When you’re first starting out as a vacation rental owner, there’s one big question: how much money can I expect to make? 

Short-term rental properties can give owners solid revenue returns, and are often more profitable than long-term rentals. But that additional income doesn’t come without costs. From taxes and insurance to cleaning and management fees, it’s important to factor a number of expenses into your income calculations to help paint an accurate picture of your home’s profit potential. 

That’s where our vacation rental income calculator comes in. Simply plug in your monthly revenue and expenses below, then sit back as our tool automatically churns out an annual income estimate — all factors considered. 

Not sure where to pull those numbers? Take a peek below our tool to understand your income and expense variables in more detail, and check out our bonus resources that can help you make confident estimates.

Your Income Variables Explained

The first step toward accurately estimating rental income? Defining each term properly. Here’s a quick-reference glossary of what each variable used in our calculator means.

Small blue icons of a sun and moon indicating nightly rate

Nightly Rate

Avg rate you expect to charge/night

Small blue calendar icon indicating nights booked

Nights Booked

Avg # of nights you expect to book/month

Small blue icon indicating mortgage


Monthly mortgage payment

small icon of a shower indicating utility fees


Monthly costs for heat/hot water, electricity/AC, WiFi & cable

small icon indicating taxes

Insurance & Property Taxes

Monthly costs for homeowners insurance, liability insurance, property protection plan + your state’s property tax rate

small money icon

Other Expenses

Monthly sum of HOA & maintenance costs + avg stocking/upgrading costs

small blue icon indicating management fees

Management Costs

Monthly % of income set aside for management/marketing fees (dependent on how you run your business)

Understanding Income and Expenses

Let’s be real: estimating an accurate income for your investment property can be confusing. Certain elements — like mortgage and utility payments — have fairly standard numbers you can enter into the calculator without much math. But others require more contextual consideration. So, let’s walk through each step of the process in more detail.

Step 1: Calculating Monthly Revenue

To accurately estimate nightly rate and expected nights booked, it’s important to understand the current market in your area.

The good news: we’ve analyzed tens of thousands of listings across North America to compile the most impactful performance metrics for you. From nightly rate and nights booked to average lengths of stay and prime booking windows throughout the year, all of the results can be found in our vacation rental market analyses library. Each provides a data-backed gauge of how direct competition performs — and, in turn, how much you might be able to to charge and book.

Once you pull the nightly rate and nights booked averages from those market analyses, plug them into the vacation rental income calculator above to start laying a solid foundation for estimating monthly income (and overall revenue).

Owners who work with Evolve get access to our team of revenue experts and exclusive SmartRates technology that’s proven to outperform the market.

Step 2: Calculating Monthly Expenses 

From taxes to marketing fees, your expense estimate relies heavily on custom quotes and individual choices.

First, add up the monthly costs of your different types of insurance — like homeowners insurance, liability insurance, and a property protection plan.

Evolve owners are automatically covered for accidental damages with our Property Protection Plus program.

Then comes property taxes. How they’re applied varies by state, so be aware of your particular municipal requirements. If you’re not sure, you can plug your rental property’s address into this complimentary tool to receive the right rate.

Once you have an estimate for both, combine the numbers and enter the sum into our short term rental calculator.

Next, input your monthly mortgage payment and utilities.

To incorporate other expenses, first combine monthly HOA and maintenance costs, cleaning fees, and the average expense of keeping your short-term rental inventoried and well-stocked for guests.

If you need to make furniture or decor upgrades, put a price to those overarching updates and divide by 12 before adding to your total monthly view of those additional expenses.

Finally, there are management costs to consider. These fees and how they work look different depending on how you choose to run your vacation rental business.

If you run a vacation rental without any help:

  1. Select the “I plan to manage my property on my own” option in our vacation rental income calculator
  2. Add up the varying percentage costs of the marketing fees for the marketplaces you plan to use (listed below)
  3. Move the marketing fee slider to match the sum of those percentage fees
Graphic showcasing market fees to list your home on Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com

If you use a property manager:

  1. Select the “I plan to hire a manager” option in our vacation rental income calculator
  2. Slide the bar to account for an average 10-50% fee

If you work with Evolve (who lists your home on all the best vacation rental sites at no extra cost):

  1. Select the “I plan to hire a manger” option in our vacation rental income calculator
  2. Slide the bar to our industry-low 10% fee

Maximize Your Income Potential with Evolve

Between the steep fees of traditional property managers and the overwhelming responsibility of a DIY approach, it’s hard to strike a cost-benefit balance that guarantees your success. At least, it was until Evolve came into the picture.

For an industry-low management fee (that’s backed by our Risk-Free Guarantee), we’ll apply a proven-to-work marketing and booking strategy to your vacation rental, boosting your revenue potential while keeping costs (and stress levels) down.

Hop down to the form below to see if you qualify for our services and kickstart a conversation with one of our vacation rental pros.

Real estate is known for being a solid investment, and recent traveler trends highlight a clear opportunity to earn extra income by investing in vacation rentals. Plus, when we surveyed over 8,000 travelers, 82% said they plan to book a vacation rental for their 2023 adventures.

Experts also believe these traveler preferences are here to stay, making short-term rental investment a great play for long-term income.

Here are six major benefits that underscore exactly why vacation rentals are a good investment.

In This Article:
Increased Income Potential
Varied Market Opportunity
Offsetting Owner Costs
Even More Revenue Opportunity
A Built-In Vacation 
Home Appreciation

1. Increased Income Potential

Not only is the vacation rental industry showing plenty of income potential, it’s also creating opportunity for what our Real Estate Services (RES) experts consider a “high-reward profile.” 

Most investors look at cap rate — the ratio between a property’s net income and its market value — as a key measure of success, because it indicates return on investment. Our RES team says long-term rental cap rates can hover around an average 4-5% in metro markets (where investors are typically drawn), but short-term rental cap rates can frequently come in at 10% or higher.

This means your ceiling for profitability is significantly higher when investing in vacation rentals than it is with other property options — and that’s more money that could land in your pocket.

2. Varied Market Opportunity

While finding success in long-term rental generally requires a purchase near a major metro area, buyers can find vacation rental properties with profit potential in a wide variety of markets

And since travelers’ favorite locations are scattered from coast to coast, you’re spoiled with choices for vacation rental investment properties –– whether you’re looking for a beachfront property, lakeside rental, mountainous ski house, or cozy cabin.

Ready to explore your options? Our team helps investors find success in markets all across the country.

3. Offsetting Owner Costs

Creating solid revenue streams and growing your income property portfolio are the main investment goals for many second home owners. But there’s also massive value, particularly for first-timers, in offsetting owner expenses from the start. 

From mortgage payments and utilities to insurance fees and maintenance costs, vacation rental income can cover monthly expenses and help your home pay for itself in a shorter time frame. Vacation rental owners are also eligible for certain tax deductions, which could help close the gap between income and expenses.

Bonus benefit: using a vacation rental management company with especially low fees (like Evolve) can help owners break even and start earning profit faster.

4. Even More Revenue Opportunity (with Five-Star Hospitality)

The best part about investing in vacation rental properties is that great guest feedback makes your home more lucrative over time. 

When rental properties hit new listing sites, they have to compete with established competitors for visibility and bookings. But the more five-star experiences you deliver (along with smart responses to any poor reviews), the more sites like Airbnb and Vrbo will show your property to browsing travelers — making it more likely to earn bookings. 

Best-in-class hospitality also makes it easier to raise daily rates (when the market allows for it), increasing your profit margins on any given stay as you establish the value of your vacation rental property. 

5. A Built-In Vacation

Unlike long-term rental investments, a vacation rental property is also a place where you can get away. It provides the luxury of carving out time to spend with family and friends, or to switch up your work-from-home space — without necessarily needing to spend money on accommodations each time you travel.

In other words, you earn rental income and boost revenue when you’re not there, but also save money when you’d like a change of scenery yourself.

6. Home Appreciation

As with all smart real estate investments, you can expect your vacation rental’s market value to appreciate over time. So, if and when you become ready to sell, you’d likely earn more than the previous owners did when you bought it. 

What’s more, when that time comes, Evolve has real estate experts who can help you sell directly to buyers who are looking to invest in vacation rentals.

Take the Next Step Toward Investing in Vacation Rental 

Investing in vacation rentals might feel like a big undertaking, but Evolve’s RES team is here to guide you at every stage of the journey. Our experts can help you: 

And if you’re hoping to buy a rental with proof of performance, our listings for sale page features homes that already have a track record of vacation rental success as Evolve properties.

No matter where you are or plan to buy, we’re here to help you reach your vacation rental goals.

Digital nomads, rejoice: Work and play no longer have to be separate. While you’re still remote, get some fresh air without using all of your vacation days. Switching up your routine a little can inspire new thinking and deepen your focus — all while you enjoy all the luxuries of vacation on your off-time. 

Ready to get out of the house? Pick one of these places based on how you like to feel at work and change up the scenery.

Bust Stress: Vacation Rentals with a Pool

Make your co-workers jealous by joining the company meeting poolside. Lounge in the sun while you knock projects off your list, then enjoy a crisp plunge in the water. Bonus: all of our homes are vetted in person, which means these pools are as good as they look. 

Resort-style pool and hot tub at Goodyear, Arizona vacation rental

Private Swimmer’s Paradise in Goodyear, AZ

Soak in the desert sun from this Goodyear home with a resort-style hot tub and pool combo. Work on your tan while you work from the sprawling patio, complete with a fully shaded outdoor area. The interior’s open layout and farmhouse furnishings are so beautiful that you’ll want to stay in and make meals at home — but when you’re ready to get out, grab ice cream at The Frozen Monkey and take a stroll around South Lake Park.

Palatial Luxury Home In Homestead, FL

If you’re feeling fancy, this Florida short-term rental is like stepping into a palace you can call your own. Here, 6,500 square feet of space is yours — meaning you can find a new place to work remotely every day. Sit al fresco in the expansive outdoor cabana or lounge by the palm tree-lined pool worthy of a magazine shoot. On weekends, day trip to the Florida Keys or take it easy with a bottle of local wine from Schnebly Winery.

Palm tree-lined pool at luxury vacation rental in Homestead, Florida
Lush background with in-ground pool at modern vacation rental in Austin, Texas

Modern Poolside Oasis In Austin, TX

The moment you set your bag down, the cerulean waters of this backyard pool will invite you to take a dip. Catch up with your group beneath the pergola, then swim laps in this sophisticated marvel as the sun goes down. Enormous windows let the light in here and make it feel like you’re by the pool, even when you’re hard at work inside. When you need to get out, experience the big city feeling by taking a walk through downtown Austin.

Honorable Mentions: Enjoy views of your own private lake and private pool at this luxurious vacation rental in Norman, OK, visit this meticulously decorated home with its own mini golf putting green and awe-inspiring pool in the Coachella Valley, or swim by day, stream movies in the home theater by night from this Pigeon Forge vacation rental.

Explore All Homes With A Pool

Get Energized: Vacation Rentals With A Gym

Exercise helps mental health and increases productivity — and companies are encouraging their teams to work out more than ever. These vacation rentals are perfect for a getaway that blends work-life balance, with a home gym to break up your day. 

