Maximizing Airbnb Profitability in Marathon, FL

Maximizing Airbnb Profitability in Marathon, FL

Marathon, FL, located in the heart of the Florida Keys, presents a lucrative opportunity for Airbnb hosts. With its year-round warm climate, pristine beaches, and vibrant marine life, Marathon attracts a steady stream of tourists. To ensure your Airbnb property stands out and maximizes profitability, we have compiled a detailed guide covering all aspects of running a successful short-term rental in this beautiful location.  

Guide for Airbnb Hosts and Investors in Marathon, Florida Keys

Essential Dates to Know for Managing Airbnb in Marathon, FL

Maximizing Airbnb Profitability in Marathon, FL

Understanding Marathon Market Dynamics

  • Average Daily Rate (ADR): $538.9
  • Max Daily Rate: $617 (March)
  • Min Daily Rate: $434 (September)
  • Occupancy Rate: 65%
  • Max Occupancy Rate: 84% (March)
  • Min Occupancy Rate: 46% (September)
  • Total Available Listings: 1,581
  • Average Annual Revenue: $103,300
  • Max Monthly Revenue: $11,900 (March)
  • Min Monthly Revenue: $5,500 (September)
  • Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR): $355.8
  • Weekend Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR): $538
  • Best Month: March
  • Market Score: 94
  • Marathon, FL Housing Market Value: $889,176
  • Population: 9,840

Marathon Tourist Demographics and Preferences

Marathon, FL, attracts a diverse range of visitors, each with unique preferences and needs. Understanding these demographics can significantly enhance your Airbnb’s appeal and profitability.


Families constitute a substantial portion of Marathon’s visitors. These guests typically seek:

  • Spacious Accommodations: Homes with multiple bedrooms and ample living space to accommodate parents and children. Properties with 3 to 4 bedrooms are particularly popular among family groups. According to AirDNA data, 31% of listings in Marathon are 3-bedroom homes, and 17% are 4-bedroom homes.
  • Proximity to Attractions: Locations near family-friendly attractions such as the Turtle Hospital, Crane Point Museum and Nature Center, and Sombrero Beach. Easy access to these sites makes your property more appealing to families looking for convenience and entertainment.
  • Amenities: Family-friendly amenities such as private pools, BBQ areas, fully equipped kitchens, and laundry facilities. These features provide the comfort and convenience families look for in a vacation rental.


Couples, including honeymooners and romantic getaways, form another key segment of Marathon’s tourism market. They generally prefer:

  • Cozy, Romantic Settings: Smaller, intimate properties with 1 to 2 bedrooms. Features like king-sized beds, private balconies, and hot tubs can enhance the romantic appeal. In Marathon, 14% of Airbnb listings are 1-bedroom properties, and 31% are 2-bedroom properties, catering well to this demographic.
  • Beach Proximity: Properties close to the beach or offering stunning ocean views. Locations near popular spots like Bahia Honda State Park or secluded beaches provide the perfect romantic escape.
  • Sunset Views: Listings highlighting breathtaking sunset views are particularly attractive, as Marathon’s westward-facing location offers some of the most beautiful sunsets in the Florida Keys.

Adventure Seekers

Marathon also draws many adventure seekers eager to explore the natural beauty and outdoor activities of the Florida Keys. These guests are attracted to:

  • Proximity to Water Sports: Easy access to activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Properties near popular dive spots, like the Thunderbolt Wreck, can cater to these interests.
  • Fishing Charters: Marathon is renowned for its fishing opportunities. Properties close to marinas or offering private docks can attract anglers. Highlighting nearby fishing charters and opportunities for deep-sea and sport fishing can draw in this demographic.
  • Nature Trails and Parks: Locations near natural reserves and hiking trails, such as Curry Hammock State Park and Long Key State Park, appeal to guests interested in hiking, bird watching, and wildlife photography.

Seasonal Trends

Understanding the seasonal dynamics of Marathon’s tourism industry is essential for optimizing your property’s profitability. Leveraging data from AirDNA provides a clearer picture of these trends.

Peak Season

The high season in Marathon runs from December to April, coinciding with the winter months in northern states. During this period, the occupancy rate averages 84%, significantly higher than the annual average of 65%. Nightly rates also peak, with the Average Daily Rate (ADR) reaching $617 in March. March stands out as the most profitable month, with average monthly revenue peaking at $11.9K. Events like the Original Marathon Seafood Festival in March further boost demand, making this a critical time to maximize bookings and revenue.

