An illustration with the words Episode 5 and our top 3 amenities for short term rentals.

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Show Notes

[00:00:00.000] – Jordan

It’s incredible how many good reviews we’ve had on some of the gaming systems we have in our places. And I know personally myself, when I’m looking for my family and my wife and my kids are looking behind my shoulder and trying to pick out which one that is one of those amenities that I don’t know how much time we actually spent to be using that. Once we get there, we have spent some time, but we definitely have made the decision based on those less expensive type of amenities that are just something cool that you can do as a family.


Welcome to the Michigan Shortterm Rentals Podcast, the show about buying, optimizing, and managing shortterm rentals in the state of Michigan. Get insights and recommendations from vacation rental operators to help take your property to the next level. Are you ready to profit from your short term rental? Let’s get started.

[00:00:52.840] – Tony

Welcome to the Michigan Short term Rentals Podcast. My name is Tony Stancato and I’m here with my co-host, Jordan Painter. Today we are talking about our top three amenities. None of us are prepared on which one the other one is picked, so just be a good discussion around our favorite amenities, which ones we’re bullish on right now. But before that, what’s going on, Jordan?

[00:01:16.210] – Jordan

Man, coming off a great weekend. Happy Monday.

[00:01:18.520] – Tony

Happy Monday to you as well. Do anything fun this weekend, man?

[00:01:22.110] – Jordan

My wife was away for Saturday, so I got to take the kids out and have some fun. So I took him shopping, did some shooting at the range. So, yeah, it was fun.

[00:01:30.450] – Tony

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Yeah, it was a good weekend. Went to a property down in Bridgeman. Your client ended up putting an offer in on that. How did that go?

[00:01:39.030] – Jordan

Yes, we put a really solid offer and it was a really cool place, had a cool vibe to it. Unfortunately, we did not prevail. So even as the market is cooling off a bit, we’re still seeing multiple offers on good properties and we’re trying to be wise about how we’re advising our clients to make sure we’re getting the right price. And that one, we couldn’t quite get it at the right price to make sense for what we’re trying to do with it, but it would have been a great opportunity and we’re still hoping to see it come back on the market and maybe get a second shot at it. So we’ll see.

[00:02:05.400] – Tony

Yeah, just a great weekend overall. I also had a client, Nick, who actually closed on his first investment property. 32 years old, wish I would have got started at that age. So great job there, Nick. Looking forward to seeing how you do with that. And we also had our first medium term rental check out on Saturday and I quickly, once I see the cleaners got in, took care of it, ready to go. Changed it to a one day booking, ended up getting a booking kind of last minute at 630 on Saturday night for one day. I think they were there all of 14 hours, paid close to $400 to stay there. I’m always amazed when people stay for a very short period of time for that type of money. But then we got a couple of bookings come in last night, too. So one bedroom, one bath got booked for next weekend, and then we got a two bed, one bath that ended up getting booked for a couple of weeks from now. So just continue to come in strong. So, yeah, good overall weekend. What do you say we jump into today’s podcast?

[00:03:08.830] – Jordan

Let’s do it again. We’re going to be talking about Tony and my top three amenities, and we are going to explain to you why we feel like at this moment, there are top three.

[00:03:18.370] – Tony

All right, you want to go first?

[00:03:19.660] – Jordan

I will go first. So I’m going to start with just kind of a really basic one as far as an amenity. My first pick is a fire pit. A really cool, unique vibe fire pit. The reason that I chose that one is that it’s been one for us that has been very appealing to people. We’ve got our first one that we bought. It’s got these bare carvings around it. Really cool, really unique. I’ve seen other ones that have pergolas and different things around them, but I like that one a lot because it is something that people ask about consistently. I mean, Tony mentioned the weekend bookings. I think two of the inquiries we had asked specifically, hey, is there firewood there at the property? So I think it’s a big one that is a low barrier to entry. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to have a cool, instagram firefighter. So that’s my number one.

