Highest Renter Demographic for Downtown Apartments

Does anyone know how I can find out what demographic makes the most bookings in a downtown city apartment STR scenario? Couple’s, families, singles, business people, etc.?
I’m looking to buy an investment property and want to know if it’s worthwhile buying a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom unit.

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Wonder if AirDNA or Airlytics might help. [Actually, I know that Airlytics has this feature but still being built out. FYI: I am not knowledgeable about their methodology but the output if correct is just what you’re looking for, and shows ROI on specific properties.]

Be sure to check out the regulatory framework where you’re considering buying, and recognize that it can change. Here’s a survey of community consequences of Airbnbs and how some communities are legislating.


I would think it depends on what city and where downtown it’s located. If it’s near a science museum or a zoo or amusement park, you might get families, if it’s in an area full of bars and restaurants, you might get young singles or couples. If it’s in a city known for tech companies or near a convention center, you might get business travelers.


Thanks for your advice! I am in Calgary, Alberta and Airlytics appears to be only in the US. AirDNA is very helpful though.

I am looking in an area near all the things you listed.

Airlytics might still be interesting to look at even so, just to see what it predicts has the highest ROIs in a marketplace, even though it’s not in yours.

I played with it for just a few minutes. You’ll often see that the lower-priced properties (ones that sometimes don’t look so nice) have a much greater ROI than the nicer properties. Remember this is the snapshot of today; market preferences change.

My own personal sense – because market preferences change/evolve – is that it’s really nice to have that second bathroom. And if you don’t have to pay too much more for that third bedroom, that’s nice too because it’s as much work to manage a two bedroom property as a three bedroom property.

Another consideration is how new the building is, of course. In my experience newer buildings have fewer repairs, whereas for older buildings it seems ‘it’s always something.’ Of course, a lot depends on how handy you are, if you’re local, if you have access to people with ‘handy’ skills.

Local building code compliance is a must and a minimum. Look at this.

Calgary STR laws here.

This 2020 master’s project on STR regulation in Alberta is worth a look. Note that some cities in Alberta have restricted STRs to primary residences, though not Calgary in its new law.

See this, too. I’d be reluctant to buy in an HOA as HOA rules can easily change (at least in U.S., though there is litigation here nohow much they can change and whether early buyers are grandfathered from some changes. HOAs in the U.S. at least sometimes don’t manage the property well, take shortcuts to satisfy owners who want to keep the dues down. They might defer big repairs that wind up causing much more in the long run. A well-run HOA today can become poorly run overnight. Here in the U.S. you need to look at what are called CCCRs, which can be changed but require a serious vote and a majority or sometimes a supermajority vote. Don’t know the situation in Canada.

Note that Chicago has really restricted STRs in multiple-dwelling buildings; other jurisdictions too. When a jurisdiction regulates/revises STR laws they typically look to how other jurisdictions have dealt with regulation.

Personally, if I were investing I’d feel much more comfortable from a regulation and control view if I owned the whole building, say a singe family home or a 2-4 unit building, but that can be very expensive to buy and might not be one of the better markets in Calgary (I don’t know).


Then I would decide what demographic I wanted to attract and buy and set up a place with them in mind, and market it towards that demographic. For instance, if you wanted to attract business travellers, you could set up a second bedroom as an office space, with a proper computer chair and desk and good lighting, maybe provide a printer and copy paper, etc., They likely wouldn’t need a big, fully equiped kitchen, but definitely a microwave, a nice coffee making set up, provide take-out and delivery brochures.

It doesn’t mean you wouldn’t get bookings from other demographics, but choosing a target market and advertising towards them, rather than trying to appeal to anyone and everyone, is often a good business plan.


Hear, hear. We have a one bedroom apartment with a small but good office space with a long desk where two people can comfortably work and good internet. It’s not overlooking the beach but a very close walk to the beach. My husband lobbied hard for that desk; I’d wanted to put a big comfy sofa in that room instead. We could have easily converted it into a second small bedroom for kids. Thank goodness husband won that argument, because a sofa would have been a hassle to keep clean; instead, thanks to that extremely easy-to-clean desk, we’ve inadvertently found that we attract the digital nomads who want a workcation where they live somewhere else, work from home, and enjoy the beach in their off hours. These guests are GEMS. They tend to be mature, successful professionals who keep the space clean because it’s their living AND work space (as opposed to people who stay next to the beach because they want to surf all day and then leave sand and salty footprints everywhere).

So if I were going to buy another investment property, even if the sky was the limit on how much I could afford, I would still get another 1-bedroom apartment because it means you’re less likely to deal with people who are coming to party or bringing messy kids. Or I’d get 2 x 1-bedroom apartments rather than 1 x 2-bedroom apartment.

But anyway I agree with everyone who says pick a target audience and think about how to cater / advertise to them. Calgary is a great city that’s family friendly (even in the city there’s all those snow hills where people go sledding) so if you get a larger place then maybe you cater to families and stock sleds or whatever. But if you decide to welcome families, make sure you have plans in place for cleaning, because it takes me hours to clean up after even the tidiest guests in a 55 m2 1-bedroom apartment (admittedly I’m a bit of an obsessive cleaner), so I can only imagine what would be involved in cleaning up after a family with 2 kids and 2 dogs.

In short, as you’re thinking about what offers the best return on investment, think also about how you’re going to manage the place, how involved you’ll be, how far it will be from your own home if you need to get there to manage stuff (and you will! – every time I think I’ve planned for all eventualities, a new, unanticipated thing happens that requires me to drive 40 minutes to our STR at 10:30pm). If you want to welcome pets (and by all accounts here, a pet-friendly listing brings you more bookings) then not only do you need to find a building that allows pets but also find one that doesn’t have carpets, etc. (Imagine having to clean up after dog diarrhoea in a place with wall-to-wall carpets when you have a next-day booking, yikes.)


Thank you for that really informative response!

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I could semi-easily convert my one room airbnb to a small 2 bed setup by cutting a doorway into the wall connecting to the room next to it. But I fear that whatever added guests and income it might bring would be offset by increased children, noise, cleaning, etc.


Yes indeed – and, ha, I feel I should publicly declare that I’m not anti-kid or anything; I have both biological and foster children. Perhaps it’s that I feel like I already have enough kids and kid messes in my own private life that I don’t feel keen to add it to my Airbnb :slight_smile:


Yes, I raised 3 of my own and our house seemed to be the preferred hang out spot for them and their friends. But I was in my 20s-40s then and am 73 now and feel I’ve done my time. The teenage grandkids clean up after themselves when they visit and if they need reminders, I have no problem giving them. And my youngest daughter cleans up after her 3 year old when they come to visit. My days of wiping jammy fingerprints off the walls are over. (I never could figure out why they needed to put their hands on the walls when going up the stairs, but they did)


Agreed! I’ve toyed with the idea of opening an extra bedroom (which is presently a pvt office, off limits to guests) in the suite that we use as a homeshare. But the wear and tear plus extra cleaning just doesn’t make sense We comfortably sleep 3, & it works well.
Good advice offered from all, & I can’t stress enough how I would target remote workers any day. Responsibility is a good attribute!:joy: If I were looking to invest, I’ve heard good things about AirDNA, & I think they offer a 30 day free trial.