Shoulder Seasons

The months of May and November are considered shoulder seasons. During these times, the weather remains pleasant, and while demand is slightly lower than in peak season, it remains robust. Adjusting prices slightly downward can attract more visitors. In these months, promoting the milder weather and fewer crowds can help maintain steady bookings. The ADR typically stabilizes around $485-495 during these periods.

Off-Peak Season

The summer months from June to September see a dip in tourist numbers due to the hot and humid climate. During this period, occupancy rates drop to 46%, and the ADR decreases to its lowest at $434 in September. However, this season still attracts families and adventure seekers looking for more affordable vacation options. Offering special deals, discounts, and marketing unique summer experiences can help maintain occupancy rates. Despite the lower rates, properties can still generate substantial income, with average monthly revenue in September reaching $5.5K.

Revenue and Market Insights

Marathon’s Airbnb market is robust, with 581 total available listings and an impressive average revenue of $103.3K annually. The RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room) stands at $355.8, with weekend RevPAR spiking to $538. This indicates strong weekend demand, suggesting hosts should consider weekend pricing strategies to maximize income. Marathon’s market score of 94 underscores its attractiveness as a lucrative short-term rental location.

The housing market in Marathon also supports a solid investment, with the average home price at $889,176. Given the steady population of 9,840, there is a consistent local demand for services and amenities, enhancing the overall guest experience.

By tailoring your property and marketing strategies to these demographics and seasonal trends, you can significantly enhance the appeal and profitability of your Airbnb in Marathon, FL.

Maximizing Airbnb Profitability in Marathon, FL

Marathon Airbnb Property Selection and Preparation

Location, Location, Location

The location of your property significantly impacts its attractiveness and profitability. Key considerations include:

  • Proximity to Beaches: Properties within walking distance to the beach are highly desirable. Beachfront locations can command premium rates, especially during peak seasons.
  • Accessibility to Attractions: Ensure easy access to popular sites like the Turtle Hospital, Dolphin Research Center, and Sombrero Beach. Properties close to these attractions are more likely to attract bookings.
  • Neighborhood Safety: Choose safe, well-lit neighborhoods to enhance guest comfort and security. High safety ratings can lead to better reviews and repeat bookings.

Vacation Rental Property Features and Amenities

Investing in high-demand amenities can increase your booking rates and guest satisfaction. According to AirDNA data, certain amenities are particularly popular among guests:

  • Wi-Fi and Smart Home Features: Essential for modern travelers. Listings with wireless internet are favored by 93% of guests, while 98% prefer wired internet options.
  • Air Conditioning: Nearly universal, with 99% of listings offering this amenity, which is crucial in the Florida climate.
  • Outdoor Spaces: Patios, balconies, and private gardens enhance the guest experience. These features can provide relaxation spaces and are especially appreciated by families and couples.
  • Recreation Equipment: Providing bicycles, kayaks, or snorkeling gear can attract adventure seekers. Highlighting these extras in your listing can make your property stand out.
  • Pools and Hot Tubs: While only 68% of listings feature pools and 22% have hot tubs, these amenities can significantly boost your property’s appeal. Pools are particularly attractive during the hotter months.

Airbnb Interior Design and Comfort

Creating a welcoming, aesthetically pleasing environment is crucial. Focus on:

  • Coastal Themes: Use light colors, nautical decor, and natural materials to reflect the local vibe.
  • Comfortable Furnishings: Invest in quality mattresses, linens, and furniture to ensure guest comfort. Positive reviews often highlight the comfort of beds and living spaces.
  • Functional Layouts: Ensure the space is practical and easy to navigate. Open floor plans and well-designed kitchens can enhance the overall guest experience.

By focusing on these key aspects of property selection and preparation, you can significantly enhance the appeal and profitability of your Airbnb in Marathon, FL.

Maximizing Airbnb Profitability in Marathon, FL

Pricing Strategies for Your Marahon Vacation Rental

Competitive Analysis

To set competitive yet profitable pricing, analyze similar properties in Marathon. Utilize tools like AirDNA and Mashvisor for detailed market insights. AirDNA data reveals the Average Daily Rate (ADR) in Marathon is $538.9, with peak ADR reaching $617 in March. Compare your property’s features and amenities with those of similar listings to determine an appropriate pricing strategy.

Dynamic Pricing

Implement dynamic pricing strategies to adjust rates based on demand, seasonality, and local events. Tools like Hosty, Beyond Pricing and Wheelhouse can automate this process, ensuring your rates are competitive and optimized for maximum revenue. For instance, adjusting prices to align with the higher demand in March, when occupancy rates reach 84%, can significantly boost your income. Conversely, lowering rates during off-peak months like September, when the occupancy rate drops to 46%, can help maintain occupancy and steady revenue.