Charming log cabin vacation rental surrounded by trees and nature trails in Sonoma County, California

Enchanting Log Cabin In Sonoma County, CA

Redwoods and red wine are waiting for you in Sonoma County. This charming cabin is the place to go glamping in the woods while still keeping a wi-fi signal. Nature is your gym here in a home that’s surrounded by trails and a few minutes from the beach, but if you want a more traditional place to exercise, hit the cabin’s small home gym. After a long work week, hop in the car, soak in ocean views, and savor wines from famous vineyards.

Private Forest Mansion In Acworth, GA

Turn your workday into a fairytale at this welcoming Acworth mansion, complete with a pool and its own movie theater. Take your lunch break in the home gym, catch up on emails from the gazebo, and toast to the day by the outdoor fire pit once five o’clock hits. There are so many ways to clear your head — whether it’s playing billiards, or cooking a meal for your group and enjoying it in the sprawling dining areas.

Acworth, Georgia vacation rental with a pool

Honorable Mentions: This budget-friendly vacation home in Glendale, AZ offers all the perks of a private resort, including a pool and a putting green. Or, go big and work remotely from this enormous vacation home sitting over the lake in Kaiser, MO. You can also sit out by your own private creek and access some of Colorado’s most pristine trails from this home amid the treetops in Evergreen, CO. 

Explore All Homes

Find Quiet: Vacation Rentals with an Office

Evolve only rents homes with private entrances, which means that every place on our site is perfect for finding focus. But if you’re looking for a getaway where you can separate your 9-5 from your night of relaxation, these picks come with a home office and the bliss of complete quiet.

Living room in an Erie, Colorado vacation rental that also has multiple offices

Enormous Retreat In Erie, CO

This vacation rental is made for remote work retreats with multiple offices, plenty of separate seating areas, and a boardroom-style table. Travel with friends and tackle the workday separately from your own private spaces, then reconnect over a game night in the living room. Wind down while strolling downtown Boulder (just a short drive away) with the Flatiron mountains as your backdrop.

Upscale Cabin In Show Low, AZ

Enjoy a life of luxury from this scenic cabin equipped with its own lofted office for working remotely. Catch up about the day around the outdoor fire pit or sip wine on the sprawling wood patio immersed in the forest. If you feel like getting outside, explore the easy Show Low Bluff Trail on foot or spend a leisurely day fishing at Fool Hollow Lake.

Spacious kitchen in Show Low, Arizona cabin vacation rental, a home that also has a lofted office

Honorable Mention: Work remotely from this vacation rental in Fairplay, CO, and enjoy a cozy, log cabin exterior with a clean, modern interior. 

Explore All Homes

Cozy Up: Vacation Rentals with a Fireplace

Good books are meant to be enjoyed next to a crackling fireplace. After a long day at the (virtual) office, sink into the couch at one of these places and find your cozy. All you need to bring is hot cider and groceries — each of our homes comes fully equipped with all the amenities you need to stay in for the night.

Dreamy Dome House In Idyllwild, CA

Hit the road and head to Idyllwild, which sits in California’s San Jacinto mountains. Pets are welcome at this airy dome house that’s a theater to thousands of night stars. Once you’ve closed up your laptop for the day, hit the trails at Mount San Jacinto State Park, then bring home a mountain pie to share from Idyllwild Pizza.

Cozy living room with wood-burning stove and guitar at the unique Dome House vacation rental in Idyllwild, California
Living room with stone fireplace and nature views at Incline Village, Nevada vacation rental

Spacious Modern Hideaway In Incline Village, NV

Rise to the sound of trees rustling out this bright property filled with natural light. Kick your feet up in the loft to get some focus, then spend happy hour in the hot tub before cooking up a feast in the gorgeous, modern kitchen. When you’re ready for fresh air, take an evening bike ride along Lake Tahoe, or just sit out and enjoy the lake.

Cabin In Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge is an outdoor paradise — and this enormous cabin that sleeps 14 is just the place to enjoy it. Take your calls from the quiet porch, indulge in a midday break to shoot some hoops in the in-home basketball court, and wind down by the fire after an evening of exploring the area’s sites. Window shop along Main Street and grab takeout, or find a hike like Hoosier Pass you can do as the sun goes down over the mountain. 

Rustic Breckenridge, Colorado cabin rental living room with large stone fireplace

Honorable Mentions: Sip a nightcap on a porch overlooking the creek at this vacation home in Frisco, CO, or soak your bones in the hot tub surrounded by trees in this Alto, New Mexico cabin.

Explore All Homes With A Fireplace

Fuel Creativity: Vacation Rentals with a View

Get some new perspective on what you’re working on from one of these places with a view. Find yourself thinking in new ways as you walk along the beach or sit out on the lake, free to let your mind wander. Just be sure to bring a notepad with you as you roam these houses for the moment a great idea strikes.

Exterior view of Bay City, Oregon hilltop vacation rental with stilted decks and lush landscaping

Hilltop Haven In Bay City, OR

If you’ve ever had the dream of looking out to the shoreline from a hot tub, this is just the place for you. This hilltop home in the Pacific Northwest is a destination for remote work, with several cozy seating areas, an unbelievable porch view looking over the coast, and a hot tub where you can dip and drink it all in. After work, take a scenic, slow drive along the Tillamook Bay and end the evening with scoops at the iconic Tillamook Creamery

Lakeview Retreat In Albion, MI

A lake with a private dock is yours at this calming escape in Albion, MI. This home is filled with windows so you never miss the view, even when you’re inside. There are so many places to work at this home on the golf course — whenever you need some fresh thinking, just pick a new room. The spacious kitchen opens right up into the living room, so you can share stories as you prepare the dinner to share. Days off can be spent on the course, dipping in the lake, or curling up next to a roaring fire while keeping the view.

Deck overlooking a private dock and lake at an Albion, Michigan vacation rental
Deck overlooking the ocean from beachfront vacation rental in Topsail Beach, North Carolina

Beachfront Home In Topsail Beach, NC

Creativity is often sparked by a long walk, and here, you can take that walk out on the beach. Sit out on one of the two decks facing the waves, then step out onto the sand when you need a break. Sunsets here look like a postcard, and you can enjoy them from a bright, cheerful house that is decorated to feel like vacation in every room. Spend the weekend grilling up porch on the outdoor barbecue and catching up your beach read in the pristine sand.

Honorable Mentions: Get out into the mountains at this Jefferson, CO cabin with a verdant view of the mountains and its own game room and treehouse. Or, book this cheerful beachfront home in New Smyrna Beach, FL with ocean access and take your morning coffee in the sand

Explore All Homes


Enjoy the freedom to work remotely from a vacation rental anywhere, with all the comforts of home. Find your perfect place to get some fresh air and rest easy knowing that it’ll be professionally cleaned and ready for your arrival.

“Aren’t you just like Airbnb and Vrbo?”

We get that question a lot from people who haven’t worked with us yet. It’s easy to see why. We’re all in the same industry, short-term property rentals. You can find and book great properties on our website or on theirs. And the fact that every Evolve property appears on Airbnb, Vrbo, and other online marketplaces just adds a little more to the confusion.

So let’s clear things up and outline exactly how Evolve is NOT Airbnb, Vrbo, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, or any other online marketplace.

They’re Marketplaces, We’re a Management Company

Airbnb, Vrbo, and similar websites are online “marketplaces” where guests find properties and homeowners find guests. Essentially, they act as a distribution channel for owners or property managers, attracting potential guests to their website but leaving the management of the properties and listings to the owners (or whoever is representing the property) themselves.

Evolve is a vacation rental management company. That means we actively manage our properties on behalf of our owners, ensuring maximum bookings and eliminating the stress of the traditional vacation rental process.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Evolve is a BIG customer of the online marketplaces. We have tens of thousands of properties listed on their sites, and we constantly implement cutting-edge strategies to make sure our owners’ homes are positioned for maximum traffic and bookings.

Behind the scenes, we have teams of specialists working on the hardest parts of managing a vacation rental: marketing, booking, and customer service. Our teams do everything from creating search-topping property listings to dynamically setting rates to answering guest questions and asking for online reviews. We even hire professional photographers at no cost to owners to show each property in the best possible light.

As a result of our approach, Evolve properties outperform most others on the online marketplaces. So we don’t compete with Airbnb, Vrbo and the rest. We work with them–and everybody wins.

Our Homes Are Different, Too: Always Perfect for Vacation

Unlike most marketplaces, we don’t offer home sharing, extended stays, campsites, trailers, or other mobile structures. Each Evolve property has its own entrance and kitchen (typically a house or condominium). A lot of Evolve guests appreciate having the comforts of home when they travel, and our properties reflect that.

We take even more guesswork out of vacation rental by making sure our properties meet our four core standards. We believe guests simply won’t have the experience they’re looking for unless the property they’ve booked is:

By focusing on properties ideally suited for vacationing and making sure each one lives up to our standards, we’re building a brand that guests can trust to have the time of their lives.

A Different Experience for Owners and Guests

Since Airbnb, Vrbo, and the like don’t handle property management, homeowners have traditionally been forced to either hire a local company to do it or fend for themselves. Evolve is different.

We give homeowners performance-focused marketing and booking support, plus the flexibility to choose their own partner(s) to clean the property and greet guests. Evolve handles all guest inquiries, bookings, and pre-stay communications. We can also connect owners with hundreds of vetted partners nationwide that can handle cleaning and guests.  

With Evolve’s help, every guest enjoys a booking experience that feels as professional as the world’s top hospitality brands. We handle all inquiries directly, resolve guest and owners questions, and communicate directly with cleaners to ensure the property is ready for every guest. Our unique approach makes vacation rental actually feel like vacation for owners and guests.

So We’re Not Airbnb or Vrbo, But We’re All Friends

Once you work with Evolve, you quickly discover the difference between our service and all of the others. Soon you’ll book — and earn — more for an industry-low fee that’s backed by an unmatched Risk-Free Guarantee.

Owners should be able to relax, trusting that their property is living up to its potential. And guests should be able to relax with an experience that feels like a big hospitality brand. That’s the Evolve difference.

Learn more about Evolve and how we can help you find success with Airbnb, Vrbo, and other online marketplaces.

Your Free Welcome Book Template Is Here!

Sure, your property listing covers a lot of info about your home — but guests will still have some questions when they arrive. Like, which local coffee shop has the best ambiance? What’s that one trick to getting the dishwasher started? How should they handle check-out?

Your welcome book is the perfect place to answer common questions, and it’s also one of the most searched for vacation rental amenities. By providing essential info up front, you can free guests from encountering snags during their stay.

We think that putting together this important resource should feel easy — which is why we made you a free welcome book template. All you have to do is download it and plug in your home’s info!

Why Make a Welcome Book?

Welcome books have a big impact on your guests’ experience. Here are some reasons to block off a few minutes and fill in this template.

Welcome Books Help Others Navigate Your Rental Property and Treat It the Right Way

Guests want to know how to watch a movie at night or adjust the temperature in your house. Giving them a resource on how to get comfortable living in your rental is sure to make their vacation stress-free for both of you.

Welcome Books Provide Local Highlights and a Sense of Your Personality

The reason many guests book vacation rental properties is to immerse themselves in the location. Recommending restaurants, coffee shops, stores, and more can turn a good trip into the best trip ever. Lead your guests to the most delicious slice in town — or teach them how to avoid crowds at a local attraction — and they’ll want to book with you again in the future.

Welcome Books Show Guests That You Care

Your advice on how to make the most of your property gives guests the friendly engagement they’re looking for. It also protects their personal space and privacy by providing valuable information without requiring personal interaction.

