We are designing an Airbnd cottage to be built in Bend, Oregon. It is size limited by zoning code to 800 square feet as a second dwelling in a single family neighborhood, and our initial plan was to have it be about 600 to 700 square feet. The design is loosely based on the movie The Holiday's Rosehill Cottage (and, yes, we know there was a shell set built in England and the much larger interior set was in a Hollywood studio!). The original goal was to have it be a one bedroom romantic getaway, but we've found that, with the stair in the middle on the 1st floor, as Rosehill's is, it makes sense to increase the size and have two bedrooms and two baths on the second floor on either side of the stair. In looking at listings in the Bend area, most smaller Airbnbs emphasize the number of beds/bedrooms when applicable, however, from the limited samples I've reviewed, most reviewers are couples with these smaller rentals.
Our first question is about return on investment. Does adding a second bedroom and increasing the cottage's size which could add possibly $40k to the construction costs make sense? Or, with any extra space left, is making a tiny bedroom (sleeping nook) and a shared bath a better strategy? One of the original goals was to have the bath en suite, knowing that's what I prefer.
The other question is, does adding bedrooms and attracting groups and families add head aches?
I am not completely uninformed of the complications involved and dedication it takes to run Airbnbs, having friends who've both done it and then quit and others who love it, with them either renting out single rooms or whole (large) houses. And forums like these can give you pause if you concentrate solely on the negative posts. But we are starting the rental space from scratch, and we can tune the space to best fit a potential client.
@B100 I agree with the others- I would market to 2, keep it as a couples space. You could create a nice office space where you were considering putting the second bedroom- so many people are working from home online, and there are so many digital nomads, that as long as you can provide strong, reliable Wifi, a separate, well equipped office, with a good desk, a comfortable computer chair, complete with surge protectors, ample plugs, etc. could be a draw and enable you to command a higher price than if it was just a holiday set-up.
BTW, it's refreshing to read a post from someone who is planning on hosting, who already is aware of the challenges of hosting. There are so many new hosts who go into it all starry-eyed, never anticipating that it's not just easy money, they can't be blindly trusting, and that they can't assume they will always get fantastic, respectful guests.
@B100 You titled your post "romantic cottage" so I thought you were focussing on couples that would want a cozy retreat. Nothing romantic about a second bedroom housing either kids or another couple, I think. However, if romantic is not your marketing strategy, having a second bedroom offers a broader range of traveling groups than a single bedroom. I found when I added a second optional bedroom to my shared home listing, I appealed to families, 2 couples and 2 non-intimate singles. This greatly increased my income. Since covid, I have decided to return to the single guest room, which suites me at this time.
Another factor to consider with your decision about one or two bedrooms, is the wear and tear on the
property. Even with considerate guests, more people, more damage potential.
Good luck with your project!
@B100 My general advice for considerations like this is that it's better to have ample space for only 2 people than inadequate space for a 3rd or 4th. And if romantic is the angle you're going for, 2 would be the perfect guest count for that space.
My experience with renting similar spaces is that on a few occasions, I've invited adult friends to join for stays in homes that advertised an occupancy of 4 but were clearly designed more for nuclear families than for two couples (that's the default for German holiday homes). This meant that one couple would get a comfortable "romantic" room while the other would share a cramped and less desirable space. I didn't hold this against the hosts - I was lucky to have found anything at all - but other reviewers of these lovely cottages were not so kind, due in part to feeling cramped.
Couples with small children might have fared better in this setup, but they tend to have smaller travel budgets to work with than dual-income couples without kids, and usually cost you far less in cleaning and maintenance expenses. Plus, if you have a specific deco theme in mind, it might not be compatible with all the childproofing that's expected these days. So if I were you, without knowing your local market, I'd personally keep it a 2-person listing for adults and lean hard into the theme, rather than trying to squeeze more people in.
@B100 We have a small 800 sq ft cabin listed on AirBnB -- have owned it for 20+ years. We opted to attract couples or as Linda noted non-intimate singles. We have two bedrooms and a shared bath (and a 4 person hot tub) 70% of our rentals are for a couple who want the space to themselves with a good mix of singles travelling together or the couple with a parent or single friend along for the trip. This has proved easy to rent and easy to care for. We don't discourage families with children, but are not "set up" in a way that would attract them; children are not easily entertained in a remote cabin.
To attract two couples the bedrooms should be equal in size and have similar-sized beds. A separate closet for the commode would also make it easier for two couples to share the bathroom if you don't have the room for 2 en suite baths.
As to the return on investment, we turn in excess of $50K per year before expenses. We are priced higher than most of our competition, but we offer a hot tub, waterfall views and hiking. Do take into consideration the additional costs of cleaning 2 beds and 2 baths and the extras required to house two couples for short/long periods. Our cabin rents longer when a single couple is visiting the area whereas the 2 couples are typically weekenders.
@B100 we have a 750-sf cabin that can sleep up to five, but if setting it up again I wouldn't bother accommodating more than two. The vast majority of our guests in that listing are couples and we easily keep it booked year-round-- I think you will do even better in Bend which is more of a year-round destination. When larger groups do book it, they are generally more budget-conscious with higher expectations and harder on the space. In short there are plenty of couples wanting to book and willing to pay for an attractive space, and they are more desirable guests.
I would focus on romantic getaway for couples with one luxurious bedroom and bathroom instead of two. Believe or not we have 1500 sq feet and 3 bedrooms (but only one bath) and we get a lot of couples who enjoy having the space to themselves. If I were to open another one that would be my focus. My neighbor has a cottage and he allows up to 4 but his sweet spot is couples too. Also less wear and tear
@B100 I agree with everyone else - couples, couples, couples. They go out a lot. They take care of the space. If they don't have children or their children are grown, they have disposable income, and if they do have children, they're paying more for that romantic weekend.
The way you described the space intrigued me. I faced a similar dilemma when I built my cottage. I put the staircase in the middle so that when you arrive at the top, you step into the open sitting room. The bedroom with en suite bathroom is behind a partial wall. The upstairs can be closed off from the downstairs by pushing a barn door across the staircase entrance. Here's a link to the listing if you'd like to see some pictures: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5353490?guests=1&adults=1&s=67&unique_share_id=8e504ccb-8dec-4c2e-806c-...
Also, the bigger it is the more cleaning you have to do. Stick with couples. They book midweek as well, but group bookings is more on weekends. A win!
@B100two people max.
We get mostly couples but we can sleep up to 4. We SO prefer couples as its easier to do linens for one bed vice two, less towels are needed, and typically easier clean up. Couples often do a lot of activities in the area and don't spend every waking moment in our space. They make less mess in most cases. If its "romantic" and you are focusing on a honeymoon crowd there is no reason to open it to more people. Save yourself the headache.