By focusing on these key aspects of property selection, preparation, and pricing strategies, you can significantly enhance the appeal and profitability of your Airbnb in Marathon, FL.

Marketing Your Marathon Airbnb

Optimizing Listings

Crafting a compelling listing is crucial for attracting guests to your Airbnb property in Marathon. Here’s how to optimize your listings effectively:

  • High-Quality Photos: Use professional images to showcase your property’s best features. Highlight the unique aspects, such as beach views, private pools, and spacious outdoor areas. Ensure the photos are well-lit and capture the property’s ambiance and comfort. Include shots of nearby attractions like Curry Hammock State Park, Pigeon Key, and the Seven Mile Bridge to emphasize the property’s prime location.
  • Engaging Descriptions: Write detailed and engaging descriptions that highlight the unique aspects of your property. Mention the proximity to popular attractions and activities in Marathon. For example, emphasize that your property is only a short drive from Crane Point Museum and Nature Center or that it’s ideal for guests looking to explore the Seven Mile Bridge. Highlight amenities such as bicycles, kayaks, or snorkeling gear, which can be used to enjoy the nearby Florida Keys waters.
  • Clear Policies: Set clear and transparent rules and expectations to avoid misunderstandings. Outline your check-in and check-out procedures, house rules, and policies on cancellations, pets, and smoking. This clarity helps build trust with potential guests and ensures a smooth booking experience.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are powerful tools for promoting your Airbnb property. Here’s how to use them effectively for a property in Marathon:

  • Showcase Your Property: Regularly post high-quality images and videos of your property. Highlight different aspects, such as sunset views over the Gulf of Mexico, cozy interiors with coastal decor, and nearby attractions like Bahia Honda State Park. Use Instagram Stories and Facebook Live to give virtual tours and engage with your audience in real-time.
  • Share Guest Reviews: Positive reviews from previous guests can significantly boost your credibility. Share these testimonials on your social media profiles to build trust and attract new guests. Encourage guests to tag your property in their posts and share their experiences exploring the Florida Keys.
  • Promote Special Offers: Use social media to announce special offers, discounts, and packages. For example, promote deals for off-peak seasons (June to September) when the Average Daily Rate (ADR) drops to $434. Highlight special rates during local events like the Original Marathon Seafood Festival in March, which is the most profitable month with an ADR of $617 and monthly revenue peaking at $11.9K.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Building relationships with local businesses and tour operators can enhance your guests’ experience and increase your property’s appeal. Consider the following:

  • Exclusive Deals and Packages: Partner with local restaurants like The Island Fish Company or Keys Fisheries to offer exclusive discounts or meal packages to your guests. Collaborate with tour operators such as Marathon Kayak or Sea Dog Fishing Charters to provide special rates for activities such as fishing charters, snorkeling trips, and eco-tours.
  • Local Experiences: Highlight unique local experiences that guests can enjoy. Arrange for a local guide to offer personalized tours of the area’s natural attractions, historical sites, or cultural hotspots. Promote excursions to nearby state parks, where guests can hike, kayak, or bird-watch.
  • Cross-Promotions: Work with local businesses to cross-promote each other. For instance, a nearby kayak rental shop could recommend your property to their customers, while you could provide information about their services in your welcome pack. Highlight collaborations with local attractions and businesses in your Airbnb listing to show guests the added value of staying at your property.

By optimizing your listings, leveraging social media, and forming strategic partnerships tailored to Marathon, FL, you can significantly enhance the visibility and attractiveness of your Airbnb property. These marketing strategies will help you attract more guests, increase bookings, and ultimately maximize your rental income in this vibrant and tourist-friendly destination.

Maximizing Airbnb Profitability in Marathon, FL

Ensuring Airbnb Guest Satisfaction

Communication and Service

Providing excellent communication and service is crucial for ensuring a positive guest experience. Here’s how to achieve this in Marathon, FL:

Pre-Arrival Information

Detailed Check-In Instructions: Provide comprehensive check-in instructions to ensure a smooth arrival process. Include information on accessing the property, parking details, and any security codes. Consider sending a welcome email a few days before their arrival with this information and a map highlighting key points of interest in Marathon.

Local Tips and Recommendations: Enhance your guests’ stay by offering insider tips on local attractions, dining options, and activities. Create a welcome booklet or digital guide that includes recommendations for local restaurants such as The Island Fish Company, Keys Fisheries, and Butterfly Café. Suggest popular activities like snorkeling at Sombrero Reef or visiting the Dolphin Research Center

24/7 Availability

Accessible Communication: Make yourself or a property manager available 24/7 to address any questions or issues guests may have during their stay. Provide multiple contact methods, including phone, email, and messaging through the Airbnb platform. Prompt responses can help resolve issues quickly and enhance guest satisfaction.

