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The Rising Pattern of Themed Trip Leases



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This yr has been an eventful one for short-term leases around the globe: The boom-bust saga and seeming never-ending fights about new laws.

One facet of the enterprise that will get neglected is themed leases. Airbnb’s Barbie Home in Malibu, the Hobbiton in New Zealand and’s newest Willy Wonka-inspired rooms in Los Angeles and New York Metropolis are all examples of themed lodging. Usually categorized as “distinctive stays” for knowledge functions, these have gotten a sub-category of their very own. 


Orlando — Themed Land of Disney, Common 

Let’s begin with Orlando. By some tough estimates, 79% of Orlando’s rental market consists of total dwelling leases. Kissimmee, Florida, which is half-hour south of Orlando with over 30,000 trip properties, is touted as the holiday dwelling capital of the world. 

It’s necessary for these working on this busy market to distinguish themselves. And if one can hitch a trip on the backs of Disney World and Common Studios – why not?

“Themed leases put you on the prime of the class, and also you’re simply piggybacking off of Common Studios’, Disney’s and SeaWorld’s advertising and marketing {dollars} to deliver individuals to the realm and your property sits on the prime and is getting rented,” mentioned Josh Luttrell, co-founder of Dwelling Theme Orlando, which makes a speciality of theme-based renovations. 


Luttrell can also be a realtor within the space who works completely with traders taken with themed short-term leases. His firm, Dwelling Theme Orlando, does room renovations to show them into particular themes impressed by Star Wars, James Bond, princess castles, superheroes and extra. 

Dwelling Theme Orlando, based in 2020, manages 30 themed properties, has carried out 60 full-home renovations, and about 200 particular person rooms. 

Oliver Wallace, CEO of Shine Villas, which manages 100 properties in and round Disney World, acknowledges the advantages of Orlando. 


“It’s a really busy market with round 60,000 trip rental properties,” Wallace mentioned. “So we inform homeowners they’re going to be full at Christmas, at Thanksgiving, and spring break. Orlando by no means actually has an low season as a result of the climate’s nice, and right here we have now resorts which can be constructed that may solely ever be used for short-term leases, servicing the Orlando theme park household vacation spot.” 

Barbie Dreamhouse itemizing on Airbnb. Supply: Airbnb

Disney’s Good for {Dollars}

Should you’re questioning how these themed leases are for enterprise, let’s break this down: The Barbie home in Malibu, owned by a personal household property, which Airbnb listed for a restricted interval this summer time, could also be valued at $10 million attributable to its reference to the long-lasting doll, based on Ruby Dwelling, a luxurious actual property agency in California. 

These leases are good for branding too: The Barbie home was Airbnb’s hottest itemizing ever with over 250 million social media impressions. 

That’s why Luttrell thinks themed leases are a separate asset class. He famous that some properties managed by his agency had 100% occupancy even in a down market. 


“You’re at about double the common nightly price and about 85% to 95% occupancy all year long for themed properties, whereas different properties on the rental market yr have been at 30% to 50% occupancy, if fortunate,” mentioned Luttrell.

In line with AirDNA’s month-to-month report for October, occupancy amongst leases within the U.S. hovered round 56%. Most knowledge corporations don’t cowl themed leases as its personal class, they usually usually get bucketed as distinctive stays, together with campers and RVs, tiny homes, farm stays, and campsites. 

There have been over 52,000 distinctive keep listings final month within the U.S., a rise of 122% in comparison with October 2018 and 14% year-over-year, based on AirDNA. 


The Dangers in Themed Leases

There are different operators who imagine that it will not be a sound funding. 

“I feel there’s a flock proper now to create expertise. And I feel it’s a bit over carried out. They’ve received all these things,” mentioned Corey Ashton Walters, founder and chief government officer at Right here, a Miami-based vacation- rental funding firm.  

What occurs when the proprietor desires to promote a themed property?


“Within the final couple of years, Airbnb mentioned it’s going to push distinctive stays, individuals heard that and thought, nicely, I’m simply gonna put a tennis court docket within the yard, or I’m gonna put a movie show within the basement. I feel that’s a development that’s gonna die,” mentioned Walters.

“And what makes short-term rental such an excellent asset class is that on the finish of the day, it’s a home that anyone might at all times dwell in,” Walters added. “So if a market shifts and you have to promote the place, you then can promote a house to anyone else that wishes a second dwelling or desires to dwell on this trip vacation spot. However as quickly as you remodel it right into a theme park, who’s going to purchase that dwelling if you wish to promote it or must promote it.”

Trip-rental software program suppliers together with Hostaway and Lodgify warn hosts of their dos-and-don’ts towards going too far. These embrace mundane particulars like getting the colour scheme mistaken to extra grave ones like compromised security. 


Enter the Buyers

In a market that’s getting more and more overcrowded, the bar for what’s distinctive and completely different is consistently altering. In 2022, Airbnb invested $10 million {dollars} in “absurd buildings” formed like every little thing from a large fossilized snail to a cheese wedge. 

The individuality comes at a worth that only some can afford. 

Each Luttrell and Wallace’s corporations handle themed properties for traders who purchase them. And so they each work completely with traders who’re ready to pay the worth. 


“Virtually each single home we’ve renovated isn’t someplace one can dwell with a household,” Luttrell mentioned. “These are 100% funding properties meant to be leases, and by no means to be lived in by people who personal it.”

Luttrell cited the instance of a house his firm was taken with closing for $1.1 million {dollars}. 

“We’re in a down market proper now, and even in that you simply’re nonetheless making $30,000 to $50,000 per yr. That’s the sort of vary we’re speaking about. However bear in mind, that themed properties are a whole lot of work and never everybody can do it nicely,” he mentioned. 


Wallace added that along with being an costly affair, the ideas get outdated over time, and require further funding to maintain the themes related and up to date. 

“It’s a must to do not forget that theming nonetheless has a shelf life, one thing that was cool 20 years in the past  isn’t anymore,” Wallace mentioned. “And if you wish to compete you have to redecorate each X variety of years, and I feel that works finest with traders who’re this as an funding in the long run.”

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