Have you always been intrigued by short-term rental investing to generate passive income? You’ve heard tales of individuals reaping financial gains on their real estate investments, and you’re excited to get started in this potentially rewarding market. But where do you begin?

    I’ll explore short-term rental investing in this guide, including what sets these properties apart from traditional long-term rentals and how to navigate local regulations and restrictions. I’ll also discuss managing your property successfully and maximizing revenue through pricing strategies and guest experience enhancements.  

    For experienced real estate investors and newbies alike, these insights will equip you to thrive in short-term rental investing. Let’s dive in!


    • Short term rental properties can be a profitable investment — you need to be aware of the risks.
    • Before investing in a short term rental, consider location, property type, competition, and zoning regulations.
    • Once you have purchased a vacation rental, you must manage it effectively to maximize your profits.
    • Management includes marketing the property, providing excellent customer service, and keeping up with maintenance.

    What is a Short Term Rental Property?

    Let’s start with the basics. A short term rental is a furnished real estate property rented temporarily, usually to vacationers or business travelers.

    Short term rental properties offer an alternative to traditional hotels and accommodations, catering to people who prefer more personalized lodging experiences with the comforts of home. In places like Scottsdale, Arizona, the real estate market for these properties has grown significantly since 2020.

    Globally, short term properties make up 20% of the entire rental market.



    Key Features of Short Term Rental Properties

    • Furnished living spaces: from cozy studios to spacious villas.
    • Amenities like Wi-Fi, kitchens, laundry facilities, and sometimes even pools.
    • Rented on a daily or weekly basis through platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

    Types of Properties Used As Vaction Rentals

    When it comes to short term rentals, your property possibilities are endless. Offer a sleek downtown loft for urban adventurers or a cozy lakefront cabin for nature lovers.

    Houses and apartments are prime for family reunions or buddy getaways. Quaint cottages provide off-the-grid tranquility. Even unique spots like tiny homes or treehouses guarantee Insta-worthy trips.

    With short term rental properites real estate investors can cash in on travelers’ ever-growing lust for memorable stays. The income potential is sky-high compared to long-term leases. But don’t kick back just yet – STRs require more work.

    You’ll still deal with taxes, repairs, cleaning…all the nuts and bolts of maintaining a property. Finding a top-notch property management team is key to handling logistics and maximizing earnings.

    With the right property type and support team, short term rental property investing can be an absolute goldmine. Ready to pick the perfect spot and start reaping rental rewards?


    The Allure of Short Term Rentals for Renters

    So, what’s the appeal of short term rentals? Ask any guest – it’s all about freedom and ease.

    Unlike signing a rigid year-long lease, short term rentals let you change plans on a whim. Stay a few nights a few weeks, or bounce around new destinations every month. The flexibility is a breath of fresh air.

    And who wants the headache of cramped hotel rooms when you can enjoy homey amenities at the click of a button? Travelers crave convenience – they want spacious suites, kitchens to cook, laundry, and way more room to relax.

    Short term rentals deliver that flexibility and convenience in a way traditional rentals and hotels simply can’t. The comforts of home combined with the freedom of mobility – it’s easy to see why demand is skyrocketing!


    Advantages over Hotel Accommodations

    You might be wondering what sets short term rentals apart from hotels.

    • Fully-equipped kitchens for home-cooked meals? Check.
    • In-unit laundry facilities? You bet.
    • A cozy living space that feels like home? Absolutely.

    All these amenities make short term rentals perfect for extended stays or group travel.

    Target Markets for Short-Term Rentals

    The appeal of short term rentals isn’t limited to just one type of traveler.  They are an attractive option across various demographics, including:

    • Vacationers seeking a local experience.
    • Business travelers who need temporary housing during assignments.
    • Families relocating and needing a place while house hunting.

    Globally, 450 million people utilize vacation rentals, with 38 million of those users residing in the United States.

    Investing in Short Term Rentals

    So, you’re considering diving into the world of short term rental investing? I see that glint in your eye – you’re itching to snag that first income-pumping short term rental property! I know the feeling.

    But here’s the thing: dive in without doing your homework, and you could end up with a major headache instead of a moneymaker. Let’s chat about the essentials to consider first.

    As experienced real estate investors know….real estate investing always requires diligence. And vacation rental properties come with their own unique checklist before pulling the trigger. So let’s dig in and keep that dream of easy profits alive! Knowledge first, profits later.

