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How to Run a Short-Term Apartment Rental Business

If you’re interested in renting short-term apartments, you might wonder if this in the Airbnb era is possible.


With its peer-to-peer model, Airbnb dominates the short-term rental space. On the other hand, for shorter stays, the hotel industry remains the “go – to” solution.


The key is to find your way into the cozy niche between Airbnb and the hotel industry, which is certainly a daunting task. Don’t lose hope; this niche is the perfect spot for flourishing “apartment hotels.” Managed apartment rental companies seek to combine an apartment’s comfort and convenience with a hotel’s short-term rental capacity service offerings.

Airbnb vs. Hotels

A quick Google search of “Airbnb vs. hotels” yields more than 7.1 million results featuring pricing and convenience comparisons between the industry’s primary players. Airbnb continues to grow year over year, and shows no signs of slowing down.

That’s a win for you, if you’re in the apartment rental business. If you run a hotel, don’t look away. Chances are other hotels in your industry are taking notice of this trend, and adjusting to meet market demands.

This is where businesses of apartment hotels come in. They fill a niche created by traveler demand and business needs, and you can learn to stay competitive from what they are doing.


It’s here to stay and for good reason in the travel and accommodation space. As it turns out, travelers enjoy staying somewhere that feels homely while providing access to a kitchen, comfortable furniture, and spreading space.


Not every hotel manager or business enjoys—or has time for—the back and forth of messaging individual apartment owners, dealing with unique access and instructions for each unit, and limited rental dates.

What’s the look of a typical rental apartment?

Apartments offered as short-term rentals may vary from one to three bedrooms pending on the company. They are fully equipped with a kitchen, washer / dryer and other home conveniences.

Companies such as UrHIP, Roost, Zoku and AKA are serving customers by providing apartments similar to what you’d find on Airbnb with added hospitality services such as local fitness club access, cleaning services, and grocery delivery.

Some companies in this space (such as Roost) are unique to one city or area and focus on inspiring architectural design, while others have improved their ability to offer national reservations.

Entering the apartment rental business niche

Apartment rental companies seeking to capitalize on the short-term rental demand fill that space between Airbnb and traditional hotels. Sometimes called “managed apartments” or “apartment hotels,” these companies combine the comfort, space, and convenience of having your own apartment with the fully managed services offered by hotels.


These businesses allow travelers to book a private apartment just as they would book a hotel room.


If you’re looking to rent properties to travelers, consider listing them as “short-term rentals” for anywhere from one week to 30+ days. Focus on marketing to business travelers who have longer stays in your city.
Play the features of the hotel-esque that you offer as an alternative to staying in the apartment of someone else. While there aren’t often the owners of an Airbnb listing around, reserving their place can still feel like peering into the life of someone else.
With apartment hotels, travelers can settle in to a well-furnished and serviced space that feels like it was prepared just for them without battling another person’s knick-knacks or personal proclivities.

Pitching an apartment rental

So, how do you pitch this to business travelers and the companies who employ them?
By giving them a place that includes more amenities than a standard hotel room and may be less expensive than renting a hotel room for weeks, you offer an advantage over a hotel with your apartment rental. By not requiring travelers to sign a 12-month lease, you offer an advantage over an apartment. And, by offering a space that’s all their own instead of invading someone else’s home, you offer an advantage over Airbnb.


This model makes your apartments more attractive to international visitors who often require flexible check-in times and need more services than can be provided by an individual room listing on Airbnb.


In areas such as hosting local events and trade shows, you won’t be able to compete with the hotel industry, but you can compete for event attendees and vendors.
As Airbnb continues to grow and reach independent travelers or families, extended-stay apartment businesses are unique in their position to serve a traveler’s niche audience. As a result of dietary restrictions or food sensitivity / allergy concerns, an increasing number of travelers (both business and other) want to eat healthier meals or prefer to cook for themselves.

Your apartment hotel makes everything from coffee brewing to having a
“home” office space easier.

Key Takeways

As you explore entering the apartment hotel space, keep these three key
takeaways in mind:

1.  There’s room for you. Pull what you can from Airbnb and hotels if you’re a property manager as you model your hotel apartment business. You’re looking for consistency, hospitality, and comfort in your target market.

2.Use Airbnb to get in front of customers and pitch your unique value proposition if you’re an individual short-term renter. Focus on young business travelers when creating your apartment listing and offer a significant discount for extended stays of seven days or more.


3. Think about how you can adapt this strategy for your hotel if you’re in the hotel space. Consider creating spaces that don’t feel like traditional rooms in hotels, often lacking in warmth. While creating a full apartment space in each room may not be feasible, insert simple comforts such as a locally roasted coffee corner in the room or a bookshelf with a few paperback offers and a Bluetooth speaker for the smartphone of your guest.

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