture it makes people feel special and will elevate their vacation experience. When guests feel special, they are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your property to others, which translates to higher rental fees and a steady stream of bookings.
When it comes to vacation rentals in Phoenix, unique architecture combined with complementary design commands higher fees. These factors set your property apart and can create a memorable guest experience. So, on your next investment, remember that staying with Grant under a boulder will always outearn Sally’s craft room.
Scenarios based on a stay from November 1 to November 9, 2023.
All photos were taken from the following Airbnb website listings: