RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) — More people are swapping urban crowds for rural retreats, a trend that is booming in Kentucky.
Since COVID-19 cooped everyone up indoors for awhile, people are ready to travel. However, more people are choosing to cozy up in rural counties, such as Perry, Wolfe, and Madison, instead of exploring cities like Lexington.
“It’s not a big city. It’s small town. We have cute little restaurants,” said Amanda Marcum, Madison County Real Estate Broker and Airbnb Host. “I think there is a draw to that, instead of the big city life. And the drive is not an issue because it’s all interstate.”
In 2021, Airbnb hosts in rural Kentucky earned $27 million. Marcum said travelers are drawn to the intimacy they can’t get at a hotel.
Plus, travelers get more their your buck renting an Airbnb. In Richmond, hotels cost between $55 and $280 a night, according to Expedia. Marcum’s rental costs $130 a night, but she has amenities that hotels can’t compete with such as a one car garage, a fenced in yard for dogs to run in, and an in-unit washer and dryer.
Marcum got involved with Airbnb after hearing success stories from friends. She’s been on the site since February. Since then, she’s booked almost every weekend with guests staying for weddings, college visits, or conferences.
In 2021, the average Airbnb host in rural Kentucky earned over $10,000. Marcum has not counted her earnings yet, but she is confident it will be worth the investment and recommends it to others.
“My best advice would be to make sure you get professional pictures,” said Marcum. “That has really made a difference.”
Professional photos cost about $100. Marcum said it’s important to create an experience for people and make sure the house looks appealing, even from the site.
If you’re interested in earning extra income, Marcum said to first do your research. Although rewarding, renting through Airbnb has also been challenging.
Marcum owned her rental property before listing it on the site. She recently upgraded amenities and furnished the rental. She owns multiple properties, but this is her only listing on Airbnb. If you also own multiple properties, and are interested in Airbnb, she recommends doing what she did and only listing one on the short-term rental site before investing more.
“I have learned a couple things here and there. It has been fun and interesting,” sad Marcum. “I’m glad I did it, and I will continue to do it for awhile.”
If you live far from your rental, Marcum said to look into a management company, who can oversee the finances and cleaning. Another option is to buy an established Airbnb. She said this method is becoming more common in Kentucky.