Welcome Books Help You Get Great Reviews

Your guests are likely to reward your thoughtfulness in their reviews. Even better, you or your guest contact may get fewer questions during their stay, and you’ll be sending new customers to your favorite local shops and restaurants, ensuring they thrive!

Sounds pretty great, right? But where should you start?

What to Include in Your Welcome Book

From a friendly “hello” letter to your home’s policies, these are the sections you’ll need to put together the most useful welcome book.

A Personal Welcome Note

Guests who choose vacation rental are looking for a unique home with a real person behind it. Writing a note to personally welcome them to your property is another way to separate yourself from a hotel — and reinforce their decision to stay with you.

Helpful Local Contacts

Make sure your welcome book provides at least one name, telephone number, and email for a local contact near your property. This person can be you, a local property manager, or even a neighbor — but they should be easily reachable, and available to come to the home on short notice. Nobody wants unanswered guest complaints to derail a pleasant stay.

You’ll also want to include contact details and addresses for the following emergency resources, just in case:

Remember, guests don’t have all of the resources they’d typically have at home. They’ll feel more at ease if they know you have their safety in mind.

Your Property’s Policies

Even if you send your policies in a pre-stay email, (Evolve does!) it’s still important to reiterate them at the property. Including policies in your welcome book can help you resolve common vacation rental issues and complaints because guests will have a difficult time arguing that they weren’t aware of the rules.

You should include all of the following information in your welcome book:

An in-home reference guide will help remind guests how best to enjoy your home and leave it in good shape for the next guests.  Another perk of including your policies: you’re way less likely to find broken or misused items after a stay!

How-To Instructions

When your guests can’t figure out simple things like how to turn on the hot tub, they can get frustrated and wind up taking out that frustration in their review of your property. Even if every appliance works perfectly, spending valuable relaxation time figuring out how to use it is no one’s idea of a fun vacation.

Include helpful instructions for your:

This is also a good place to note any quirks of your property. For example, if the Wifi works very well all over the house, but not in the family room downstairs, make sure your guests know that. If they aren’t expecting an issue, they’ll be annoyed by it, but with a little forewarning, they’ll feel like they know exactly what they can expect, and it’s less likely to trouble them.

Where to Go and What to Do

You know all of the insights you’ve collected about your neighborhood? Now’s the time to share your expertise — because everyone loves a good recommendation from a local! Try to suggest activities that would appeal to a range of guest types, such as family-friendly museums or romantic places for a dinner out.

Be sure to give addresses and phone numbers for each of your recommendations. Adding the amount of time it takes to get to the destination is a great idea, too. Include at least a suggestion or two in each of the following categories:

And share places where you personally enjoy going. This isn’t to say you can’t include popular attractions you haven’t visited in person. Just let your guests know that you haven’t tried them yourself, but you’ve heard good things and you hope they’ll tell you how they liked them! You can then use the guest feedback to gauge whether that activity merits a mention in your Welcome Book.

How to Get Around

Help guests explore your area by creating a section devoted to local transit. Be sure to include contact info, directions, schedules and any other details that guests might find helpful, like:

Ready to Create Your Book?

Here’s the good news: we’ve already created one for you. To make things easier for you and your guests we created a free downloadable template. Enter your email in the form below to get your free, customizable copy. Then, type your information into our template, print the completed welcome book, and display it in an obvious area of your rental property, such as the kitchen counter. And if you’re looking to start booking more nights on your vacation rental, we can help with that, too.

The right vacation rental partner can help your business thrive, whether you’re brand new to the industry, a seasoned investor, or somewhere in between. But choosing that partner — and whether they can legitimately get you to your goals — means you need to take different variables into consideration. 

After you’ve learned about our team and whether your property is a good fit for the services we offer, it’s time to decide: is Evolve worth it for you and your business? 

We don’t think you should have to figure that out alone.

Hear from real owners — from locations all over the country — who’ve shared details about their experiences with Evolve.

Ready to see if you qualify? Get started today by telling us about your property, goals, and past rental experience. And remember: it’s OK if you don’t have any!

In This Article:
Meet Anne: Out-of-State Owner Looking for Management Value
Meet Eric: Owner Trying to Save Time Running a Family Rental
Meet Don & Toby: First-Timers Searching for a Support System
Meet Kevin & Kendra: Busy Owners Adding Another Vacation Rental
Meet Bill: Out-of-State Investor Craving Hands-Off Success
Meet Stacy & Michael: Skeptical First-Time Investors
Meet Joel & Jim: B&B Owners Stepping Into Vacation Rental
Meet Marjorie: Investor Trying to Boost an Underperforming Rental

Green and blue icon of an A frame cabin with mountains, a moon, and a percentage symbol.

Meet Anne: Out-of-State Owner Looking for Management Value

A Colorado resident with a cabin rental in Packwood, WA, Anne N. was in a bind when her local property manager decided to retire. Though she started her search for a replacement in Washington, high management fees pushed her to look for alternatives.

“The fact that you guys took only 10%,” Anne said, “I thought that was a bargain to be honest.”

For our industry-low fee, we provided expert marketing on all the top listing sites to help Anne’s home get in front of more guests, and created a custom revenue plan to get bookings at the best rates. 

She said, “I don’t have the time or desire to deal with all the administrative aspects of renting the cabin myself. Evolve takes care of all of that.”

With our help — including finding and coordinating with local service providers despite Anne being out of state  — her income increased 50% in just six months.

Learn More About Anne
Green and blue icon of a large home with hills, waves, sun, and a clock symbol.

Meet Eric: Owner Trying to Save Time Running a Family Rental

As an out-of-state owner and a busy attorney, Eric A. didn’t want his family home in Tamworth, NH turning into a second job. When he found out our team would field booking inquiries, handle pre- and post-stay communications, and publish his home on multiple sites across the web, he decided the time-saving benefits made Evolve worth it.

In addition to cutting his time commitment down to just 30 minutes a week, we provided more insurance coverage for every booking, improved his listing with a strategic description and professional photography, and adjusted rates dynamically to help him earn more.

“If you look at all of the hassle of renting, especially from a long distance, my overall stress levels have diminished substantially,” Eric said. “Evolve frees me up to get more work done in my professional life, to get more hobby time, and to spend more time with my family.”

See Eric’s Rental Results
Green and blue icon of a large cabin with hills, clouds, and a money symbol.

Meet Don & Toby: First-Timers Searching for a Support System

Don and Toby A. lived a few hours from their second home in the Poconos, PA when they realized they could be making extra income by renting it out as a vacation property.

After talking to our team, Don said the free professional photography, broad distribution, tax guidance, and payment process all had him ready to sign up. “Everything was as easy as it could possibly be,” he realized. 

After making nearly $98,000 in less than a year with Evolve, Don also raved about our ability to connect him to trusted, local service providers who help keep the rental in tip-top shape so he can earn five-star guest reviews.  

“Jen — who Evolve introduced me to — treats my house like it’s her own,” he said. “After a guest leaves, she goes through the house [and] lets me know if there’s anything to be concerned about. It’s a great system.”

Hear More From Don & Toby

From finding the perfect property to pricing it right, there’s a lot that goes into launching a vacation rental. Our experts can help you start off strong.

Green and blue icon of a Mid Century home with a sun, hills, a money symbol.

Meet Kevin & Kendra: Busy Owners Adding Another Vacation Rental

Because Kevin and Kendra F. had success with their first Evolve-supported vacation rental, they were excited to invest in a second property in Tucson, AZ.

After adding three guest houses, the most comfortable mattresses they could find, and other top-booked amenities, they were ready to have Evolve fill their second property with guests. Before long, their booking calendar was full, and they were even seeing strong performance in the off-season

As busy owners, growing their business seamlessly was a relief. “Evolve is a one-stop shop,” Kendra said. “They make it so easy.”

See How Much They Earned

Ready to add another property to your portfolio? Our experts can help you find the right home and grow your business with confidence.

Blue icon of a beach home with waves, palm trees, and a percentage symbol.

Meet Bill: Out-of-State Investor Craving Hands-Off Success

Based out of Hampton Bay, NY, Bill S. felt too far away to get his new Florida rental on Flagler Beach up and running. “I knew I wanted somebody to handle most of the work,” he said.

So he partnered with Evolve to build the listing, secure bookings, and set dynamic rates. Then, Bill gathered his own group of on-the-ground service providers, who worked seamlessly with our team to keep his rental business running like a well-oiled machine. 

After 28 months and more than $200,000 in rental income, he and his wife, Dee, were inspired to invest in another property. “I wasn’t looking to make this [first one] an income property, but the performance is way beyond what I thought it was going to be. That’s why I want to buy another one!”

See How Bill’s Business Grew

With the right support, beach house rentals can be a huge revenue maker. Get the investment tips you need — and dive into the best markets — to start swimming toward success.

Green and blue icon of a home with mountains, clouds, and a money symbol.

Meet Stacy & Michael: Skeptical First-Time Investors

As first-time vacation rental owners in Granby, CO, Stacy and Michael D. didn’t want to commit to any property management partner until they were confident they found the right one. 

When they learned we don’t require any long-term contracts, they figured Evolve was worth a try — and if they didn’t see 100 nights booked in their first year, they would walk away. But after just seven months with Evolve, they had 132 nights booked at the best rates to maximize their profits.

“The entire process was so seamless and easy,” Michael said. “From the first call we made to Evolve, to helping us find a cleaning company, to the photoshoot, to the property description, to getting our property live on all the listing sites…Evolve has been amazing with not just getting our property booked, but also answering all of our questions and handling our concerns along the way.”

Read Their Success Story

Backed by our Risk-Free Guarantee, a whole suite of management services are included in our industry-low 10% fee.

Blue icon of a large home with a sun and money symbol.

Meet Joel & Jim: B&B Owners Stepping Into Vacation Rental

Joel H. and his partner Jim were hospitality pros running a successful bed and breakfast in the heart of California Wine Country. With the growing popularity of vacation rentals, they saw an opportunity to switch gears and get more time together. 

But then, they calculated how many hours it would take to run their Calistoga property as a rental, and learned they would need to keep up with monthly — even daily — changes in the market to succeed.

“We wanted to find an option that made life easy,” Joel said. “Nothing is ever finished, and in the world of the 21st century everything moves very quickly.”

After choosing Evolve, they had the support of industry pros with over a decade of experience. We launched Joel and Jim’s custom listing right as their last B&B guests checked out. And, with marketing and pre-stay guest communications covered by our experts, their first booking came within a week.

“The Evolve team has very good communication and is always helpful,” Joel said. “We always recommend Evolve to other vacation rental owners.”

View Their 6-Month Earnings

The vacation rental industry is always changing. Our team has their pulse on constant shifts in the market, so you don’t have to spend hours researching on your own.

Green and blue icon of a cabin with hills, trees, and a graph.

Meet Marjorie: Investor Trying to Boost an Underperforming Rental

Marjorie B. thought her cabin investment on the slopes of a ski resort in South Dakota’s Black Hills would make it easy to attract guests. But in her first year running the rental with another company, she barely broke even. “Things were not going well until Evolve,” she said.

Compared to the 30% commission and $400 annual fee she had been paying (often the costs of traditional management), Evolve’s singular 10% management fee and promotion across all the top listing sites was a dream. “It has been perfect and I can’t imagine a better fit with any other company.”

After getting four times the return she had been hoping to get, Marjorie said, “I thought it sounded too good to be true. But it’s been nearly two years and I’m still pinching myself!”