Proactive Engagement: Check in with guests shortly after their arrival to ensure everything is satisfactory. A quick message or call can make guests feel valued and supported. Periodically check in during their stay to address any needs or concerns.

Cleanliness and Maintenance

Maintaining high standards of cleanliness and regular maintenance is essential for a positive guest experience. Here’s how to ensure your property remains in top condition:

High Standards of Cleanliness

Professional Cleaning Services: Hire a professional cleaning service to ensure consistency and thoroughness. Professionals can ensure that all areas of the property are meticulously cleaned and sanitized between guest stays. This includes thorough cleaning of bathrooms, kitchens, and high-touch surfaces.

Regular Deep Cleaning: Schedule regular deep cleaning sessions to maintain areas that may not be covered in routine turnovers. This can include cleaning carpets, windows, and upholstery. Ensuring the property smells fresh and looks spotless can significantly enhance guest satisfaction.

Guest Cleanliness Supplies: Provide guests with cleaning supplies, such as disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers, and extra trash bags. This allows them to maintain cleanliness during their stay, especially for longer visits.

Regular Maintenance Inspections

Preventive Maintenance: Conduct regular maintenance inspections to identify and address issues before they become problems. This includes checking for plumbing leaks, ensuring HVAC systems are functioning properly, and inspecting appliances for any signs of wear and tear.

Responsive Repairs: Have a list of reliable local contractors and service providers for quick repairs. In Marathon, it’s beneficial to have contacts for services like pool maintenance, HVAC repair, and pest control, given the local climate and conditions.

Guest Feedback: Encourage guests to report any maintenance issues promptly. Provide a simple way for them to communicate problems, such as a dedicated phone line or messaging through the Airbnb platform. Addressing these issues quickly can prevent negative reviews and ensure a pleasant stay for guests.

Enhancing Guest Experience with Local Insights

  • Local Experiences and Perks: Offer additional perks to enhance the guest experience. This could include providing beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas for use at Coco Plum Beach. You might also offer discounts or free passes to local attractions such as the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters or the Old Seven Mile Bridge. Arranging discounted rates with local fishing charter services for a day of deep-sea fishing can add significant value. Additionally, providing complimentary use of kayaks, paddleboards, or snorkeling gear will allow guests to explore the nearby coral reefs.
  • Partner with a local seafood restaurant to offer a “catch and cook” experience where guests can have their day’s catch prepared by professional chefs. Arrange for guided eco-tours of the nearby mangroves and marine sanctuaries to showcase the natural beauty of the Florida Keys. For those seeking relaxation, coordinate with local spas to provide in-house massage and spa services. Finally, consider providing bicycles for guests to explore the scenic Overseas Heritage Trail, enhancing their overall stay with a variety of memorable experiences.
  • Seasonal Tips: Depending on the time of year, provide guests with seasonal tips. For instance, suggest the best fishing spots and charters during peak fishing season, or recommend the best places to see the sunset in winter months.

By focusing on effective communication, maintaining high cleanliness standards, and providing timely maintenance, you can ensure a positive and memorable experience for your guests. Tailoring these strategies to the unique offerings and attractions of Marathon, FL, will further enhance guest satisfaction and lead to positive reviews and repeat bookings.

Maximizing Airbnb Profitability in Marathon, FL

Financial Management and Legal Considerations

Budgeting and Expense Tracking

Effective financial management is essential for maximizing Airbnb profitability in Marathon, FL. Here’s how to maintain a detailed budget and track your expenses accurately:

Detailed Budget Maintenance

  • Comprehensive Expense Categories: Create a detailed budget that includes all possible expenses. Categories should cover mortgage or property rental payments, utilities (electricity, water, internet, cable), property taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs, cleaning services, marketing costs, and any additional amenities you provide (like pool maintenance or recreational equipment).
  • Variable and Fixed Costs: Differentiate between fixed costs (mortgage, insurance, and property taxes) and variable costs (utilities, maintenance, and guest amenities). This helps in understanding which expenses are constant and which can fluctuate based on occupancy and seasonal factors.
  • Unexpected Expenses: Set aside a portion of your budget for unexpected expenses. This could include emergency repairs or sudden replacements of appliances. A good rule of thumb is to reserve 10–15% of your revenue for such contingencies.