[00:04:05.170] – Tony

Yeah, indefinitely. The Bears, what are they, about 8ft tall? A couple of eight foot tall structures. Definitely have that instagram feel to them. So definitely anything you can do in your property to kind of get that insta worthy pick is going to be a good way to go. So my number one, and it just recently became my number one, and we don’t technically own one yet, but I’m really bullish on pickleball. So we’re going into South Haven. We got a property that’s two and a half acres, plenty of room to put a pickleball court in. And when I just started looking at some of the other properties in the area, lots of properties have pools, hot tubs, so we’ll just be another one of those with another hot tub or with another pool. So how can we set ourselves apart? And when you start looking, you really don’t see anything with a pickleball. And I’m really excited about that because low maintenance, I mean, it might wear out over the course of five to ten years, but we don’t have to pay a hot tub company to come and service it every week like we do our hot tub.

[00:05:13.080] – Tony

So I’m thinking low maintenance and it’s the fastest growing sport probably in the world. You have people like LeBron James, Tom Brady. They’re buying pickleball teams. And I was doing some SEO, looking at some of the search terms and I mean, it’s just up to the right. A lot of people are searching for literal search term is airbnb with pickleball Court. So if we can be one of the first ones in and kind of cement ourselves as the property with pickleball court, I think it will go a long way. So trying to convince everybody to go that route and I think we’re all getting on the same page.

[00:05:53.660] – Jordan

Yes, it’s a fun conversation. So we got some awesome business partners on that deal. Shout out to Jason and Jamie if you are there listening. Tony is 100 miles an hour. All excited about it though. We had everybody on board and Jason and Jamie are a bit concerned just with the overall cost and the maintenance.

[00:06:10.150] – Tony

Of some of those things.

[00:06:10.930] – Jordan

So great partnership and just another one of those kind of checks and balances things going on there. So we’ll see if we get one there or at another property. But definitely would be a super unique amenity. Love it.

[00:06:23.260] – Tony

Yeah. What’s your number two?

[00:06:24.660] – Jordan

Number two? So again, from my perspective, I’m coming at it from, hey, you’re getting started in short term rentals. What are some things that are easy and more basic that we’ve had good feedback on? So my number two is going to be some kind of an arcade system or gaming system. It’s incredible how many good reviews we’ve had on some of the gaming systems we have in our places. And I know personally myself when I’m looking for my family and my wife, my kids are looking behind my shoulder and trying to pick out which one that is. One of those amenities that I don’t know how much time we actually spend using them once we get there. We have spent some time but we definitely have made the decision based on those less expensive type of amenities that are just something cool that you can do as a family. And if you’re an 80s baby like me, some of that retro gaming is kind of a fun, cool, unique experience. So my number two is going to be some kind of arcade system or Wii system or something like that that people of all generations kind of enjoy and appreciate together and it doesn’t cost a fortune to get that going in your rental.

[00:07:28.050] – Tony

And I’m just going to call out the Nintendo Switch. We have a client that put a Nintendo Switch into their property, already have gotten lots of good feedback on that and I think it’s a little bit of a driver in the type of client that you want. Right. One of our properties, it’s more of call it a friends gathering spot, lots of friends getting together, having fun, bachelorette parties. Now this one has the Nintendo Switch in it. What we tend to see is kind of more families, a lot more kids visiting that property. So by equipping it with those types of amenities, you can kind of drive the type of clientele that you want as well. But, yeah, the Nintendo Switch, $300, lots of good reviews, lots of people talking about it. So I am definitely bullish on that as well. And then my number two is it might be a little more on the lame side, but if you have young kids like I do, you might not necessarily have it at your property, but if you can have one kind of in the subdivision, that kind of thing, I’m going to go with a playground.

[00:08:34.680] – Tony

I just looked back when I was thinking about this podcast here, I look back at what drove our decision on a lot of properties that we booked in the past, and there’s at least three or four that I can say that we chose because they had a playground. Again in the subdivision. We actually just went to Nashville for a conference and we picked the place because it had a playground, like less than a block away. Obviously, you could build one on the property or have some form of playground, but we have two five-year-olds and a four-year-old would like to get outside. So it’s definitely something that we can go spend a half hour to an hour at multiple times a day. Kids love it. So, yeah, for us, it’s a big driver.

