Short-Term & Vacation Rental Discussions

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Garrett Stockton
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STR in the Great Smokey Mountains, ROI of a hot tub

Garrett Stockton
Posted May 19 2022, 06:57

I am currently under contract for my first STR in Almond, NC just west of Bryson City. This property has a nice mountain view with a good-sized deck. I am going to be doing a complete cosmetic rehab on it. The property does not currently have a hot tub and I am considering getting one installed.

The question is, is a hot tub worth the investment? Does anyone have any data showing that a hot tub will increase the RIO or decrease the vacancy rate?

Are there recommendations for hot tub brands that I should consider buying and also brands that I should avoid?

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much and I look forward to gaining a lot of insight from your answers. Cheers!

Asheville NC, North Carolina

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Bruce Woodruff#2 All Forums Contributor
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Bruce Woodruff#2 All Forums Contributor
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Replied May 19 2022, 07:04

Do your neighbors (competitors) have hot tubs or spas? Look up their pricing and availability to see if this is worth it.

And there is a difference between a hot tub and a spa, which one do you mean?

They are a hassle to maintain, and I would avoid them like the plague - unless they are an expected amenity in your area....

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Kevin Luttrell#4 Private Lending & Conventional Mortgage Advice Contributor
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Kevin Luttrell#4 Private Lending & Conventional Mortgage Advice Contributor
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Replied May 19 2022, 08:52

@Garrett Stockton In the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area the vast majority of STRs have hot tubs, so I imagine it's probably similar in Almond. Like Bruce mentioned if you see the majority of rentals around you have hot tubs then you should have one too, or plan on pricing your place lower than competition. 

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Grant Vincent
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Grant Vincent
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Replied May 19 2022, 09:01

@Garrett Stockton Not exactly what you asked, but be sure your deck can handle the added weight of a hot tub. If it the deck will need reinforcement, factor in those costs in your analysis.

Speaking as a consumer (not an owner) that has rented STR cabins in north GA and Bryson City areas, I value a hot tub. They seem to require ongoing routine maintenance (water/chemicals) and start to need repairs as they age. If you run some numbers, please post your findings. I'm looking at investing in this area and would love to know if the data says if the ROI is a "must-have" or a "meh"!

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William Beck
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William Beck
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Replied May 19 2022, 11:14

There's definitely data that supports a hot tub vs. no hot tub. I don't have it at my fingertips but just something you need to know that guests are going to be comparing your place to other options and if they see that as a missing item, it's going to negatively impact bookings/price. Smoky Mountains & ski destinations = hot tub is highly recommended. 

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Ken Boone
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Ken Boone
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Replied May 19 2022, 11:58

Like someone else mentioned, in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area if you don't have a hot tub you are below average...  well below average.  Even if there are not many hot tubs in your area, it would be ideal to put one in as that will set you apart and you will get more rent with a hot tub than without one.  Also, like someone else mentioned - as a guest I typically won't rent a cabin without a hot tub.

In my market, the cleaners take care of the hot tub.  They drain it after each guest, clean the hot tub, clean the filter, fill it back up, put in the chemicals and we are good for the next guests.  Do things break over time? - sure. Typically a control panel will have to be replaced every now and then, sometimes a seal leaks and needs a new gasket, etc.. things happen, the filter needs to be swapped out periodically.  But to me not really that big of a deal.   I have hot tubs in all my cabins and I wouldn't dream of not having one.  

If I am you I would definitely put a hot tub in.  But also like @Grant Vincent said, make sure the deck can support it.  

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Grant Vincent
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Grant Vincent
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Replied May 20 2022, 12:11

@Ken Boone, thank you for your post. Good information. I just want to double check...you're saying your hot tub is completely drained between each guest? 

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Bruce Woodruff#2 All Forums Contributor
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Bruce Woodruff#2 All Forums Contributor
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Replied May 20 2022, 12:14
Quote from @Grant Vincent:

I just want to double check...you're saying your hot tub is completely drained between each guest? 


 That is the safe and right way to do it.  Otherwise the next guest is sitting in someone else's sweat....

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Ken Boone
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Ken Boone
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Replied May 20 2022, 12:57
Quote from @Grant Vincent:

@Ken Boone, thank you for your post. Good information. I just want to double check...you're saying your hot tub is completely drained between each guest? 

 That is an absolute must and you will get guests asking you how the hot tub is clean.  Like @Bruce Woodruff said that is the safe and right way to do it.  

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Jason Norton
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Jason Norton
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Replied May 20 2022, 13:13

I do not believe it will create value or ROI.

It looks pretty and it will be more for you and your family than renters destroying it. 

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Ken Boone
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Ken Boone
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Replied May 20 2022, 13:27

I have to disagree with @Jason Norton STRs in vacation destinations are all about the amenities.  A hot tub is a big amenity.  It will absolutely create value and you should be able to get a higher ADR than a like cabin without a hot tub.  Nothing against Jason, we just have very different opinions.  I have a hot tub at every one of my STRs.

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Jason Norton
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Jason Norton
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Replied May 20 2022, 13:32
Quote from @Ken Boone:

I have to disagree with @Jason Norton STRs in vacation destinations are all about the amenities.  A hot tub is a big amenity.  It will absolutely create value and you should be able to get a higher ADR than a like cabin without a hot tub.  Nothing against Jason, we just have very different opinions.  I have a hot tub at every one of my STRs.


We have closed loans for client and a lot of times the hot tub will not create appraised value unless you can, like Ken says, use it to create higher rents which leads to higher ROI.

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Ken Boone
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Ken Boone
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Replied May 20 2022, 13:56

@Jason Norton Oh yea from an appraisal perspective that makes total sense.  Just like the furniture doesn't add any value from that perspective as well.

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Garrett Stockton
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Garrett Stockton
Replied May 20 2022, 16:09

I really apricate all the comments. I will definitely be adding a hot tub it sounds like a must have!

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Michael Porche
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Michael Porche
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Replied May 21 2022, 15:06

@Garrett Stockton Great question! airdna came out with a great article last year, showing the percentages of places with different types of amenities(like hot tubs) and how much revenue they added in comparison to other rentals that didn't have it. Really great information and I'd encourage looking it up, I got a PDF of it I saved as well which I can send over. To answer your question in short though, yes hot tubs in vacation areas make a positive ROI.

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Kevin Casillas
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Kevin Casillas
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Replied May 24 2022, 11:14

Great information...