See Marjorie’s Cabin Performance

So, Is Evolve Worth It for Your Vacation Rental Business?

We know this won’t be the end of your careful research. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a legit partner to help start, manage, or grow your business — and these owner success stories only cover a portion of what we do.

If you’re ready to tell us about your home and unique investment goals, we can’t wait to learn more. See if you qualify below to join tens of thousands of other owners maximizing their rental potential across North America.

There’s a lot to get in order when turning a second home into a vacation rental for the first time

But let’s say you’ve done all the pre-work. The place is upgraded with key amenities, furnished to perfection, fully inventoried, and deep-cleaned. Now it’s ready to hit the internet and start accepting bookings.

The question is: where exactly should you list the property?

It’s no secret that putting your home on a major listing site is a must for getting seen by travelers. But with so many options, it can be overwhelming — not to mention time-consuming — to decide what’s best for you. 

Below is a short list of the absolute best vacation rental sites for owners. You’ll get all the information you need, from the unique benefits each site offers to how much it costs to list.

In This Article 
Google Vacation Rental
Hopper Homes
Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™

Spoiler alert: Evolve lists your home on all the best vacation rental sites for owners as a built-in part of our services. Chat with us today to learn more.

1. Airbnb

Graphic showing Airbnb owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

A longtime giant in the vacation rental industry, Airbnb is a household name that gives owners access to more than 150 million users around the world. Our Distribution team says they tend to serve younger, tech-savvy travelers looking for more affordable accommodations.

How Does Airbnb Work for Owners?

Airbnb is truly a DIY, be-your-own-boss experience for owners. You can rent out anything from a single room in shared space to a private house or a totally unique vacation home.

This makes Airbnb a catch-all for nearly any type of accommodation. Signing up as a host takes seconds, and while you need to meet basic requirements to do so successfully (and establish a positive review rating to stay on the site), the rest is in your hands.

Owners are in charge of creating their listing, responding to guest inquiries, and managing reviews. Airbnb offers help via standard 24/7 support lines and a community forum. (You can post your property listing to the group for feedback, for instance.) But they also incentivize owners to create the best possible experiences for guests by reserving priority support resources for Superhosts. 

Behind the scenes, Airbnb is constantly evolving their interface, and they frequently launch new features to improve how the site runs for owners. (For example, there’s a “Today tab” for upcoming check-ins and a “Description starter” for listing help.) 

With over 4 million hosts across the globe and nearly 6 million homes to date, Airbnb is certainly one of the best listing sites for owners. But if you’re new to vacation rental and hoping for more guidance around what it takes to build your business successfully, Airbnb’s hands-off approach is something to keep in mind.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Airbnb?

Airbnb charges a 3% commission on every booking you secure, though there are some circumstances that might increase this percentage. When a reservation is confirmed, Airbnb sends you a price breakdown email detailing the fees and taxes they collect, what your guests pay (including a variable service fee), and what money ultimately lands in your pocket.

2. Vrbo

Graphic showing VRBO owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

Founded in 1995 and the oldest player in the game, Vrbo has made a recent surge in vacation rental popularity with more than 48 million active monthly users, according to our Distribution team. They heavily market over 2 million listings around the world to families, encouraging group getaways that inspire connection.

How Does Vrbo Work for Owners?

Much like Airbnb, Vrbo gives owners fairly free rein to make their hosting experience what they want it to be. Unlike Airbnb, though, Vrbo doesn’t allow any accommodations in shared spaces. 

To get started, you need to answer a few quick questions about your home before plugging in account creation information. From there, you can build your listing and jump into the scene. 

Vrbo offers standard 24/7 support and helps guide owners toward different software you can integrate to manage all the brass tacks of your business. Vrbo also lives under the Expedia parent company, so owners get the marketing and exposure benefits that come with the influence of Expedia and their affiliates.

Our Distribution team says Vrbo is a great marketplace option for owners wanting a more simple and familiar interface. Stays tend to be longer than they are on Airbnb, which translates to less frequency in turnarounds (and potentially fewer cleaning and maintenance bills).

How Much Does It Cost to List on Vrbo?

If Vrbo feels like a good fit, there are two base cost options. You can opt to pay a 5% service fee on every confirmed booking, or you can choose an annual subscription of $499.  Our Distribution team says the best route for you will come down to how quickly your revenue might hit a $499 fee threshold, as well as your personal preference around payment frequency.

Whichever option you choose, Vrbo also charges a 3% processing fee on total payment and taxes for their owners. You can find a Payout summary in your Vrbo account to see net income after a reservation is complete, which also accounts for the service fee guests pay. (Much like Airbnb, our Distribution team says that figure consistently varies based on a number of factors.)

3. Booking.com

Graphic showing Booking.com owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

An industry heavyweight offering vacation rentals and hotels — among other bookable travel needs like flights and car rentals — Booking.com has the broadest audience of all the best vacation rental sites for owners, clocking over 100 million monthly users, our Distribution team says.

How Does Booking.com Work for Owners?

Booking.com considers owners their partners, and it’s arguably the most direct-to-traveler channel. Like Airbnb and Vrbo, you fill out a quick profile to register, set your house rules, build a listing, and dive in. 

But with Booking.com, the prices you set are the prices your guests pay. There’s no service fee tied to how Booking.com operates for consumers, which may be why 75% keep coming back.

Owners on Booking.com have access to the expected 24/7 support that all the best vacation rental listing sites provide, can chat with guests through their on-site portfolio, and can report any issues or request payment from guests if an incident occurs. 

Booking.com also offers its hosts a much wider range of commercial products than Airbnb or Vrbo (at a discount), helping maximize your marketing and booking abilities if managing your home as a DIYer.

One thing to be aware of: Booking.com owners do not have the freedom to review guest inquiries and potentially deny bookings. All reservations made through this marketplace are automatically confirmed, much like they would be for a hotel stay.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Booking.com?

Booking.com charges an average 15% fee on confirmed stays in the U.S., though it may vary slightly if you’re in a different country. Our Distribution team also notes that while there’s no standard processing fee for owners with Booking.com, there may be additional processing fees based on your bank or financial service.

4. Google Vacation Rental

Graphic showing Google owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

A recently-launched feature, Google showcases vacation rental options on the first page of results when you make a relevant search. With Google’s near-monopoly on internet searches, having your property surface here has massive potential to attract eager travelers.

How Does Google Vacation Rental Work for Owners?

Google’s travel feature is not a DIY situation because it’s not technically a marketplace in the traditional sense. Owners must work with a management company that’s partnered with Google Vacation Rental (like Evolve) for inclusion; you cannot be featured through Airbnb, Vrbo, or Booking.com. 

It’s also important to note that, while selecting a property management company with a Google partnership gives you access to a broader audience, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically pop up in results. Your listing needs to be highly optimized for search terms that help Google identify it as the best content for your most qualified travelers, and professional photography is a must. (These are topics we go into detail about in our free e-book, The 6 Biggest Secrets to Earning Thousands More.

With that in mind, make sure the property management solutions you consider have professional photography standards and search engine optimization (SEO) experts monitoring your listing’s performance.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Google Vacation Rental?

Only good news here: since Google uses their search functionality to surface vacation rental listings rather than a dedicated platform, there’s no additional cost to owners who are featured. Instead, you need to find a property management company that can maximize your home’s potential.

5. Expedia

Graphic showing Expedia owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

As one of the most recognizable online travel agencies in the world, Expedia makes it easy for travelers to book vacation rental and hotel stays — and even bundle accommodations alongside flight- and activity-based bookings. With over 30 million monthly site visitors, having your vacation rental listing on this site gets your property in front of a huge network of convenience-focused guests.

How Does Expedia Work for Owners?

Gaining access to Expedia’s growing customer base isn’t guaranteed on your own. Instead, owners must work with a management company (like Evolve) to secure a spot under Expedia’s “Stays” section, which promotes hotels and vacation rentals to ready-to-book guests.

Owners could also get some visibility on Expedia if they work directly with an Expedia Group subsidiary, like Vrbo. It’s important to note, though, that this only creates the potential to show up on Expedia’s site, given you must meet specific criteria. Instead, working with a pro company locks in guaranteed exposure for your listing on Expedia.com — and the possibility for promotion across additional well-known travel brands like Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, Hotels.com, and more.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Expedia?

Because vacation rental owners cannot work directly with Expedia, the only cost you would need to account for is between you and your property management company. Make sure whoever you team up with has relationships in place to increase your listing’s exposure — and provides knowledgeable tips — that can help maximize your earning potential.

6. Hopper Homes

Graphic showing Hopper owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

Named one of the fastest-growing travel apps, Hopper recently launched a vacation home vertical — offering a hub of top short-term rental inventory across the world.

How Does Hopper Homes Work for Owners?

Much like Google Vacation Rental, Hopper Homes is not directly available to owners. Instead, you need to partner with a property management company (like Evolve) to gain exposure to their 70 million users.

Hopper takes a unique marketing approach to gain those users: they heavily encourage people to download their app through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Because of this, they grab the attention of mobile-first generations (like Gen Y and Gen Z), putting an owners’ home in front of a customer demographic that has a high lifetime value.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Hopper Homes?

This site isn’t entirely free marketing in the way Google Vacation Rental is, since Hopper collects a commission for listing. But that’s covered by a partnering property management company — so the only cost to owners is that management company’s standard fee. Given the access Hopper Homes can unlock, it’s important to work with someone who’s in touch with the latest marketing trends and can showcase your home on all the right vacation rental sites.

7. Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™

Graphic showing Homes & Villas owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

Marriott is already a massive name in travel, and now their trusted hospitality extends beyond traditional hotel accommodations with Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™. The booking potential for owners here is huge, since their curated collection of vacation rentals is promoted to millions of Marriott Bonvoy™ loyalty members.

How Does Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™ Work for Owners?

This is another platform that can’t be accessed by owners unless you’re working with a professional property management company that partners with Marriott Bonvoy™. 

That said, if your property management company does grant you listing access, your home can be seen by more than 169 million engaged Marriott Bonvoy™ members — an exclusive audience of frequent travelers dedicated to a brand they trust. Guests can earn and redeem their loyalty points when they book vacation rentals through Homes & Villas, which means they’re more likely to keep coming back.

All homes listed by Marriott Bonvoy™ must also meet the brand’s high standards for five-star service, so each home is hand-selected for the site based on quality and aesthetic. That means having your vacation rental featured here signals to travelers that your property is in premium condition — something that can continue to boost your reputation in the long run.

How Much Does It Cost to List on Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™?

Just like Hopper Homes, owners listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™ have costs covered by their property management company — and pay no out-of-pocket commission fees. Be sure to choose a property management company that works with the brand and knows how to help you hit the five-star standards you need to succeed.

How to Not Choose Between the Best Vacation Rental Sites for Owners

Settling on one site is often a necessary task for a DIYer — it’s just not realistic to juggle communications and bookings through all of them alone, nor is it cheap to cover the sum of their fees.

But listing on just one site is not what’s best for your business. Getting on as many as you can means more marketing exposure, more bookings, and more revenue. That’s why we advocate a different approach: put yourself on every single one of the best vacation rental sites for owners by working with Evolve.

Graphic showing Evolve owner benefits, owner costs, commission fee, subscription fee, and processing fee.

We start by creating a professional listing in a search engine-friendly format that also comes with professional photography. Then, we put your listing on Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, Google Vacation Rental, Expedia, Hopper Homes, and evolve.com — not to mention Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy™ and a few other listing sites if your home qualifies — partnering with each to continuously adapt as the market does.

