5 Hidden Gem Locales for Buying Vacation Rental Properties

Owning a vacation home is more accessible than ever thanks to the popularity of Airbnb. In fact, with plenty of bookings, your vacation rental may quickly pay for itself. As long as you’re setting reasonable pricing for your Airbnb rental, you may expect to fall within the average return on investment for these hidden gem locations below.

Destin, Florida

For snowbirds and summer vacationers alike, Destin offers a well-rounded Florida experience. Plenty of entertainment to make it family friendly without being too kid-centric, and with plenty of nightlife and adult interest but not a party-scene like other towns are known for.

According to TripAdvisor, an average vacation rental in Destin can net $1,093 per week, yielding $28,418 per year at 50% occupancy.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a hotspot for shopping, live shows, and outdoor activities. Home to Dollywood amusement park and several acclaimed live shows, Gatlinburg has something for everyone.

Coupled with the extensive outlet malls and small boardwalk entertainment facilities scattered throughout, Gatlinburg has plenty for the nature lover to the shopaholic. According to TripAdvisor, a two bedroom house in Gatlinburg may net the owner $1,240 per week, or $32,240 per year at 50% occupancy.

Siesta Key, Florida

For warm sun and a relaxing vibe, Siesta Key, Florida, is an off-the-beaten-path location for beach bums and divers. It’s known for sparkling quartz sand beaches and clear turquoise water – both of which helped the 8-mile long Siesta Key Public Beach earn the “best beach in the U.S.” title twice. Although the real estate costs are higher than other places, with a median home price around $500,000, the steady tourism and demand for vacation rentals make Siesta Key a stand-out investment opportunity.

According to TripAdvisor, a two bedroom vacation rental in Siesta Key could net the owner $1,319 per week or $34,294 per year at 50% occupancy.

Galveston, Texas

The coastal town of Galveston has a long history, miles of scenic coast, and plenty of inland options for family fun. It features 30 miles of beaches, amusement parks, and prohibition-era casinos, along with boutique shopping and many dining options. With seafood fresh from the Gulf of Mexico, and plenty of Cajun and Creole-inspired local establishments, Galveston is a foodie paradise.

Vacation rental owners in Galveston will find themselves in good company. Galveston has long been a vacation rental town, and its owners tend to be on top of their marketing and management game. According to Trip Advisor, a two bedroom home in the city may net $1,408 per week, and $36,608 per year at 50% occupancy (based on 26 weeks of bookings).

Nashville, Tennessee

The Country Music Capital (and capital of the state) is rich in history and filled with friendly people. Experience Southern home cooking, or fine dining – there’s plenty of options. Enjoy a professional NFL game or watch one of the local universities play. If you love country music – or even if you’re just a casual fan, a trip to the historic Grand Ole Opry House is always memorable.

Real estate prices are fairly low still, and tourism to the Music City is booming. TripAdvisor estimates that a 2 bedroom place in Nashville will net $1,668 per week or $43,368 per year at 50% occupancy. Please note, however, that Nashville currently has restrictions on where vacation rentals can operate in the area, with a limited number of permits per neighborhood.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This tourist hot spot has long been popular for area locals due to a lower cost for vacation than some of the other South Carolina beach towns. The area is balmy year-round, with plenty of beaches, fresh seafood dining options, and several different boardwalk entertainment venues. With a collection of seaside homes, condos, and resorts, Myrtle Beach presents a golden opportunity for people looking to invest in a vacation rental.

According to TripAdvisor, a two-bedroom cottage in Myrtle Beach may net $762 per week or $19,812 per year with a 50% occupancy rate.

While selecting a vacation home in one of these cities is a good investment, with careful attention to detail and over-the-top guest service, you have the potential to nearly double the average income. Even If you’re new to Airbnb, there are many ways to increase bookings, even right out of the gate. Creating a thoughtful and selling listing, setting the right price and being flexible about it depending on competition, answering to your guests with a speed of life – those are the basic steps to higher occupancy rate and becoming a Superhost. Achieving Airbnb Superhost status results in more bookings, and a number of high reviews may allow you to set your prices higher than your competition. Happy hosting!


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