Homes away from home

Out-of-towners set up in these stylish rentals



An Abode aparthotel unit

Philipsongroup.com

Used to be if you were a traveler visiting an unfamiliar city, you booked a room at a local hotel and relied on the concierge for advice on the best restaurants, coffee shops, and must-see tourist attractions to visit while in town.

Nowadays, as the short-term housing market has exploded with a multitude of options for travelers and explorers alike, out-of-town guests can secure housing that more closely resembles the comforts of their home than a hotel room.

According to Liz DeBold Fusco, Airbnb’s northeast press secretary, Rochester has experienced a growth in short-term housing options over the past few years, as the area has strengthened its reputation as a tourism destination.

“With its vibrant music and restaurant scene and proximity to world-class universities and venues, we have certainly watched as our community has grown to help fill that increasing demand, helping to welcome visitors to all corners of Rochester, support small businesses, and generate local tax revenue,” says DeBold Fusco.

With an average booked nightly rate of $84, DeBold Fusco says travelers who opt to stay in Airbnbs and other short-term housing options can save money while living among the local residents.

“Short-term rentals provide tourists with the opportunity to immerse themselves in Rochester’s unique communities, to essentially ‘live like a local,” she says. “Guests have more opportunities to check out the café around the corner; take in local, off-the-beaten-path attractions; and more, and all while helping to support local families who are sharing their homes to bring in some supplemental income.”

Anya Kucheryavenko and her husband, John Treuthart, were among those couples looking for ways to bring in additional income while capitalizing on the convenience of their three properties located in the city of Rochester.

Having stayed in Airbnb units previously, Kucheryavenko and Treuthart started renting out their studio apartment two years ago on a long-term basis. The process was so smooth and the demand was so strong that the couple listed two more places on Airbnb: a two-bedroom apartment at the back of their house and a studio apartment located in one of their rental properties.

“We live in a 150-year-old house that always seems to need extra repairs, and we also liked the idea of having less-permanent occupants compared to renters. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it’s been a positive experience for sure. People tend to get a better feel for the area they’re traveling to when they stay in an Airbnb. Each place is different, and you get a chance to live like locals when you stay there. It’s a much more personable experience than staying in a hotel,” says Kucheryavenko.

Striving to build a nontraditional hotel that offered the comforts of a fully furnished apartment in a short-term and extended stay accommodation, Lewis Stess-Johnston came up with the idea to bring ApartHotels to Rochester. These high-end units feature full kitchens and all the amenities of a hotel, including high-speed Wi-Fi, cable, a fitness center, and a washer and dryer.

Stess-Johnston currently has six units for rent, with another four coming available over the next year. Most guests stay for more than a month, with an average stay of four months at a cost of between $2,300 and $3,000 per month.

In an effort to acclimate each guest to their local surroundings, every unit comes with an Amazon Alexa that serves as a virtual concierge, providing details about the rental unit and the city of Rochester along with recommendations for restaurants, shopping, and other local excursions.

“People are looking not only for a place to live while staying for an extended period of time, but they are also looking for a neighborhood experience that for the most part can only be had by having a place that you think of as your ‘home.’ The ratio of price to location, space, and luxury just cannot be beat by other short-term or extended-stay options in Rochester,” says Stess-Johnston.

 

John Boccacino, a Seneca Falls resident, works for Syracuse University as the communications coordinator in the Office of Alumni Engagement. A 2003 SU graduate, Boccacino loves telling compelling stories.

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