Here’s the great news: the fees typically imposed on DIY owners by listing sites are factored into our proven-to-work revenue optimization strategy, so you’ll reap the benefits without ever having to worry about those costs yourself. 

Of course, we also have expert revenue analysts who leverage our exclusive dynamic revenue management tool and in-house specialists who handle guest communications on your behalf — meaning Evolve works for you in a way an individual marketplace can’t, and it’s all done for an industry-low fee. 

If you’re interested in learning more, hop down to the form below to see if you qualify for our services and kickstart a conversation with one of our vacation rental pros.

Tucked along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the thriving city of Fort Myers is an ideal vacation destination for travelers. The coastal location is home to gorgeous beaches, endless family-friendly activities, and memorable nightlife that helps attract over five million visitors every year. 

These draws are exactly what can make a real estate investment in Fort Myers as appealing to buyers as the glistening ocean waters.

To help you understand the earning potential of this Florida market, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis

Inside you’ll find: 

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Fort Myers market averages in the last 12 months and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart buying decisions when looking for the perfect Fort Myers investment property.

Download Our Complete Fort Myers Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Purple icon of a beach house with waves, an umbrella, and stars

Why Fort Myers Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

Fort Myers’ draw may begin with the beaches and gorgeous year-round weather, but it doesn’t end there. When you consider the Florida Repertory Theatre, the Edison Ford Winter Estates, the lively Times Square, and the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, this city is a well-rounded destination for families, couples, and snowbirds alike.

Fort Myers’ vacation rental occupancy starts to rise in late winter, as guests look to escape colder temps, and reaches its peak in spring break months. Demand remains fairly steady through early summer, when the weather is perfect for sun-chasers hoping to avoid the larger springtime crowds. And while occupancy tends to slow down a bit during the early fall months, the area’s overall annual demand still presents good earning potential for investors.

The median home value currently falls around $364,000, which is more affordable than nearby Naples ($593,000) and Bonita Springs ($582,000). Home prices may fluctuate based on the property’s proximity to beaches and attractions, but there are promising options across budgets if you’re eager to make a real estate investment in Fort Myers.

Purple icon of a crystal ball with the words "profit prediction" in the middle with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Fort Myers Vacation Rental?

As guests of all kinds discover the city’s sandy beaches and exciting attractions, vacation rental owners have the potential to earn big. Before scooping up a Fort Myers investment property, consider these important factors.

Property Size

Four-bedroom properties tend to perform the best in Fort Myers, as they are usually booked the most consistently and earn the most annual revenue.  However, larger properties often make up a much smaller percentage of available inventory. So if you’re hoping to lock down a larger investment property, your property search may be a bit more limited.

That said, one-bedroom homes aren’t far behind in average nights booked, so smaller properties can still make a great investment. These home sizes are much more common in the Fort Myers vacation rental inventory, too, giving buyers more options to choose from. (Not to mention you may be able to snag one closer to the ocean — a really appealing draw for guests traveling in smaller groups.)

Property Location

According to our Real Estate Services (RES) team, travelers want to book homes right on the coast or within walking distance to the beach. So it’s best to start your investment property search as close to the sand as possible to set yourself up for success from the start.

Condos also tend to perform very well in Fort Myers, especially when located in the Fort Myers River District or the downtown area with beach access. So while a larger, standalone beach house could produce a high investment return, a beachfront condo is also a great option that can potentially unlock access to the market at lower upfront costs.

Speaking of beach homes, check out the best places to buy one across the U.S. — and why they’re such good investments.

Property Amenities

Our data shows the majority of top-performing rentals in Fort Myers are located on or near the Gulf Coast, so properties with an ocean view are a top priority when house hunting. Same goes for providing popular beach amenities that can convince guests to book your home over someone else’s.

Of course, amenities that create comfort and room to unwind — think air conditioning and an updated outdoor space with plenty of seats and shade — helps encourage guests to leave five-star reviews after days of soaking up the sun and fun.

And with so many vacation rentals on the market for travelers to choose from, it’s important to make sure your property stands out by investing in the top amenities guests are after — particularly when traveling to the Gulf Coast.

When you’re ready to explore the vacation rental market, start your search with these homes for sale.

Download Our Full Fort Myers, FL Vacation Rental Market Analysis

With gorgeous weather, sandy beaches, and endless activities for guests to enjoy, Fort Myers is a great destination for travelers of all ages — and a promising real estate investment for curious buyers to explore.

Whether you’re looking to make your first rental property purchase or you’re ready to earn with your current second home, our free Fort Myers Vacation Rental Market Analysis has what you need. It’s filled with important insights, including:

Use this exclusive performance intel to guide your next steps toward a Fort Myers investment property and make your vacation rental business feel like a summer breeze.

One of the many reasons travelers choose unique vacation rentals over a run-of-the-mill hotel chain: the built-in experiences they offer. After all, there’s a certain thrill attached to booking a cool, private home that allows you to fully tap into your best vacation self. 

Whether you want to bring the whole family or find a one-of-a-kind vacation rental for two, these unique homes will inspire a forever-talked-about adventure.

Don’t forget: you can favorite your top picks now for easy reference when planning your future vacations.

In This Article:
The Jurassic Retreat
A Wild West Getaway
Renovated Fire Station
The “Balinese” Oasis
Castle of Joy
Circular Beach House 
The Sorcerer’s Cabin
Lakeside Cabin with Yurt
The Cozy Dome
Riverside Storage Container
A Disney Lover’s Dream Home
A Schoolhouse Studio
Cliffside Alaskan Escape
The Luxury Treehouse 
Spanish-Style Studio with Garden
Ted Williams’ Former Home
Lighthouse Above the Bayou
The Medieval Mansion
Charming Mermaid Hideaway
A Nascar Fan’s Bucket List Home
Renovated Gas Station

1. The Jurassic Retreat

Jurassic Retreat: a unique vacation rental property set back in the woods with life-size dinosaurs

Nestled in the lush Washington forest, this family-friendly vacation rental is a dinosaur-lover’s dream. Be prepared, though: you won’t have this spacious three-bedroom to yourself. You’ll share your unique vacation rental with a life-size tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptor, and triceratops! 

The modern-meets-prehistoric home also has a private hot tub, open-concept interior, and all the amenities you could ask for while journeying back in time about 65 million years. We recommend cueing up the 75” Smart TV so the whole gang can watch their favorite dino flicks.

Book Your Jurassic Retreat

2. A Wild West Getaway

Wild west themed vacation rental ranch with a saloon and wagon located near Lucerne Valley, California

Pack up the wagon and get the horses ready, because we’re taking a trip to the wild, wild west. This cowboy-approved ranch in Lucerne Valley, CA looks just like the set of your favorite Western movie. Staged with a rustic post office, classic barber shop, and saloon on the property, you and up to nine others can make a quaint frontier town your very own.

When you’re ready to saddle up and explore, this unique vacation rental doesn’t disappoint. The property offers off-roading adventures in the open desert, and is only a short drive from San Bernardino National Forest and Big Bear Lake. It’s your vacation, of course, so if you’d prefer to lay low under the tin roof and snuggle up next to the fireplace, we fully support that decision.

Book Your Wild West Getaway

Speaking of support: All of our homes are backed by our Rest Easy Promise that your one-of-a-kind vacation rental will be safe, clean, and ready for you and your loved ones’ arrival.

3. Renovated Fire Station

Image of the dining room of a renovated fire station in Tulsa Oklahoma, vacation rental home

The furnishings of this historic, renovated fire station fully lean into the theme of its original space. Available to book in Tulsa, OK, every detail adds to the firehouse vibes inside — from the hanging helmets to the firetruck couch — while the home’s outdoor spaces are primed for yard games and activities. 

Cook up a good meal on the grill, hang on the private patio, or warm up by the fire pit before heading inside for the ultimate sleepover (there’s room to sleep six). With no steps needed to access this unique rental, it’s a home base fit for all.

Book Your Renovated Fire Station

4. The “Balinese” Oasis

Tropical vacation property rental on Florida's eastern coast with palm trees, water access, and a hut for shade

Treat yourself to an international experience without needing to stamp your passport. This tropical sanctuary on Florida’s eastern coast is loaded with spa-like amenities (hello soaking tub, tiki huts, and waterfront hammocks), making it the perfect destination for honeymoons and girls’ trips alike. 

From nearby white-sand beaches to bottlenose dolphins splashing around a lagoon, there’s no shortage of memorable adventures right outside your door. This cool place to rent is sure to delight travelers of all types — and it never hurts to feel like you’ve traveled internationally while saving time and money.

Book Your “Bali House” Trip

5. Castle of Joy

Castle vacation rental with drawbridge and trees surrounding

Live your full-on renaissance fantasy when you stay in this epic castle, complete with a drawbridge and portcullis. When you first arrive, you’ll want to wander the 11 acres of beautiful terrain surrounding the grand stone fortress, then soak up the regal vibe of the luxurious decor inside. Of course, this home also takes you out of the dark ages and into modern comfort with a private hot tub on the terrace, where you’ll soak in great mountain views amidst your old-world surroundings. 

Whether you’re visiting to explore the stunning fall foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains or opting for a home you hath not leave for days, this majestic home is a perfect choice.

Book Your Regal Retreat

6. Circular Beach House

Circular vacation rental beach house in Flagler Beach, Florida

Situated mere steps from the sand, this circular beach rental on the Florida coast takes ocean views to another level with wrap-around balconies on every floor. The cabana-themed home sleeps 12 and comes with tons of ideal features for family and friends.

Get out and play with provided kayaks, bikes, beach toys, and more. Or, chill out and make memories in the private tiki bar, huge hot tub, and full-blown game room complete with jukebox tunes. Whether you soak up the sun or stay in the shade, it’s easy to float through the day in this cool vacation rental.

Book Your Circular Beach House

If the thought of a seaside home sparks your wanderlust, see more beach vacation rentals available to book.

7. The Sorcerer’s Cabin

Harry Potter-themed vacation rental cabin living room with a brick fireplace, chess set on the hearth, tapestries and framed paintings of Hogwarts professors on the wall, and a sorting hat

Step into a world fit for witches and wizards when you stay in this Harry Potter-themed California cabin. Fans will delight in each room’s Hogwarts-worthy decor, and can take in views of the surrounding forest (don’t worry, this one isn’t forbidden) from two wraparound balconies. 

With scenic hiking trails and Snow Valley Mountain Resort nearby, there are also a variety of activities to keep you busy in all seasons. Embark on a spellbinding adventure, then enjoy a meal back home under a canopy of floating candles. Of course, the cabin comes complete with a smart TV and all eight Harry Potter films — so you can snuggle in for a magical night with your favorite cast of characters.

Book Your Sorcerer’s Cabin

8. Lakeside Cabin with Yurt

Interior shot from inside a yurt, looking out the window to a lakeside view in a vacation rental

Wake up to lake views like never before when you stay in this picturesque Minnesota cabin with a waterside yurt. The cabin’s gorgeous coffee bar and wrap-around deck are complemented by an outdoor fire pit, private docks (with slide!), and modern yurt that truly steals the show. 

When it’s time for daily breaks from swimming in the lake, cook together in the fully-equipped kitchen or grill out on the patio for a meal to remember. Spend your evenings watching the sun fade over the water from the deck — or from the comfort of your yurt.

