Real Estate

6 Airbnbs That Show Why Themed Short-Term Rentals Are a Great Income Producer

From the sublime to the ridiculous, themed short-term rentals help landlords stand out from the crowd while their guests stay in a one-of-a-kind home.
Jeff Vasishta Avatar
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Photo: Airbnb.com

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If you’re considering entering the short-term rental (STR) space, distinguishing yourself from your many competitors is important. In the past few years, Visio Lending’s vacation rental loan volume increased by nearly 3,000 percent and nearly one-quarter of the U.S. travelers who preferred STRs said their reasoning was because they offered something unique, adding to the overall travel experience.

When it comes to STRs, the more unique, the better. Instagram-friendly rentals will not only ensure your home remains booked but it will also provide free advertising, too. Airbnb has caught on to the trend as they have just invested $10 million in absurd-styled buildings.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding your themes. Infringing on another company’s likeness or characters without their consent (Harry Potter- or Disney-themed rentals are likely to bring swift cease and desist letters) might be a risky move. That hasn’t stopped some owners from taking the chance.

If you’re looking for inspiration to theme your STR, here are a few ideas:

RELATED: How to Become an Airbnb Host

The Luxurious Tugboat — Louisa, Virginia

Airbnb themed short-term rental luxurious tugboat exterior
Photo: Airbnb.com

How about staying on a luxurious tugboat moored snugly on an 8-acre private lake in Virginia next to a 142-acre wooded island? The boat has been renovated and comes with a fully stocked kitchen, bath, AC, and heat.

Wake up to the sight of sunlight glistening off of the lake before starting a day of hiking, swimming, kayaking, and more. The boat features a trap door and internal ladder connecting the two levels. Ideal, too, for a romantic getaway or reading/writing retreats.

View the listing here.

RELATED: 14 Tips for Prepping for Houseguests from 5-Star Airbnb Hosts

The Warnock House — Salem, Massachusetts

Airbnb themed short term rental warnock house
Photo: Airbnb.com

Revisit the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 to 1693 with this spookily themed home that’s sure to fire up (no pun intended) the imaginations of occult and paranormal enthusiasts. This older home is ideal for a Halloween getaway, complete with Witch City paraphernalia, including images of Ouija history, an authentic Witches’ altar, and a nod to scare-meister writer Edgar Allan Poe.

Each bedroom has a separate spooky theme with skulls, cobwebs, and more. Once you check into this house, sleep may be the last thing on your mind.

Visit the listing here.

RELATED: 20 Big, Beautiful Airbnbs for Planning a Trip with the Whole Family

The Desert Disco House — Joshua Tree

Airbnb themed short term rental disco house
Photo: Airbnb.com

Shake your groove thang, step back into 1978, and revisit your inner Tony Manero in this disco-themed home in the unexpected setting of Joshua Tree. Appropriately dubbed the Desert Disco House, this rental has plenty of 70s-style furnishings with hot pinks, mauves, magenta, and glass blocks.

Rather than taking a full run and jump into decadent disco nostalgia, the home has a modern kitchen and hardwood floors. So, shag rugs, linoleum, and ancient appliances are not an issue. Still, each room has a Studio 54-like glitter ball light display that makes it great fun for kids’ parties, desert yoga retreats, and friends reunions.

Visit the listing here.

“Pirates of the Caribbean” Getaway — Topanga Canyon, California

Airbnb themed short term rental pirate of the carribbean house
Photo: Airbnb.com

Although this doesn’t use the movie title in its marketing, it has been dubbed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” home by the media. There are no Jack Sparrow effigies or tentacle-bearded ghouls, but the one-bedroom rental undoubtedly borrows heavily from the vibe of a blockbuster franchise. It has a tropical potpourri of waterfalls, ponds, and plants, as well as other artifacts, statues, and quirky knick-knacks.

Guests craving creature comforts may be relieved to know the one-bedroom retreat comes with a kitchenette that has a mini fridge, stovetop, Keurig coffee maker, cookware, dinnerware, condiments, oil, seasonings, and a washer/dryer. Alas, there’s no AC, only ceiling fans. However, no pirate worth his salt has ever worried about air conditioning!

Visit the listing here.

RELATED: 11 Cave Homes You Can Book on Airbnb for a Creepy Cool Getaway

“Harry Potter” Home — Kissimmee, Florida

Airbnb themed short term renal harry potter home
Photo: Airbnb.com

Clearly, there’s a lot of room to market a property that is “inspired by” a movie. While this 5- bedroom home is marketed to those visiting the nearby “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando and uses photos from the theme park on its Airbnb page, there’s no official Potter imagery inside the home. We could, though, imagine a lot of its furniture and artifacts on a Potter movie set.

There are four themed bedrooms on the ground floor that Potter pilgrims may immediately recognize. There’s also a well-equipped kitchen, a common room with a giant screen with Netflix and Nintendo Switch, a dining room, a swimming pool, a patio with a grill, a game room in the garage, and a laundry room.

Visit the listing here.

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The Ziggy Apartment — Dubrovnik, Croatia

Airbnb themed short term rental ziggy apartment
Photo: Airbnb.com

If you feel like making some ch-ch-changes to your living environment, you could do worse than staying at the Ziggy Apartment. This chic David Bowie-themed apartment sits on the top floor of Apartments Rock Palace, in the picturesque city of Dubrovnik in Croatia.

A historic setting overlooking the Adriatic sea and the nearby apartments might seem an odd place to pay homage to Ziggy Stardust. However, the stylish Bowie artwork, posters, and quotes — “We can be heroes just for one day” — that adorn the place allow you to escape into your very own space oddity as you walk down the cobbled streets outside.

With coastal views, the one-bedroom apartment (that sleeps four) is a soothing palate of light-colored laminate flooring, white walls, and balcony that’s perfect for intimate dining. If you’re feeling under pressure, this is the place to go.

View the listing here.