    Assessing Potential ROI on Your Investment

    As with all real estate investments, you need to assess the ROI of any property you’re considering. Examine price, expected rental income, occupancy rates, and operating expenses.  Use an analytics tool like Mashvisor or AirDNA to gather this data.

    Choosing the Right Type of Property

    The property type plays a significant role in determining its success as a rental property. 

    You’ll want to consider location (proximity to tourist attractions or business centers), size and layout (think family-friendly or couple retreats), amenities, and the overall real estate market. Work with a local real estate agent who can provide guidance on your local real estate market.

    A great location example is right where I live in Scottsdale, Arizona! For 2023, we are the top city for short term rentals in the U.S. Factors like weather, amenities, and outdoor activities make Scottsdale a popular destination for travelers and investors.   

    Location Matters.

    Research local demand patterns – are there seasonal fluctuations? Are certain events driving up bookings? Knowing this will help optimize pricing strategies and maximize cash flow from your short term rental. You can use dynamic pricing tools to help you do this automatically.

    Making Your Property Stand Out From The Crowd
    • Offer unique features or amenities that cater to your target market.
    • Create an eye-catching listing with high-quality photos and a compelling description.
    • Ensure excellent customer service by being responsive, attentive, and accommodating to guests’ needs.

    Before you start listing your property on platforms like Airbnb or VRBO, it’s crucial to understand the local regulations governing vacation rentals in your area. You don’t want any unexpected fines or penalties.

    Common Restrictions on STR Operations

    Different markets have different rules, so let’s break down some common restrictions:

    • Zoning laws: Some areas may only allow vacation rentals in specific zones or neighborhoods.
    • Rental caps: There might be limits on how many days per year a property can be rented out as a vacation rental.
    • Licensing requirements: You may need a special permit or license to operate short term rentals legally.
    • Taxes and fees: Be prepared for additional taxes and fees associated with running vacation rentals.

    Compliance with Zoning Ordinances

    Avoid legal hiccups by researching zoning ordinances before investing in a property for short-term rental purposes. 

    Contacting your local government office is always a good starting point. They can provide a helpful guide on navigating local regulations for vacation rentals. Stay up to date on changes in your area.

    For example, some of the more recent regulations were introduced in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    Managing Short Term Rentals For Success

    Alright, let’s dive in. To make vacation rentals thrive you need to master the art of property management. Here are some actionable tips:

    Marketing Your Rental property on Booking Platforms

    Step #1: Choose popular platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, or

    Step #2: Create a catchy listing title that highlights the unique features of your property. Need some help here? Try using ChatGPT to help with titles or a listing generator this this one from PriceLabs:

    PriceLabs listing generator

    Step #3: Use high-quality photos showcasing different angles and spaces within the rental unit. Consider hiring professional services like Airbnb’s photography service or a local photographer in your market.

    Handling Guest Communications and Customer Service

    Prompt responses are key. Aim for a response time of less than an hour to inquiries or issues. Create a comprehensive guidebook for guests detailing local attractions, restaurants, and house rules. This will save you from answering repetitive questions.

    Guidebook templates are available on Etsy, or you can utilize the built-in functionalities of Airbnb’s platform. If you’re interested, here’s a video on how to create a guidebook using the Airbnb platform.

    Maintenance and Property Upkeep

    Well-maintained short term rentals are more likely to have repeat bookings and positive reviews.  Stay ahead by scheduling regular inspections and maintenance tasks—cleanliness matters. Hire professional cleaning services between guest stays to ensure a spotless experience every time.

    Consider hiring a property manager to inspect and check on the property.  Or, use a service like Turno to coordinate housekeeping.

    Steady Cash Flow from Your Short Term Rental

    There are several operational, technology and marketing tactics that can help you maximize your vacation rental cash flow. Areas you should consider include dynamic pricing, ways to enhance the guest experience and ways to optimize your listing so that your property shows up when guests are looking for places to stay.

    Dynamic Pricing Strategies

    Dynamic pricing is the secret ingredient to successful vacation rental investing. I also leverage similar tools in my hotel business. Without a tool like this, it would be impossible for me to stay on top of the necessary information and analysis required to set nightly rates effectively.