[00:09:18.970] – Jordan

That’s fantastic. And just to further that point, I think that’s something that’s really important when you’re looking at a property and determining what the draw is going to be and how to get people there. It’s awesome if you can have an Amenity at your property, but it’s even better if somebody else is owning and maintaining it. So, yeah, proximity to a park or something like that is just a fantastic asset to a short term rental, for sure. So good one. My number three is going to be a little bit more obviously. We talked about it a lot. But again. When I go back to the feedback we’re getting and the questions we’re getting mentioned. The one about the firewood. The second question we get all the time. And again. We got this one over the weekend was.

[00:09:55.320] – Tony


[00:09:55.500] – Jordan

Is a hot tub. Is that something that works all year long? Is that running? And so I think for us, it could be somewhat of a driver. In the summer, I think it’s a decent driver, but for sure in the fall and winter, there are a lot less things to do. And so having that hot tub on site has just been a huge factor for us. And I do think that if people are looking, especially in the fall and the winter, to book something. If it’s between one or two or three properties and you’re the one with a hot tub, you’re probably the highest likely to get that booking. So it’s been a really good one for us, and I do think it does help to drive revenue, specifically in the off-season for our market.

[00:10:31.170] – Tony

Yeah, I agree. Even this two bed, one bath, it’s a smaller one. We stayed booked up on a bigger one last year with a hot tub. We were questioning, hey, how do we think the smaller one will do? But again, we’re pretty much booked up all of November with that one right now, and there’s no reason to believe that we won’t continue to get those bookings throughout the rest of the year. With the two bed, one bath, they just tend to come in a little bit closer to the booking date. People aren’t booking out as far in advance as they are with the bigger ones. But, yeah, hot tubs are big for me. I’m not as bullish on the expense side of it. It’s definitely we pay, what, 40, $45 a week to get our hot tub serviced? I’m not saying it’s not worth it. Obviously, if it brings in more revenue, it’s good. I’m interested in finding things that, hey, what could we replace that expense with? That would be low maintenance, and that’s kind of where I picked that pickleball. But there’s nothing saying that the hot tub isn’t worth it and won’t bring in more clients than obviously maybe a pickleball court would.

[00:11:36.880] – Tony

My third one is going to be a movie theater. We have a client that has a movie theater room in the basement of their property. Really cool setup, and cool pictures on the wall. And just after a long day out and about, with the family being able to come home, whether the adults come to congregate in a different area of the house and do some talking, and they can put a movie on in the movie theater room, kids can watch that. Or whether it’s just a family-type movie where everybody gets together and just watches it, I think that can be a big draw, low cost. And then if you want to go even more affordable, I would definitely say all of our properties have a ping-pong table. People can play ping pong, obviously, or there are other games that people like to play on a ping pong table. And I think we definitely get some of those groups as well. Yeah, so that’s my top three. Good stuff.

[00:12:30.340] – Jordan

Yeah. Theater room is a big one, even if you don’t have a room that’s big enough for it. Just making a room where Tony mentioned, the one that we manage, had a couple of movie posters and just kind of has a vibe to it. That one does have a projector, so it doesn’t cost a fortune to do that. And it really does add that instagrammable type of photo that people see it and again, whether they end up using it or not while they’re there, it’s a really good tool to drive bookings that’s relatively affordable and for sure, the ping pong table. Yeah, if you got space in your rental to do that, that’s another just very easy, low-cost way that people will come in and have some fun.

[00:13:08.470] – Tony

Absolutely. And if there’s some amenities that you think we missed, feel free to reach out to us. Happy to take a look. If there’s something that you’re contemplating putting in one of your properties, feel free to connect with us. Happy to give feedback on that. If you’re enjoying the podcast, please take the time to go over to Apple podcasts. Leave us a review Spotify. Leave us a review. Just helps us kind of get found easier in podcast player of your choice. So really appreciate you taking the time to listen. If you’re not on the email list, head over to Michigan Short term Get on that list again. There’s 650 zip codes that we’ve gone through and analyzed and put projections on there. So if you’re looking for an area to start your short term rental journey, you’ll be able to kind of get the shortcut, if you will. And there are other tools that you’ll get. There’s a four-part email series just to get to help add value to you and help you find the right property. And until next time.