Whether it is daydreaming in a lighthouse, putting roots down in a potato home (yes, really) or serving time in a luxury jail suite, unique vacation rentals are clearly all the rage!
During the pandemic, frustrated travelers developed a taste for unique home rentals to escape the humdrum of everyday life, and this trend appears to be speeding up, rather than slowing down. As exotic destinations were off the menu then, tourists desperately searched for unusual vacations to spice up their holidays, which created a healthy appetite for cool vacation rentals.
And guess what, creating your own unique or even downright weird vacation rental is not only a good idea, but may also be easier than you think.
Read this post for some inspiration and great tips…
Hosting platform Airbnb was quick to respond to this trend with their much-talked about ‘OMG!’ category – launched during the Airbnb Summer Release in April 2022. The category already has more than 500 listings of literally jaw-droppingly unique rental properties
Airbnb is clearly onto something, as industry figures show that the supply of unique properties has grown. Tiny houses were the fastest-growing short-term rental property type in 2021, growing 27% percent to 8,402 listings. These were followed by nature lodges, buses, and huts, according to AirDNA.
Tellingly, all 10 of the fastest-growing property types provide unique experiences
What qualifies as unique vacation experiences?
What’s unique to you, may not be unique to me, but what we can safely say is that these days travelers are looking for something a bit (and even a lot) out of the ordinary – in other words, cool experiences to make their stay feel special and memorable.
Why it is a good idea to create a unique vacation rental?
Make more money
As we said before, that’s what travelers want and it appears they are not going to stop wanting it, which means there is serious money to be made here.
Lower your expenses
What’s more – creating an unusual stay is within everyone’s reach, because you no longer need to own a rental in an exotic destination, but your accommodation can become the destination – even if it is in the middle of nowhere, where land prices are much cheaper.
Get inspiration from some of the existing vacation rentals out there. Some hosts have created amazing experiences by turning out-of-service buses and train coaches or other unused items into rentals. The sky’s literally the limit here.
Have some fun!
Even if you’ve never thought of owning your rental, this category has the potential to spark an idea that could lead to an exciting opportunity for ditching the day job and doing something different with your life.
Inspiring examples of unbelievable vacation rentals
Here are some of our favorite crazy properties featured in the OMG! Category on Airbnb, but there are hundreds more to ogle over.
It is where people would visit to refreshing their souls and mind. We work so hard to make this place to be one of the place that we can live in harmony with nature. That is why the cob houses are the right choice for us. Not only the buildings are eco-friendly but also the garden is organic.
This clay house was built for meditation course and It was designed for people to learn being with themselves that is why the function of the house is simple. The house is 35 square meter with essential facilities. It might be considered as a tiny house, yet it’s comfortable for 3 people living together. The entire of the house was made by clay (earth), it is not only eco-friendly building but also good for our health.
A farm stay on Daisy, a Cow-shed in Woodbridge, UK
(Image courtesy of Airbnb)
Why you should visit
A unique place to stay! The Cow Shed is a mix between camping, glamping and a caravan. Situated on a clean and quiet farm park, the Cow Shed provides a great place to escape to.
The accommodation has a ground floor double bed with a three-quarter bed above. Able to sleep four people, the Cow Shed provides a base in the Suffolk countryside with the benefit of included access to the farm park.
Daisy can sleep up to four people. The accommodation has a ground floor double bed with a three-quarter bed above. Linen and towels are provided, as well as tea/ coffee making facilities. BBQ and tools are available for hire, at an extra charge of £10.
The Mystique suite is 45 meters on top of the crane. The Mystique suite has two levels, no less than 38 square meters. High end, luxurious and beautifully decorated and equipped with all amenities.
The small panorama elevator stops right into your suite. Large windows provide an amazing view over Amsterdam and the river. The port of Amsterdam is right in front of the crane.
The first floor is a spacious living area, furnished with art and design furniture. Hidden behind a characteristic sliding glass panel is a bathroom with a rain shower and toilet. The shower is decorated with antique parts of an ocean cruiser.
A staircase leads to the sleeping area with a King size bed and bath tube surrounded by paintings and design. Quality toiletries are offered. All suites have air-conditioning, free WIFI, 2 plasma television screens (bedroom & living)
If you love the fluffy feeling you get when you eat Idaho potatoes, you’ll love staying in a giant potato turned cozy, grown-up getaway for two!
Recycled from the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Tour, this 6-ton potato has traveled on the back of a semi to (48) states for seven years. Now resting on 400 acres of good ol’ Idaho farmland, just south of downtown Boise, this hotel has been meticulously designed by Kristie Wolfe, a former Big Idaho Potato Tour spokesperson, to allow for stylish private comfort and amenities such as power outlets for your electronic devices, a mini fridge, old records to play and a custom-built bed.
There is also a customized silo turned into a spa retreat perfect for soaking while looking up at the stars.
This inspired dwelling nestled right into the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge mountainside. Reverently framed by the iconic round doorway, the wondrous views will entrance your imagination and inspire an unforgettable journey. Every nook of this little habitation will warm your sole, every cranny will charm your expedition of repose. Up the pathway, tucked into the earth, an unbelievable adventure awaits!
Superhost Kristie Wolfe is a legend when it comes to building unique rentals on Airbnb and we just love her energy and creativity. She has gone from a dead-end day job earning peanuts to being known for creating some of the most inspiring rentals in the world – and grossing hundreds of thousands of dollars with her properties every year.
Her rental creations include underground a hobbit hole, and a potato-shaped hotel mentioned above, as well as treehouses and many others — often on a shoestring budget.
Kristie has this advice to give in an interview she did with The Hustle: “I decided to build properties so cool that people would come to me,” she says. “The house itself — not the location — would be the destination.”
How to create a unique vacation rental and unique experience
Let your imagination run wild. Brainstorm the craziests ideas you can come up with over a glass of wine or two – and see where it takes you.
Imagine yourself as a guest
How can you make this experience as authentic as possible for your guests? If you were the guests, what would be the factors that would blow you away and make the difference between an average and an unforgettable experience?
Do your research
Yes, you are having fun, but of course, you still want to run a business, so once you have an idea for a theme or a vacation rental that is different, do your research. Are there any other similar rentals out there? How well are they doing? How can you differentiate your property?
The numbers have to add up too, so research all the elements you would usually look into when drawing up an Airbnb business plan, for example, property prices, building prices and availability of builders and materials, transport feasibility to and from your rental.
Become a top marketer
Especially with this type of property, you need to be on top of marketing of your rental. Create your own professional website – which doesn’t have to be expensive – and list your property on some of the big hosting platforms, including Airbnb´s OMG! Category.
Be sure to have professional photographs taken of your rental to show off its uniqueness and market your property on social media, as well as through online and offline PR. The media are always looking for weird and wonderful stories and images.
Not quite ready to take the plunge?
Maybe you don’t have to courage to jump in and create a truly whacky experience, but adding small touches that will make your guests feel special at your home, will already go a long way.
Whether you provide a special ´romantic treats´ basket for a romantic weekend stay at your property or a fire pit and marshmallow kit for chilly nights in the backyard, start by creating opportunities for unique experiences for your guests to add the wow-factor to your rental.
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