Book Your Lakeside Cabin & Yurt

9. The Cozy Dome

Vacation rental dome near Blanco, TX perfect for couples or solo travelers

Embark on a one-of-a-kind vacation when you stay in this quaint dome just outside of Blanco, TX. With room for two and the character of an above-ground hobbit home, it’s an affordable vacation rental perfect for couples or the solo traveler.

The innovative architecture is what sets this studio space apart from so many other vacation rentals — it’s like a tiny home, but with an extra pop of personality. And with a state park, winery, and lavender farm nearby, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure before returning to your snug hideaway.

Book Your Dome Destination

10. Riverside Shipping Container

Unique shipping container vacation rental near Branson, MO

If rich history, bold character, and wide-open spaces make your list of vacation must-haves, you won’t want to miss out on this shipping container home. Family-run since 1899, the 400 acres of organic farmland give you plenty of room to roam — along with direct access to the Spring River — while the modern living space is a perfect fit for four.

Pack your days with new experiences in nearby Branson, then come back home for incredible stargazing from the large deck. (You can also warm up by the fire pit during chillier seasons.)

Book Your Shipping Container

11. A Disney Lover’s Dream Home

Family-friendly vacation rental near Disney in Orlando with arcade games and themed rooms

When it comes to family-friendly retreats, this themed vacation rental near Disney (it’s a mere 10 minutes away) stands out from the rest. With an action-packed game room, heart-warming references to your favorite characters, and space for 10, it’s the perfect accommodation for a multi-generational family adventure.

After a fun-filled day in Orlando, you can take a break from the crowds and dip in your private swimming pool. Or, challenge your companions to a competitive game of foosball in the air-conditioned arcade. Wherever your Disney vacation ideas lead you, when staying here you’re pretty much guaranteed to make lifelong memories with the ones you love most (and Mickey Mouse, of course).

Book Your Dream Disney Home

12. A Schoolhouse Studio

Renovated schoolhouse vacation rental property near Kearneysville, WV

Entertain your inner history buff by making a renovated schoolhouse your vacation home base. Complete with quirky decor like old school desks and chalkboards — and nostalgic games like marbles and jacks — it’s an affordable vacation rental that’s certainly far from ordinary. 

And since every school session needs time for recess, it’s convenient that this West Virginia studio is just minutes from vineyards and hiking trails. The studious traveler can also grab a book and unwind by the gas fire pit in the private backyard, making this unique home a solid A+.

Book Your Schoolhouse Studio

13. Cliffside Alaskan Escape

Luxurious vacation rental on top of a cliffside in Alaska overlooking the Alaska Range

With sprawling acreage and breathtaking natural surroundings, there’s nothing quite as unique as this dream-worthy villa. Sitting a little higher than other Alaska vacation rentals, it’s literally perched on the side of a cliff.

It takes going off the grid (while still enjoying ultra-modern amenities) to new heights, too. The luxurious villa has room for nine, a hot tub overlooking the Alaska Range, and 22 acres ready for exploration. Just imagine: after a day of glacier hiking, you take a bayside soak while eagles soar up above. Aren’t you feeling more relaxed already?

Book Your Cliffside Escape

14. The Luxury Treehouse

Luxury treehouse vacation rental located Hilton Head Island, SC

Star in your own whimsical adventure when you stay in this fancy treehouse rental on Hilton Head Island. Fit for six guests, its light-filled interior and panoramic views offer a truly unique treehouse experience. Whether you’re inside cooking up a favorite meal or relaxing on the private deck, the airy architecture keeps you connected to nature throughout your stay.

You can also venture out to explore 12 miles of beaches, historic local hotspots, and a full range of good eats found in Hilton Head. Once you’re ready to unwind, your upscale treehouse is a welcoming retreat for watching the sun set over the marsh.

Book Your Luxury Treehouse

15. Spanish-Style Studio with Garden

Exterior image of the backyard of a spanish style vacation rental home in Whittier, California

Spanish architecture meets California gardens in this charming studio with an enchanting outdoor area. Sip morning coffee under the orange tree before heading to nearby Disneyland, or wind down by the fire pit after a busy day exploring downtown Los Angeles.

If sandy toes are more your style, Long Beach and Mother Beach are both close by. After soaking up the sun and salty air, your cozy rental will welcome you with modern comforts (like a SmartTV and air conditioning) so you can relax with ease. 

Book Your Spanish-Style Studio

16. Ted Williams’ Former Home

Famous Ted Williams statue in yard of unique Vermont vacation rental that used to be Ted Williams' home

It’s not everyday that you have the opportunity to claim a Red Sox Hall of Famer’s home as your own. Ted Williams and his Vogue model wife, Dolores, previously lived in this Vermont haven. Filled with memorabilia from his 19-year MLB career in Boston, it’s a baseball family’s dream getaway. You can even take a seat next to Williams himself (in statue form) while the whole crew roasts marshmallows by the fire. 

Of course, a trip to this unique vacation rental wouldn’t be complete without exploring nearby Killington Mountain or fishing in the Connecticut River. Once back home, make time to enjoy the expansive backyard with a few rounds of catch.

Book Your Red Sox Retreat

17. Lighthouse Above the Bayou

Exterior shot of a renovated vacation rental lighthouse in Biloxi, Missouri

It’s easy to feel on top of the world when you stay at this lighthouse studio with a spacious balcony overlooking the St. Martin Bayou. You’ll find everything you need for a comfortable getaway as you enter the cozy common area, then climb the spiral staircase to your bedroom tower with 360° views. 

Take a quick trip to discover world class seafood, boardwalks, and beaches in downtown Biloxi (it’s just four miles away). Then, spend the evening enjoying a serenade of sounds from waterfront wildlife while you lounge high above.

Book Your Bayou Lighthouse

18. The Medieval Mansion

Castle vacation rental with suits of armor and other medieval decor located near Salt Lake City, UT

While the exterior of this unique home doesn’t look out of the ordinary, one step inside will transport you to the thirteenth century. Set just outside of Salt Lake City, it’s a vacation rental truly fit for kings and queens thanks to the castle- and dungeon-style decor. (There are even armor-clad knights guarding your living spaces to help you truly rest easy.)

After you unpack, take a stroll through the nearby botanical gardens or conquer the slopes of Park City. You can spend your nights playing themed board games, soaking in the jacuzzi, or snuggling up in the massive home theater. Braveheart, anyone?

Book Your Medieval Mansion

Looking for another medieval adventure? Consider the Castle of Joy, a fantasy-like destination in North Carolina ideal for up to eight guests.

19. Charming Mermaid Hideaway

Photo of brightly-colored, mermaid-themed vacation rental backyard with an outdoor bar, set of chairs around a table, and a large leaning tree in Weeki Wachee, FL

Nestled along the Weeki Wachee River, this charming Florida oasis is the perfect place to relax under the sun and explore the vibrant local scene. Every space in this home bursts with color, from the aqua-hued driveway and striped exterior to the mermaid-adorned steps down to your private riverfront.

When you’re ready to adventure, hop in one of three complimentary kayaks and cruise alongside friendly manatees, or load up the kids and head over to Weeki Wachee Springs for underwater performances by local mermaids. When it’s time to refuel at the end of an action-packed day, the outdoor kitchen and bar area makes at-home meals a breeze.

Book Your Mermaid Hideaway

20. A NASCAR Fan’s Bucket List Home

Vacation rental living room and kitchen area with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, TX

Calling all NASCAR fans! This luxurious Fort Worth condo is the ideal place to watch your favorite drivers tear up the track. Fit for eight guests, this unique vacation rental features a 12-seat viewing area of Texas Motor Speedway with floor-to-ceiling windows.

When you’re not watching NASCAR or sun-bathing by the community pool, you can head into downtown Fort Worth to enjoy all the top things to do, or make a day trip to nearby Dallas. However you plan to kick back and relax, this one-of-a-kind home base puts you in the driver’s seat of an epic adventure.

Book Your Nascar Dream House

21. Renovated Gas Station

Renovated Sinclair gas station vacation rental located in Schulenburg, TX

Formerly a full-service Sinclair, this gas station vacation home in Schulenburg, TX is bursting with personality. The functional ’50s jukebox and historic decor give blast-from-the-past energy, while the huge windows let in tons of natural light. And with a fenced-in backyard — not to mention a fire pit, grill, and backyard games — you’re guaranteed a getaway to be pumped about. 

Snap a few photos in front of the property’s mural before heading out for an afternoon of local wine tasting, or wind down from a day trip to Austin with stargazing on the rooftop deck. With loads of character and must-have amenities, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more unique place to rent.

Book Your Gas Station Getaway

Find Unique Vacation Rentals for You

If exciting and memorable experiences are what you’re after, these unique vacation rentals are sure to deliver. And no matter where your inner adventurer takes you next, you can rest easy knowing your comfort is the highest priority when you book with Evolve.

Find Your Unique Home

Looking for more travel inspiration? From desert escapes and luxurious getaways to family road trip itineraries and wine regions worth exploring, we have plenty of ideas to help plan your next vacation.

As America’s fourth-largest city, Houston attracts over 22 million annual visitors with its variety of to-dos for all ages. 

With award-winning cuisine, family-friendly attractions, and plenty of green space for outdoor activities, it’s no wonder travelers are drawn to this Texas metropolis for vacation. That can make a rental property investment in Houston a valuable consideration for buyers.

To help you understand the opportunity this popular area presents, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis

Inside you’ll find: 

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Houston market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart buying decisions when making a rental property investment in Houston.

Download Our Complete Houston Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Green icon of a house with shrubs and stars

Why Houston Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

From outdoor adventures like kayaking and hiking to museums and festivals in the heart of the city, Houston offers a little something for everyone. And though the area sees fluctuations in occupancy throughout the seasons, the annual weather trends allow out-of-towners to comfortably visit for most of the year (though it can jump to the mid-90s come summer). 

According to our Real Estate Services (RES) team, Houston’s first surge in visitors occurs around spring break, when travelers welcome the Texas sunshine. Demand peaks again around mid-summer, when families, professionals, and students alike take much-deserved breaks in favor of some Southern flair.

Houston’s average home price currently sits around $261,000, which is more affordable than nearby Galveston or even Dallas. What’s more, a Houston investment property could currently sell for less than the median national average, so now could be the right time to buy before prices go up.

If you’re ready to explore the vacation rental market, start your search with these homes for sale.

Green icon of a crystal ball with the words "profit prediction" in the middle with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Houston Vacation Rental?

With a variety of visitors and endless activities available, buying rental property in Houston could be a great way to earn passive income. To help maximize how much you could earn, consider these important factors.

Property Size

Our RES team says the most popular Houston homes are those that can host large groups, so bigger really can be better in Texas. Data shows three-bedroom homes usually see the most bookings, and five-bedroom homes are the top revenue-generators. But, be aware: bigger home sizes aren’t as heavily represented in the area’s inventory, which could make it harder to buy rental property.

Plus, if a larger home isn’t part of your vacation rental goals, there’s no need to sweat. There tends to be a lot of one- and two-bedroom properties ready for purchase. And while they may not be booked quite as frequently as their larger counterparts, they do still get booked — especially if they’re marketed well and have appealing amenities.

Property Location

When thinking about the best area to buy rental property in Houston, it’s important to remember just how big Houston is (the city expands over 665 square miles). That’s why our RES team suggests looking for properties with access to major roads (like 610, I-10, and I-45) for convenience.

