Five Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Hot Tub for Your STR (Airbnb/VRBO)

Everyone loves a hot tub… Scratch that… Most people love a hot tub… Scratch that… some people love a hot tub…

The thing about hot tubs is that they can be a major draw for some guests. 

They can also be a pain in the ass for some hosts.  The level of pain is inversely related to the age of the hot tub and the “spa IQ” of the guest.   Detailed hot tub instructions can handle some of the frustrations but if a spa goes out it can be Armageddon to a guest and a major pain for you. 

Some guests literally book a place for the hot tub so it can become a major issue if it goes down.   And the thing about hot tubs or spas, is that the above ground plug in units will eventually go down…

So, let’s look at the five things to consider before purchasing a hot tub. (The above ground addition)

1. Do you need it or do you want it?

In some markets a hot tub is a MUST have.  These markets have established that every high-end cabin or home has a hot tub and a pool table.  Or a hot tub and movie theater.  A hot tub and pool, a hot tub and bar etc etc.  But notice how there is always a hot tub.  In these markets you NEED it.

The goal of STR investing is to stand out but, in these markets, you just need to join the Joneses and buy a hot tub… You NEED it.

The second part of this question is are you investing in a “do you want it” market?  This is a market where a hot tub is not standard.  Owning a hot tub in this market may actually set you apart and would definitely be worth the trouble.  The one thing to look out for in a do you WANT it market, is the logistics of hot tub care.  This may be a challenge in markets without a bounty of hot tubs.

2. How will you power it?

The short answer is with 220 volts.   That’s it… Don’t even look at the 110 option… Just purchase the 220v option.  The 110v hot tubs take too long to heat.  If you will be planning on any same day turns (cleanings in the STR world) then you are going to need a 220v hot tub.  Mic drop… lets move on.

3. Who will clean your hot tub and how frequently?

This is completely market dependent.   But in general, in markets with hot tubs galore the cleaning service will clean the hot tubs.  A good crew will be well versed in the basics of hot tub maintenance and cleaning.  Some of these cleaners have their own equipment to drain and clean the spa.   

They will drain and clean between each visit if the spa has been used.  It may seem wasteful but in the era of covid, cleanliness is key.  You do not want to deal with a dirty hot tub complaint. 

Spa maintenance and cleaning in a “hot tub light market” may be more challenging.  You may need to purchase your own equipment and pitch to your cleaning crew the idea of cleaning the spa.  Maintenance in the case of a spa breakdown may also be a challenge…

4. How to keep your hot tub clean/sanitized?  Chlorine or Bromine?

Chlorine will get the job done but it is definitely more irritating to the skin and eyes.  It can even lead to asthma attacks.  Bromine is less irritating than chlorine but it will take a higher concentration to keep things sanitized.  Also, prolonged UV exposure may decrease the effects of bromine.  But if I had to choose one I would go with Bromine.

Check out this website to learn more:

5. Wifi or NOT to Wifi?

Full disclaimer my Short-term rental hot tub is not connected to wifi and I wish it was… It would make managing so much easier.  The locks, security cameras and thermostats are all wifi connected… Why not the hot tub.  It would be easy to confirm before a guest checks in that the spa is heated appropriately and the jets are working etc.

If I was purchasing a new hot tub I would absolutely spend the money for this feature.  Our pool equipment and built in spa at home is controlled remotely via a wifi connection and it is the best thing ever…

In Summary

I have a love hate relationship with above ground plug in hot tubs.  Lauren and I inherited one with one of our STR purchases and it has been a little bit of a lemon. 

We updated it from a 110 to a 220v and replaced a few fuses and lights.  All these things went out during various guest stays.  It is working now but, in the end, we would have been better off just replacing it with a new 220v, wifi connected hot tub.

If you are looking for a hot tub consider the above five things before making your purchase and good luck.

Enjoy your Journey to Financial Freedom

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