It’s an age-old debate about investing, it is an art, or is it a science? When it comes to the science, good investors have data. One way to get data is to go to Airbnb, VRBO and others, search for properties, look for ones similar to what you are seeking and gather rate information firsthand. There you can read reviews and get some additional insight as to the property and its setting.
With a strong demand for data, a number of companies now provide investors insight through subscriptions to their databases, some will even give you free samples. Here are a few STR analytics firms that my clients have referenced:
Price Labs: Software to help with pricing for your STR business, factors in competition, nearby events and more. Results tie directly into various platforms
Airdna: Tracks performance of STR properties worldwide to help you make the most against your competitors. Also has tools to help you assess market opportunity before you buy a property
Mashvisor: Software to help market research, analytics to Find Lucrative Rental Properties.
AlltheRooms.com: A suite of tools that claims to provide everything a to be a successful host. Where you can analyze your market, track your competition and be a better host.
When looking at the data, it is important to understand that not all rental properties are listed in these data sources because not all rental properties are listed online. The vacation rental business in the Poconos has been a viable business for more than 50 years, way before STR became the buzzword. Drive into any of the large communities and you’ll see real estate offices by the main gates. A number of firms offer property management service and for privacy reasons they do not always put their customer’s rental properties online. Additionally, a number of vacation rentals are handled through private transactions, so what you see from the data providers is not all there is when it comes to income opportunities.
Another factor in the data is the seasonality of an area. While many people in the Poconos do rent year-round, not everyone does and some may rent for just a season due to personal preferences. A vacation home in close proximity to a ski resort might rent for the entire ski season (10-12 weeks), those adjoining state game lands might rent for the hunting season and some may even rent for a just a peak month, or the entire summer. This means a property might only be listed as available as STR for a part of the year. These mid-term (seasonal) rentals may not be listed on the booking sites and therefore may not be picked up by the data services, and therefore a property may have additional rental opportunities that what the data provider says.
There are a variety of coaches who can provide you with additional resources and tools.
The Real Estate Robinson’s have a nice introduction to STR Analysis Video
BnBinnercircle.com provides training and coaching and there are best-selling books on the subject and more coming every day.
Search the Forums on BiggerPockets.com and you’ll see a number of discussions about STR and even some active threads on STR in the Poconos.
One local operator has a nice series of videos about his properties in Towamensing Trails and Lake Harmony Estates. He gives insight as to his numbers which might be some good insight for you. I suggest you subscribe to his YouTube Channel and watch:
Data is important and no doubt a strong indicator of what can happen in the future. But just like the stock market statements say: “Past performance is no guarantee of future earnings” you should view data as an indicator and realize that roughly half of what a STR can earn depends on the property and half depends on you as the operator. Great operators can make money on just about any property. Read more about this idea on my article called – Beyond the Numbers, Finding your Niche in the Poconos STR Market