ADDISON | Officials from Airbnb say the service is rapidly gaining popularity in both the Southern Tier and Steuben County -- and one Addison woman is among those seeing the benefits.

Jewel Burr began renting a space under the title “Rustic retreat nestled in the pines” after some changes in her life and some inner thoughts.

“I had just returned from 38 days hiking on the Appalachian Trail doing some soul searching after my recent divorce,” Burr told The Leader. “While on the trail I thought about ways to generate some extra income. [Since I had] a beautiful two-bedroom apartment on my 35-acre property, my sister suggested an Airbnb rental. At the time I had no idea what Airbnb was -- 10 minutes after uploading my listing I had three bookings.”

Airbnb now lists her property among the top in the region.

She’s not the only one seeing success.

Numbers provided by Airbnb indicate completed rentals have nearly doubled year-over-year, in Steuben County and in other rural counties in the Southern Tier, including Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Schuyler.

In Steuben County, there were “approximately 8,500 guest arrivals over the past year, up from 4,700 the previous year,” according to Airbnb spokesperson Liz DeBold Fusco.

To make the numbers line up, the years being compared run November to November.

Airbnb says Steuben County property owners using their service have earned about $923,000 in the past year, up from $506,300 the previous year. Across rural Southern Tier counties, the total is up to approximately $7.97 million in the last year.

Company officials say rural growth has been a strength.

“Airbnb's growth in rural areas statewide isn't solely measured by the many more visitors from around the world who are discovering some of New York's most beloved and unique communities,” said Josh Meltzer, head of Northeast Policy for Airbnb, in a written statement. “It's also measured by the many more middle class families who can use their biggest financial investment -- their home -- to make ends meet.”

But for Burr, it’s really more about the experience, for herself and her guests.

“In many ways the personal experiences and friends I have made through the rental are more rewarding than the financial gain,” she said.

She’s listed as a superhost on Airbnb, meaning guests believe she delivers service above and beyond what other hosts do.

Burr said that means doing more than keeping the space clean and handing over a key.

“[People looking to get into this] need to consider that this venture will occupy time, effort and the ability to maintain a schedule,” she said. “My Airbnb is separate from my home which may not be the case for others. My guests appreciate the personal touches and attention to detail. For example I provide coffee, tea, condiments and a full kitchen as my Airbnb is 16 miles from a grocery store. Sometimes my guests arrive at night and appreciate having everything they need for the next morning. Before they depart I personally deliver my famous homemade lemon cookies. The secret recipe is from the Wellsville Bake Shop which my family owned.”

The payoff from all that effort is loyal guests who return again and again.

“I have one group of women who have been back several times to do their quilting projects,” Burr said. “They sew for three days while cooking, chatting, watching movies and end their day around the bonfire. I have had guests from Toronto who are originally from Romania -- they arrived at my Airbnb, stepped out of their vehicle (and) said, "This property looks and smells just like Romania," and they felt like they were home again. They have been my most popular guests and will be here for Christmas.”

It’s not just NASCAR and wine that brings people to the region, in Burr’s experience.

“Guests travel here for the Corning Museum of Glass, Watkins Glen hiking, Finger Lakes wineries, Wineglass Marathon and the PA Grand Canyon,” she said. “I have guests here for family reunions, weddings, funerals and quiet getaways. I have families book who are looking at colleges and universities in the area for their children who might attend. Summer and fall are the busiest, but I do have guests year-round.”

Burr said Airbnb’s tools make her feel safe in renting the space.

“Airbnb allows me to read the reviews of how the guest conducted themselves while renting on Airbnb, prior to me accepting the booking,” she said. “This has alleviated any concerns I may have.”

And for those looking for a space to rent for vacation, take some tips from a superhost.

“Carefully read all the details in the listing,” she said. “Pay attention to the amenities and the location. Most important -- read their reviews.”

Burr’s Addison property is listed online at https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/14662033.