Using Accounting Software

  • Accounting Tools: Utilize accounting software like QuickBooks, FreshBooks, or Wave to streamline income and expense tracking. These tools can automate many aspects of your financial management, such as categorizing expenses, generating invoices, and tracking payments.
  • Income Tracking: Regularly update your software with all income streams, including nightly rates, cleaning fees, and any additional services you offer (e.g., equipment rentals or guided tours). This provides a clear picture of your total revenue and helps in forecasting future income.
  • Expense Tracking: Record every expense meticulously. Software tools often allow you to scan and save receipts, making it easier to track spending and maintain accurate records. This is particularly useful during tax season, ensuring you can claim all eligible deductions.
  • Financial Reports: Generate regular financial reports to monitor your property’s performance. Monthly and quarterly reports can help you identify trends, such as increased utility costs during peak seasons or higher maintenance expenses in specific months. Use these insights to adjust your budget and financial strategies accordingly.

Legal Compliance with Marathon Airbnb Regulations

Ensuring your property complies with local regulations is crucial to avoid fines and legal issues. Marathon, FL, has specific ordinances that govern short-term rentals. Here’s what you need to know:

Explore Marathon : Municipal Code.

Permits and Licenses

  • Vacation Rental Property License: In Marathon, a vacation rental property license is required for any property rented for at least seven nights but not more than 28 nights. Renting for less than seven nights is prohibited. If your property has multiple dwelling units, each unit used for vacation rentals must have its own license. This license is valid for one year and must be renewed annually, with renewal applications submitted 30 days before expiration.
  • Vacation Rental Certificate: Property owners must complete a City of Marathon vacation rental training session and obtain a vacation rental certificate, which must be renewed every two years. Alternatively, property owners can contract with a licensed vacation rental agent who has completed the training.
  • Vacation Rental Agent License: Any person managing a property on behalf of an owner must obtain a vacation rental agent license. This license is valid for one year and requires an annual renewal. Agents must complete the city’s training session and obtain a certificate annually.

Zoning Laws

  • Zoning Compliance: Ensure your property is zoned for short-term rentals. Verify zoning laws with the City of Marathon’s planning department to avoid operating in restricted areas.

Tax Obligations

  • Tourist Taxes: Collect and remit local tourist taxes, which in Florida include state sales tax and county tourist development tax. Airbnb typically collects and remits these taxes on behalf of hosts, but verify compliance to ensure all taxes are properly handled.
  • Income Taxes: Report rental income on your federal and state tax returns. Maintain detailed records of all income and expenses to maximize deductions and accurately report earnings. Consult with a tax professional to understand your tax obligations and optimize your tax strategy.

Safety and Health Regulations

  • Safety Standards: Ensure your property meets all local safety regulations, including functioning smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and clear emergency exits. Regularly inspect these safety features and keep them well-maintained.
  • Health Codes: Comply with local health codes, particularly if you provide food or beverages. Ensure your property is clean and sanitary, especially high-touch areas and amenities like pools and hot tubs.

Local Ordinances and Compliance

Marathon has specific local ordinances you must comply with to operate a vacation rental:

  • Cleaning and Maintenance: Vacation rental units must be thoroughly cleaned before each new tenancy. Floors should be vacuumed or mopped, and trash must be stored in covered containers. Each unit should have at least four covered trash containers.
  • Occupancy Limits: The maximum overnight tenant occupancy is limited to two persons per bedroom plus two additional persons. These limits can only be exceeded with special approval from the city, provided the property meets specific criteria.
  • Noise Regulations: Tenants must not create noise disturbances before 7:00 a.m. or after 10:00 p.m. Violation of these rules can result in fines and eviction.
  • Sign and Notification Requirements: Post a notice within the unit near the front door with essential information, including the contact details of the property manager, maximum occupancy, parking rules, and trash collection schedules.
  • License Display and Advertisement: Your vacation rental property license number and the agent’s license number must appear on all advertisements. For online listings, these numbers should be displayed on the homepage.
  • Emergency and Inspection Access: Provide 24/7 contact availability to respond to complaints and ensure the property can be inspected by authorized city employees.

By maintaining a detailed budget, utilizing accounting software for accurate financial tracking, and ensuring compliance with all legal requirements, you can effectively manage your Airbnb property in Marathon, FL. These practices not only protect your investment but also help maximize profitability and provide a seamless, hassle-free experience for you and your guests.

Check ou tMarathon, FL, Vacation Rental Rules.


By understanding the market dynamics, selecting and preparing your property carefully, employing strategic pricing, and focusing on exceptional guest experiences, you can maximize Airbnb profitability in Marathon, FL. This guide provides a comprehensive roadmap to success in this thriving market.