More specifically, neighborhoods like Greater Heights, River Oaks, Uptown-Galleria, and the Museum District provide proximity to both downtown and popular outdoor attractions. By sticking close to these areas, families and outdoor enthusiasts alike will appreciate a quick commute to the Houston Zoo, Space Center Houston, Buffalo Bayou Park, or the White Oak Bayou Trail — so looking for properties there could be a great starting point.

Property Amenities

Houston attracts a large number of annual travelers — and you want to do what you can to make sure a lot of them choose your property when looking for accommodations. Part of that is working with a company that can get your home seen on the best vacation rental sites — and part of it is offering perks that make guests want to book.

No matter what size home you invest in, it’s important to maximize your home’s space by offering kid-friendly amenities like bunk beds, sleeper sofas, and cribs. And with warmer months being Houston’s busiest seasons, it’s key to keep everyone cool with refreshing outdoor living spaces (like shaded patios and a swimming pool) and air conditioning when guests want to escape the heat.

You can also take your Texas hospitality even further — and lock in five-star reviews — by offering keyless entry, Smart TVs and streaming services, and other top amenities guests look for when booking in the South. It always helps to provide a welcome book, too, especially when it has local recommendations for visitors to explore.

Download Our Full Houston, TX Vacation Rental Market Analysis

Offering sunshine, thrills, and sweet Southern charm, Houston is an awesome place to visit and an opportunity for buyers to run a profitable vacation rental business.

For a more in-depth look at the potential of a Houston investment property, download our free Houston Vacation Rental Market Analysis today. Inside you’ll find:

With the right intel, buying rental property in Houston should feel like a cool breeze in the warm, Texas sun. Use our report to make strides in this market with informed, income-driving investment decisions.

Surrounded by lush, rolling hills, Charlotte offers a unique vacation experience for travelers of all kinds. From history-packed brewery tours and the NASCAR Hall of Fame to the world’s largest whitewater river, this upbeat city attracts nearly 45 million excited visitors every year. 

These draws are exactly why it’s smart to consider buying investment properties in Charlotte, NC. 

To help you understand the earning potential this sweet Southeastern market presents, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis — perfect for potential buyers

Inside you’ll find: 

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Charlotte market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart buying decisions when exploring investment properties in Charlotte, NC.

Download Our Complete Charlotte Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Green icon of a condo with shrubs and stars

Why Charlotte Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

Boasting popular kid-friendly attractions like Discovery Place Nature and Lazy 5 Ranch, Charlotte is an entertainment hub fit for the whole family. Couples and solo adventurers are drawn to the Queen City, too, thanks to an exciting nightlife scene, history-rich tours, and over 100 must-try restaurants.

While many vacation destinations see distinct high and low seasons, Charlotte’s annual vacation rental occupancy remains mostly consistent. The area sees a slight surge in summer months when school’s out and family vacations are in. 

The median home price in Charlotte currently sits around $375,200, which comes in higher than the current national average. However, compared to other nearby hotspots like Asheville or Gatlinburg, Charlotte investment properties could have a more affordable price tag.

Green icon of a crystal ball with the words "profit prediction" in the middle with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Charlotte Vacation Rental?

Suiting a wide range of traveler interests and offering comfortable weather year-round means Charlotte has good guest demand for buyers to scoop up. To get a better idea of how you could earn with a Charlotte investment property, consider these important factors.

Property Size

Like many vacation destinations, Charlotte properties that can accommodate entire families (think five-bedroom homes) tend to earn the most. However, larger property sizes make up the smallest portion of available inventory, which could make finding that size more difficult.

The good news: you don’t have to go big to earn revenue in Charlotte. According to our data, one-bedroom homes tend to see the most annual occupancy, with two-bedroom properties not far behind. Smaller home sizes also make up more of the local inventory, meaning you’re more likely to have plenty of investment properties to choose from.

Property Location

Since the city is located inland, you won’t have to compete for beachfront property with a Charlotte real estate investment. Instead, our Real Estate Services (RES) team says you should look for properties that are close to downtown, also known as Uptown Charlotte. This area provides ideal proximity to many of the area’s charming draws.

Specifically, look for homes near Plaza Midwood, South Park, or Foxcroft. Your future guests will appreciate the ability to walk (or bike) to lively downtown must-sees, like Coco and the Director coffeehouse, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and Bank of America Stadium.

Property Amenities

Charlotte boasts a moderate climate, so one of the best things a buyer can do is scoop up an investment property with an updated outdoor space (or refresh the space yourself). This allows guests to maximize their time relaxing al fresco. Offering comfortable chairs, outdoor dining, and some yard games can help you lock in five-star reviews and encourage repeat visitors.  

It’s also important to keep other top-booked amenities in mind for this area. Providing outdoor gear, like complimentary bikes, can offer next-level convenience, as can making your rental pet-friendly

Don’t forget the kid-friendly amenities, either. Knowing many Charlotte visitors are multi-generational, this is an easy way to offer convenience without making major upfront investments.

When you’re ready to explore properties on the market, kickstart your search with these homes for sale.

Download Our Full Charlotte, NC Vacation Rental Market Analysis

Charlotte attracts millions of guests each year with its charm and endless entertainment, making it a great investment option for buyers.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a new property or turning a second home into a successful vacation rental business, download our free Charlotte Area Vacation Rental Market Analysis today.

It’s full of helpful insights, including:

Use our free report to equip yourself with key industry knowledge to help make buying a Charlotte investment property as relaxing as a sunny stroll in the Queen City.

Working with a vacation rental management company is a great way to streamline business operations and help reach your goals. Of course, having a suite of services to support your success also comes with short-term rental management fees that need to be factored into your bottom line. 

It’s important to understand how these fees work, how much you may pay on average, and what they typically cover before choosing the best option to help your rental run smoothly.

Cut to the chase and learn about all the things Evolve offers for an industry-low fee — while maximizing earnings for vacation rental owners.

In This Article:
How Do Vacation Rental Management Fees Work?
How Much Are Average Vacation Rental Management Fees?
What Services Are Covered? 
What Services Are Not Included?

How Do Vacation Rental Management Fees Work?

Short-term rental management fees work differently depending on the company. Many operate on a commission or booking fee structure, meaning they take a percentage of the revenue from your bookings. These fees are usually collected monthly, and the total you pay depends on your earnings for that month. So, you only pay when guests stay –– and you put more in your wallet during busy seasons.

Some traditional property managers still use a fixed-rate model, however, where you pay the same amount every month. Others use a guaranteed income model, where you make the same revenue every month regardless of bookings — and you pay a fixed fee, too. 

These fee structures aren’t ideal: fixed rates force you to pay the same money in shoulder seasons, even when earnings may be lower. And while a guaranteed income model can offer stable revenue month after month, it also means you may not pocket all of the earnings you deserve during busy seasons.

For example, let’s say you’ve agreed on a guaranteed income of $3,000 a month from your property manager. But in one busy month, your rental earns $5,000. The extra $2,000 would go to the company instead of you

How Much Are Average Vacation Rental Management Fees?

The average property management fees for vacation rentals vary widely across the industry, ranging from 10% to 50% of your revenue depending on the property manager. 

Fees look different based on a number of factors, from a company’s model to the suite of services they provide. When you’re looking into how much vacation rental property management costs, be sure to do your research on exactly what will be covered by a company’s short-term rental management fees. That way you know you’re getting the most bang for your buck –– and keeping as much of your revenue as possible.

Evolve’s industry-low 10% management fee unlocks our top-notch services that lend support at every stage of your vacation rental journey.

What Services Are Covered By Vacation Rental Management Fees?

While different management companies offer distinct services, short-term rental management fees often include services for the following aspects of a vacation rental business to some degree.

1. Listing Marketing and Promotion

As part of your standard management fee, the company you choose should create a custom listing to market your property and bring in bookings. This listing should be an accurate representation of your home, show off the sought-after amenities you have, and include professional photos to make a great first impression on potential guests. 

Your management company should also be able to utilize strategies that help make sure your home is found by the right guest at the right time. That includes being found on all of the best vacation rental sites, so a robust promotion and distribution plan should come with any short-term rental management fees.

Want to be seen? Your property gets promoted on top sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and Expedia when you team up with Evolve.

2. Calendar Management and Booking Software

It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make sure calendars are correct, sites are secure, and travelers can book with the click of a button. Property management fees generally cover the tech that companies use to make all of these processes run smoothly.

Partnering with a company that can manage your booking calendar and reservation process takes a ton of pressure off of owners doing it all themselves, making short-term rental management fees feel like money well spent.

3. Guest Support

Some level of guest support is also likely to be included in your management fees to help make sure travelers are having five-star experiences — and bragging about them afterward. 

It’s ideal if fees also include your property manager handling pre-booking and pre-stay questions from guests, following up with them to request reviews, and responding when any feedback is less than stellar.

4. Revenue Strategy

Many property manager’s fees will include a strategy to help you (and their company) earn money from your vacation rental. With the market constantly changing, it’s best to partner with one whose revenue optimization strategy includes dynamic pricing and policies that help you earn the most overall –– and make your management fees well worth it. 

Fees may also help cover the costs of tech and revenue experts needed to gather historical data and real-time industry insights to inform this strategy. 

Pssst: Evolve’s data-backed approach to revenue optimization helps maximize your earnings so you can reach your vacation rental goals.

What Services Are Not Included in Vacation Rental Management Fees?

Depending on the company you partner with, there are a few services that may not be included with your vacation rental property management fees. If you’d rather not take care of these items yourself, you can usually find a third party to help out for an additional fee. Your management company may also be able to connect you with providers for some of these services.

1. Cleaning

While a few traditional property managers may include cleaning services in their short-term rental management fees (meaning that money comes out of your pocket), most companies are set up to have cleaning fees paid for by guests. 

This is great for your wallet –– and even better when there’s flexibility to find a cleaning company you trust to check all the boxes. Cleaning fees can vary widely based on property size, type, and location, so you may want to work with a management company that allows you to choose cleaning partners who can service your property at rates you feel comfortable with.

2. Stocking

Similar to cleaning, some companies may replenish inventory in your rental as part of their management fees, while others leave it to owners to make sure their vacation rental is stocked with essentials

If your company’s fees don’t cover stocking, and you don’t live nearby or would rather have help, you’ll need to arrange for a service provider to take inventory and keep your home fully stocked for an additional fee.

Owners who work with Evolve have the freedom to use their preferred service partners and establish fees with providers directly, so you have more control over the cost of these services. We can also connect you with reliable service providers if you don’t already have a team you trust.

3. Maintenance

Some management companies include basic maintenance in their fees (although they may charge more as a result), but others leave these expenses to owners. 

If your property manager says maintenance is covered as part of the management fee, clarify what is (and isn’t) included to avoid surprises when something breaks or needs upkeep. Note that extra services you might need, like snow removal and landscaping, may be add-ons to a management fee.

4. Guest Contact or Point Person

As mentioned above, many companies handle guest communications at some level as part of their fees. But if they aren’t a traditional management company, you may need to arrange for someone to help guests with questions or urgent issues during their stay.

Of course, this isn’t an extra expense if you decide to be that person, or have a friend or family member do so. But if you’re looking to find a trusted service provider to serve as your on-the-ground contact for guests, you’ll likely need to pay an extra fee.

5. Payment Processing

When guests pay with a debit or credit card, there is a 3 to 5% fee that payment processors charge to complete the transaction and get the money to your account.

Many vacation rental managers charge this fee to owners as a separate line item because it falls outside of the commission or booking fees they receive. This fee goes directly to a payment processing company like Stripe or VacationRentPayment, so it is not covered by management fees.