    Enhance your revenue potential in the short term rental industry with an investment in a dynamic pricing tool. These advanced tools utilize data-driven techniques to optimize pricing and maximize profitability. By adjusting rates based on factors like seasonality, local events, and market demand, you can stay competitive and achieve optimal returns.

    Beyond pricing homepage

    Enhancing Guest Experience

    A happy guest equals a glowing review, increasing visibility and bookings. You can help your property stand out by offering unique amenities and incredible customer service.

    To truly add value to your guests’ experience, consider offering a range of convenient amenities and services. Imagine providing the convenience of bike rentals for guests to explore the area at their leisure or even offering hassle-free airport transfers, ensuring a smooth transition to and from your property.

    By going above and beyond to enhance their stay, you can make a lasting impression and create a truly memorable experience for your guests. This is key for building strong relationships and eventually driving direct bookings through your own short-term rental direct booking website in the future.

    Create a memorable customer experience by consistently delivering exceptional customer service. Be highly responsive, showing genuine friendliness and going the extra mile to exceed expectations. Consider using software like Host Tools to help you manage guest communication.


    Airbnb SEO: How to Get your listing seen?

    Ensure your property stands out by optimizing its listing on rental property platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. Metrics and information that these platforms consider that apply to your property’s visibility include:

    Optimize your listing title and description: Use relevant keywords that guests will likely search for when looking for accommodations. Highlight unique features, amenities, and nearby attractions to attract potential guests. Make sure to offer amenities that are competitive in your market.


    Enhance your listing photos: High-quality, visually appealing images can significantly impact the click-through rate and booking conversion rate. Make sure your photos accurately represent your property and showcase its best features.

    Airbnb listings
    Source: Aribnb Listing

    Use strategic keyword placement: Incorporate relevant keywords naturally throughout your listing, including in the title, description, amenities section, and photo captions. This can help your listing rank higher in search results.

    Airbnb listings

    Provide detailed and accurate information: Ensure that you provide comprehensive and up-to-date information about your property, including room types, bed configurations, amenities, and any house rules. This helps guests make informed decisions and improves your ranking.

    Maintain a high response rate: Promptly respond to guest inquiries and booking requests. Airbnb considers response rate and time as important factors in search rankings, so aim to respond within a few hours.

    Host Tools
    Source: Host Tools

    Encourage positive reviews: Positive reviews from satisfied guests can boost your credibility and improve your ranking. Provide exceptional hospitality, promptly address any guest concerns, and request reviews from happy guests.

    Optimize your pricing and availability: Set competitive prices based on market trends and adjust them regularly to attract more bookings. Keep your availability calendar up to date to avoid disappointing potential guests.

    Leverage social media and external platforms: Promote your Airbnb listing on social media platforms and other relevant websites to increase visibility. Engage with potential guests and share positive guest experiences to build trust and attract more bookings.

    Ready for more tips on maximizing STR revenue? Check out this comprehensive guide from AirDNA.

    Should you hire a property management company?

    Hiring a property management company for your Airbnb can have both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons:

    Pros of Hiring a Property Management Company:

    ➕Time and Convenience: One of the biggest benefits of hiring a property management company is the time and convenience it offers. They handle tasks such as guest communication, property maintenance, and cleaning, freeing up your time for other commitments or investments.

    ➕Expertise and Experience: Property management companies have extensive knowledge and experience in managing vacation rentals. They are familiar with industry trends, pricing strategies, local regulations, and can provide valuable insights to optimize your listing and maximize rental income.

    ➕Increased Bookings and Occupancy: Property managers are dedicated to maximizing your property’s occupancy and revenue. They leverage software tools for marketing strategies, optimizing listings, and having access to booking platforms they can attract more guests and increase your booking rate.

    ➕Professional Maintenance and Repairs: Property management companies often have a network of reliable service providers, including cleaners, maintenance technicians, and contractors. They can promptly address any issues or emergencies, ensuring your property is well-maintained, and guests have a positive experience.

    Cons of Hiring a Property Management Company:

    ➖Cost: Hiring a property management company comes at a cost and will reduce your cash flow. They typically charge a percentage of your rental income or a fixed fee. This expense can eat into your profits, especially if you have a high volume of bookings.

    ➖Reduced Control: When you hire a property management company, you relinquish some control over your property. You may have less influence on decision-making regarding pricing, guest selection, or property-related matters.

