Every year we do a big project at our Airbnb. For example, this year we are adding a deck that cantilevers over a creek at the back of our property which is difficult to access. We have all kinds of birds and wildlife in that area, and the deck will be another outdoor space to enjoy and observe nature. Our cottage is our weekend house when its not rented, so we do like to add projects that will appeal to us as well as guests.
Which brings me to the hot tub. We have had a few guests suggest we add one. I am hesitant as I think maintenance would be more than I want to do. We actually got a bid on an outdoor shower as well. Given that our place is pretty rustic and private, I think that might be a better way to go.
Our property is in the mid Atlantic US. so its not a year round hot tub/outdoor shower place. Curious to hear from other hosts who have one or both of these-- pros, cons, anything to keep in mind? Recommendations? Worth it? Not worth it? Did it add value in terms of your nightly price? Do you think one or the other is a better idea?
@Laura2592, i think you need to ask yourself, do you want a hot tub and is it worth it to you to put one in? Personally, I think a hot tub would be a nightmare to clean and maintain, not to mention the cost. Also, I'd be thinking of the energy and water use - IMO these kinds of things are simply excessive luxuries in these days of climate change . Your place sounds divine as it is and I think a hot tub would actually detract from it - I'd say keep it beautifully rustic and rural and don't try to turn it into some kind of spa resort.
@Kath9 we may move to this house in a few years when we sell one of our other properties and I think we would enjoy a hot tub and/or an outdoor shower. But I don't know if it would be worth it to deal with guest misuse. Showed seem more straight forward....hard to mess that up!
@Laura2592 I'm not a huge fan of the outdoor shower myself, especially if you are in the woods v. the beach. What about adding a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom? I LOVE hot tubs, but from what I have read here, they are expensive and labor intensive to maintain, and that assumes your guests won't cause damage.
@Mark116 I have plans to remodel our upstairs bath but not until we can spend more time at our home. It would be extensive and beyond the scope of what we would want if we were not the primary or only users 😉
@Laura2592 we have both-- although the showers are fairly basic and mostly for the purpose of rinsing before and after hot tub use. The hot tubs are a complete pain and I wish they were not so extremely popular with guests, but they are. They are definitely the reason some guests choose us. Fortunately our local co-host has become expert at maintaining them because they are very susceptible to guest abuse. If you do it, be sure to check with your insurance company first. Ours requires a special waiver in our house rules. Twice we have had guests who got hot tub folliculitis, presumably from ignoring instructions for safe use. Neither tried to hold us liable, but I suppose that is always a risk.
@Laura2592 What about a sauna? I don't how it compares cost wise with a hot tub, but my guess is that a sauna would be more 'guest proof' in terms of damage, and is still a nice extra that people won't have at home.
@Laura2592 I'd personally prefer to stick to amenities that I can be reasonably sure I can always present in tiptop condition. If a guest chooses your place specifically because of the hot tub, and were unable to use it because of a maintenance issue - or just bad weather - their disappointment might overshadow all the positives when it comes time to review.
Outdoor showers I associate more with tropical/beach destinations. I guess they could be enjoyable for a certain portion of the year, but I don't see them adding much to the listing's value.
As a guest, I don't seek out listings with hot tubs and I wouldn't pay extra for one. But whenever possible I do choose places with a deck or garden where we can enjoy our breakfast or a glass of wine. So my inclination would be to add some comfortable outdoor furniture and string up some charming lights, and just let the sights and sounds of nature be the main feature. This is the experience I'd most want when choosing a rustic cottage rather than a resort-style environment.
Good points, @Andrew0!
I actually do like hot tubs a good deal but am a bit squeamish about using those in an Airbnb. I have done, but some listings don't give me confidence that they are in the best shape. The maintenance issue may be a barrier. Perhaps we will just put one in our primary house and see what it takes to keep it going 😉
We do have a patio with string lights and a fire pit. We are adding another deck for outdoor seating and wildlife watching. I agree that having areas for guests to sit outside is a big plus.
@Laura2592 @Andrew0 it is certainly possible to maintain a hot tub so it is always presented in tip-top condition. But it does require some expertise and quite a bit of diligence. There isn't any weather I'm aware of that precludes hot-tub use, except I suppose extremely hot weather. In four years, with two tubs, we've never had to make a tub unavailable to guests-- but we did have to replace one in a great big hurry once, when a guest broke an unrepairable part. (Airbnb paid up, BTW.)
@Laura2592 One thing you might consider adding as an outdoor attraction is a water feature, or small pond with aquatic plants. These aren't expensive to run, the guests aren't likely to cause any damage to it, and you can even get ones that run on solar, so don't incur extra electricity charges and the water is recirculated. Having the sound of running water, seeing it running over rocks, etc, can be really relaxing and pleasureable when sitting outside.
I concur that hot tubs are a pain in the butt to maintain, and while I'd love to have my own hot tub, I would not relish maintaining one for guests. BUT, I'd like to share an outdoor shower experience at an Airbnb I stayed at. It was not a beachy scene, but in a forested setting. The host had hung beautiful decorations and bird feeders in the trees around the shower. It was beautiful and if I ever had my own treed nature setting like that I'd most definitely be building an outdoor shower like that. This listing made guests aware that robes are not provided and to remember to bring one. I'm glad I did.
Also, we have built an outdoor shower at our house... not treed, not nice area (lol) but it's still nice showering outside in the fresh air. It's in Manitoba Canada so only usable a few months a year, but it's inexpensive to build, super easy to maintain. We just undo the pipes in fall and let the plumbing drain on it's own.