With more than 50 options in Owensboro-Daviess County, Airbnb and Vrbo listings are on the rise locally — and the property owners are purposeful in showcasing Owensboro while offering a unique experience. The properties range from eloquent condos downtown to cozy cabins in Utica and quaint farmhouses in West Louisville.
Some cater to traveling industrialists and healthcare workers looking for extended stays, while others target festival-goers and those in town only briefly.
Sisters Amy Nix and Jenny Millay created Housing 101 in 2019 with their mother after seeing a need in the community. They began with only one home but have expanded to five over the last two years, dedicating their efforts to long-term corporate rentals with minimum stays of 21 days.
“Our profile of a client would be somebody in town for a construction project, medical rotation, or servicing a factory,” Nix said. “There is an influx of people that need temporary, flexible rentals, and we feel that our properties are a great alternative to a hotel.”
The two catered to tourists initially but quickly realized that there was a market out there searching for 60- and 90-day rentals. Nix spent her early work career as a private flight attendant before becoming a realtor, providing her with the experience needed to propel their housing ventures to new heights.
“I had traveled as a private flight attendant, so I was familiar with the concept and recognized that there was a need in Owensboro that needed to be filled,” she said. “Hotels are often not attractive for long-term stays, and they certainly aren’t attractively priced. Our properties have all the amenities of a hotel, plus a full kitchen and ample room.”
Nix said that she and Millay stayed at several rental properties before creating their business and loved the concept. They reflect on their experiences to ensure that their properties are satisfactory, with comfort, walkability, and locations at the forefront.
“We work really hard to keep them current, clean, and safe,” Nix said. “Our locations are favorable for people traveling to Owensboro; they are blocks from the river and friendly. We want to showcase Owensboro to our clients in the best light possible, and we work hard at providing great hospitality.”
Nix and Millay reached superhost status on Airbnb in July. For more information about Housing101, visit their website here, or search Housing101 on Facebook and Instagram.
Shanna McGinnis entered the industry this summer after spending the last eight years as a pediatrician. McGinnis’ property accommodates shorter stays, making them more favorable for tourists or those in town for life events, such as weddings and funerals.
After first listing a Cedar Street home on Sept. 5, she’s already accumulated nearly 10 bookings. Those include families in town for Romp, Holiday World, and a youth football tournament.
“I wanted to transition to a career where I could be more available to my family, and I was looking at real estate as an investment strategy,” McGinnis said. “I’ve always had an interest in interior design and been good with hospitality; it’s been exciting to do something a little different.”
McGinnis first stayed in an Airbnb in 2016 while visiting her brother-in-law in Florence, Italy. They were in town for a week and only brought a carry-on bag with them, initially enticed by the washer and dryer but eventually falling in love with the entire experience.
“It was a really cool apartment right in the heart of Florence; we felt like we were locals during the time we were there,” she said. “It was different than the hotel experience and definitely more convenient.”
McGinnis said that Owensboro boasts many of the same features as a metropolis or tourism town.
“We have beautiful murals, fantastic restaurants, and much more; it could be the next great southern destination,” she said. “There’s still a need and market for hotels; Airbnbs just create a different and unique experience.”
Like Nix, McGinnis strives to promote Owensboro with the home’s decore and strongly emphasizes walkability. Erected in 1895, the house has undergone a complete restoration and McGinnis relied on many local artists to elevate the lodging experience.
“The home is a pleasant representation of our town,” she said. “I enjoyed decorating it, and I was intentional about putting local artwork in the house. There’s a bourbon barrel from Green River Distilling and dishes from Willow and Pine — everything about it is ‘Owensboro Proud.’”