    ➖Communication and Guest Interaction: Some property management companies handle guest communication on your behalf. While this can be convenient, it also means you may have limited direct contact with your guests, potentially impacting the personal touch and connection many Airbnb hosts value.

    ➖Varying Quality of Service: Not all property management companies provide the same level of service. It’s essential to thoroughly research and vet potential candidates to ensure they have a good reputation, positive reviews, and align with your expectations and goals.


    Pros and Cons of Investing in Short-Term Rentals

    What are the things you should consider in terms of good and bad about investing in short term rentals?

    Benefits of Owning a Short-Term Rental Property

    • Potential for higher rental income: Properties in the hospitality industry can have higher income than long term rental properties. I see this in my hotel business. Our hotels make more money per room than we made per apartment in multifamily. The same can be true for short term rentals versus long term.
    • Flexibility: You have more control over your rental property when it’s not in use by a guest. You can leverage for personal use or downtime as needed.
    • Tax benefits: Depending on local regulations, some expenses related to operating a short-term rental may be tax-deductible. Consult with a professional for specifics.
    • Diversification: Adding a short-term rental investment to your portfolio helps spread risk across different types of assets.

    Potential Drawbacks & Challenges Associated with Short-Term Rentals

    • Market saturation: In popular tourist destinations, competition is fierce. Standing out from the crowd requires extra marketing effort.
    • Regulatory risks: Research local laws governing STRs vary widely; noncompliance could result in fines or shutdowns.
    • Management challenges: Running an effective short-term rental business demands time commitment, including guest communications, regular maintenance, and more. Are you ready?
    • Seasonal fluctuations: Depending on location, demand for your real estate STR may be highly seasonal. Be prepared to adapt pricing strategies accordingly.


    Short-term rental investing can be a great way to earn extra income outside your full-time job.

    Before diving in, get savvy on ideal property features, local regulations, management musts, and smart pricing strategies. Calculate your potential return on investment.

    Sure, STRs promise fatter profits than year-long leases. But there are drawbacks too, like pricier maintenance and pickier guests.

    Do your homework, crunch the numbers, and proceed with realistic expectations. Take it from me – arm yourself with insider tips before investing big.

    Follow the guidelines in this guide, and your hard-earned dollars can grow into a thriving STR income stream. Just don’t forget – great rewards require great effort. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to manage your new vacation rental property empire!


    Short-Term Rental Investing FAQs

    Are Short-Term Rentals a Good Investment in 2023?

    STRs can be profitable in 2023 if you choose the right property and location. They offer higher potential returns compared to long-term rentals due to their flexibility and dynamic pricing strategies.  But, you need to research local regulations, market demand, and competition before investing.

    What is a Good ROI for Short-Term Rental Properties?

    A good ROI for STRs typically ranges from 4% to 10%. This varies depending on location, property type, management costs, occupancy, and nightly rates.  To maximize your return on investment, focus on enhancing the guest experience and implementing marketing strategies.

    Mashvisor has extensive tools to help you calculate ROI and forecast profitability for your vacation rental:


    How Do You Maximize Profit on Short-Term Rental Investing?

    Consider implementing dynamic pricing strategies based on seasonality and local events to optimize revenue and attract guests. Boost the visibility of your listing by promoting it across multiple booking platforms. Provide exceptional customer service to ensure positive reviews and satisfaction.

    Additionally, increase occupancy rates by offering attractive discounts during low-demand periods to help you maximize profits and enhance the success of your business.

    What is the Difference Between Airbnb, Vacation Rentals, and Short-Term Rentals?

    Airbnb is an online platform that connects hosts with travelers seeking accommodations, while “short-term rental” refers to any rented space available for stays of less than one month.  Vacation rentals are included in this short-term category. 

    Airbnb listings are just one example of STRs. Other platforms, such as VRBO and, offer short-term rental options.


    What About Medium Term Rentals?

    Medium term rentals have emerged as a popular strategy among real estate investors, particularly in the short-term rental sector, where fully furnished properties are in high demand. Individuals such as students, traveling nurses, professionals on short assignments, and digital nomads seek out mid-term rentals.

    Typically lasting from one month to several months, these leases offer flexibility for those seeking accommodation for less than a year. This growing trend caters to a diverse range of individuals, providing a convenient and comfortable living solution, and can be highly profitable for you as an investor.