Make Your Vacation Rental Management Fees Go Further

Paying short-term rental management fees is worth it when you get the most bang for your buck. It’s crucial to do your research on what’s included, and find out how you’ll get support at every stage of the journey.

That’s why it’s best to work with a company who consistently helps owners out-earn the competition, while handling a lot of the heavy lifting. Evolve can help your rental run smoothly for an industry-low fee, so you can keep as much money in your pocket as possible. Plus, our Risk-Free Guarantee lets you take the leap toward rental success with confidence.

Not-so-breaking news: people love their pets, and that includes showing them the world. In fact, a recent report found that over half of travelers surveyed want to bring their furry friends along for the adventure.

But here’s the thing: not all vacation rentals are pet-friendly. So if your home is open to four-legged companions, then you have a chance to capture guest bookings from a less-saturated market. (Not to mention you can give thousands of pet parents the vacation they’ve been dreaming of.)

If you want to get in on those pet-friendly dollars, there are a few key questions: how do you manage a pet-friendly vacation rental? And better yet, how do you pet-proof your investment? Let’s fetch those answers.

In This Article:
Why You Should Allow Pets in Your Airbnb
Furnishing Your Pet-Friendly Rental
Providing the Perfect Pet Amenities
Setting Pet Policies for Your Vacation Rental
What to Know About Charging Pet Fees

Why You Should Allow Pets in Your Airbnb

Close-up of owner petting dog's face while it lays on the owner’s feet.

When venturing into the world of running a vacation rental, there are a ton of elements to juggle — and each one can feel like a make-or-break decision. One question you might face is, “Should I allow pets in my vacation rental?” Here are a few revenue-boosting reasons why you should.

1. Appeal to More Travelers

With 52% of pet parents planning to adventure alongside their four-legged friends this year, allowing pets in your vacation rental is one sure way to appeal to the majority — especially if you invest in a popular pet-friendly locale. These travelers may begin their search by applying the “pet-friendly” filter, because they are simply not interested in exploring properties where Rufus is excluded.

This means, if you allow pets in your Airbnb, you’ll automatically pop up in a much smaller pup-ulation of homes, putting you in the running for bookings when non-pet-friendly-homes are out. 

What’s more? Your property shows up for people traveling without pets, too. So, you still compete at the same level you would normally and you could get a boost in bookings with a large group of tail-wagging travelers.

2. Boost Off-Season Occupancy

If your vacation rental is in a location where the primary draw of an area declines during a certain time of year (like a ski chalet at the height of summer), it’s important to think about ways to draw in guests during those slower seasons. One way to do that: tell travelers they can bring their pets along, since 7 in 10 pet parents say they’re more likely to travel if pets are welcome.

Tapping into this pet-friendly trend gives your home the added juice it needs to help travelers get excited about off-season activities — and convince them to choose your home over someone else’s. 

3. Earn More Revenue

Do you know what better visibility, plus more bookings, plus a full calendar can add up to in short-term rental? More revenue. With the right policies and pet amenities in place, your investment can be both protected and profitable.

Furnishing Your Pet-Friendly Rental

Two short-haired cats lounge in a playhouse on the floor of a sunlit living room with plants

With pet-friendly bookings on the horizon, it’s true that some might think your new linen couch is a scratching post — and that fringe rug may look like a rope toy to curious pooches.

So when it comes to furnishing a pet-friendly vacation rental, think about your long-term budget (you don’t want to replace the couch every year) and pet safety. 

Anti-tip devices on furniture — like dressers, entertainment centers, or bookcases — can protect your belongings and guests. Providing pet or baby gates can help visitors close off certain areas to Fluffy. Keeping breakable and chewable decor out of reach is a wise move. And remember: washable items are king.

Luckily, some furniture companies now offer pet-friendly products with scratch- and stain-resistant fabric, machine-washable area rugs, and even bedding that’s pet hair-resistant.

Alternatively, leather is a popular pet-friendly choice. It’s easy to clean, stands up to scratches and stains, and even comes in stylish distressed options that hide imperfections. You can also consider tightly woven fabrics that won’t snag claws as easily, and choose pet beds, blankets, and rugs that can easily be thrown in the laundry.

Providing the Perfect Pet Amenities

Two white-fur dogs lay under the covers in bed with pink eye masks over their eyes.

When traveling, packing is hard enough for yourself, let alone including all of your four-legged companion’s toys, food, and accessories.

Make vacation easy for guests by providing things like complimentary pet treats as part of your welcome gift. You could also leave easily washable dog toys for them to play with (in addition to all the top amenities us humans are after) and pet-friendly towels — one of the most popular pet amenities mentioned in reviews.

To help you get those five-star reviews, vacation rental guests think there are a few other pet amenities you could consider having available for use:

Setting Pet Policies for Your Vacation Rental

Brown dog laying perched on a modern wood couch in a bright sunroom

To run a pet-friendly vacation rental effectively, your house rules and policies should be clearly defined in your listing’s description and detailed in your welcome book. Make it easy for travelers to comply by providing tools like pet gates and waste bags for cleanup, a designated outdoor space for playtime and going potty, and special beds, blankets, crates, and towels for pets.

Remind your guests of any neighborhood or city rules, like leash laws. And go the extra mile by recommending nearby dog parks or pet-friendly businesses they can check out.

It’s worth noting that things like size limits and even the number of pets allowed can be difficult policies to enforce with each and every guest. Be thoughtful about what you’re asking for in your house rules, and stay flexible so you can maximize your earning potential. And remember, having the right damage protection program, professional cleaning partner, and property management team can make running a pet-friendly vacation rental easier.

Pet-friendly or not, a lack of cleanliness is one of the top reasons guests leave a bad review. Keep your home sparkling with our free cleaning checklists.

What to Know About Charging Pet Fees

Orange cat sits on the living room floor with two plans, a couch, and area rug behind it

Charging a pet fee to protect your vacation rental is a common practice today — and an expectation with many travelers. Whether you choose a nightly rate (often around $10-50 per night) or a flat fee (typically $50-100), this payment provides you with the necessary funds to cover added cleaning costs or possible damage that pets sometimes cause. 

However, these can be difficult to enforce, since top vacation rental sites tend to handle fees differently. On top of this, to collect a pre-stay pet fee, guests have to disclose that they’re bringing Fido along — which doesn’t always happen. These incidents can admittedly result in frustration for owners, as it usually requires you to hunt down proof that a pet stayed in your home and follow up with the guest after they’ve already left.

That’s why we recommend considering an alternative to pet fees: insurance or a damage protection program that covers any post-stay damages caused by pets. When you find the right one, this can be a huge help in protecting your investment.

When you work with Evolve, our Property Protection Plus program covers the cost of any damage caused by pets — at no added cost to you — so you don’t have to depend on tricky fees or deposits.

Turn Pet-Friendly Into Profit-Friendly with Evolve

Golden Retriever sitting and giving a high-five to its female owner in front of a wall of windows in the home.

When you raise your paw to vacation rental management, success starts with the right resources and strategies.

That’s why we created a free, downloadable guide filled with the secrets you need to turn your home into a passive income paradise — whether you allow pets in the home or not. Inside you’ll find:

Dating back to a small fishing village in the 1800s, Destin has become a favorite vacation spot in Florida — and it has a rich, historic story to share with visitors. Not to mention its location on the sparkling Emerald Coast provides endless attractions for families, outdoor enthusiasts and, well, anyone else looking for fun in the sun, sea, and sand.

About 4.5 million travelers frequent the area every year to explore 24 miles of white-sand coastline, shop the nation’s largest designer outlets, and golf against the gorgeous Gulf Coast backdrop. These massive draws create the potential for curious buyers to earn with a Destin investment property.

To help you understand the income opportunity of this Florida market, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis.

Inside you’ll find:

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Destin market averages in the last 12 months and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart decisions when looking into a Destin investment property.

Download Our Complete Destin Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Purple icon of a beach house with waves, an umbrella, and stars

Why Destin Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

Destin’s 24 miles of Appalachian quartz beaches and Gulf Coast surf are home to the largest charter fishing fleet and some of the best saltwater fishing in the United States. It’s what gives this locale its nickname, “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”

But the king mackerel aren’t the only reason people flock to these waters. Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is located right on the coast, kayaking and paddleboarding invite people into the calm waters, and snorkeling and scuba diving offer underwater sights like no other. After visitors brush off the sand, museums, open-air shopping centers, and world-class golfing keep the fun rolling all year long — thanks in large part to a pleasant year-round climate.

In fact, Destin’s vacation rental occupancy data tends to follow a similar trend as the temperature. While winter occupancy slows down with cooler days, check-ins can start rising around mid- to late winter. They continue climbing all the way to high spring and summer peaks — even holding strong earning potential through fall months.

The area’s current $634,000 average home value is another factor to consider. That number is on the state’s high end compared to other coastal scenes, like Daytona Beach and Tampa. However, there are a wide range of purchasing price points, from more expansive family homes to smaller condos. And because there are typically more condo communities closer to the beach — providing guests with a view of those famously pristine waters — a condo investment property could be a great wave to ride into the Destin market.

Purple icon of a crystal ball with the words "profit prediction" in the middle with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a Destin Vacation Rental?

Destin is a draw for millions of families, couples, and sun seekers each year. But before you decide if a condo in Destin is a good investment — or if, say, a bigger beach house purchase is the way to go — there are a few details to fish for first. Consider these important factors before you reel in the big one.

Property Size

According to the data, one- and four-bedroom investment properties in Destin secured the top average nights booked — with five-, three-, and two-bedroom homes following close behind. While four- and five-bedroom homes also scored the highest average revenue, they make up less of the local inventory. This means investors and short-term renters have fewer large property options to choose from.

When you’re deciding between a rental fit for large groups or one better suited for cozy beach getaways, the lower upfront cost could make a condo or smaller home a more accessible investment.

Property Location

According to our Real Estate Services (RES) team, travelers in Destin want beach access and water views — which makes sense once you’ve seen that glistening Gulf. Starting your property search as close to the white sands as possible could help secure strong performance opportunities.

And since condo communities are often nearer to the shoreline, our experts also say a condo investment property in Destin could offer high potential to go with those high-rise views.

If a beach house investment is calling your name, check out other top-performing markets to consider on every U.S. coast.

Property Amenities

Thanks to the tropical locale, Destin properties can attract more bookings when offering amenities like swimming pools, water access, and beach supplies like chairs, umbrellas, or even paddleboards — anything that makes it easier for them to get in (or next to) the water faster. 

As you budget for the perfect investment, consider adding air conditioning and an updated outdoor space, too. These perks create the perfect environment for guests to relax after a long day in the sun. All-weather entertainment can also help you earn five-star reviews when rain and cooler temps keep people inside. And smart TVs, gaming consoles, or a pool table can turn up the fun for all ages.

When you’re ready to look for vacation rentals for sale, start with these available homes.

Download Our Full Destin, FL Vacation Rental Market Analysis

It’s no secret how great Destin is. More people discover its famous fishing, emerald waters, and variety of entertainment options year after year. So, a Destin investment property could be a sparkling opportunity.

Before you dive in with a rental property purchase, though — or ride the revenue wave with your current home — get the market data you need in our free Destin Vacation Rental Market Analysis. It’s full of insights like:

Use our exclusive insights to help make sure your Destin vacation rental investment journey is smooth sailing.