Airbnb welcomes big wins for the Olympics
Hundreds of thousands of fans descend on Rio for the Olympics, but many do not check in at hotels.
Instead, they crash into sofas and rent rooms, or even entire homes, from local residents to cut costs. Travelers looking for hotel alternatives generate significant income for people who might not otherwise benefit from the summer games.
For the very first time, roommate company Airbnb has become an official Olympic partner by offering “alternative accommodation”.
“The announcements are spread throughout the city, which means that we also distribute the economic impact in neighborhoods that are not tourist destinations,” Leo Tristao, head of Airbnb in Brazil, told CNN.
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There are currently nearly 40,000 listings scattered across the city, double what was available two years ago.
Income from hosts of Airbnb projects will be $ 25 million during the Olympics, which runs from Friday August 5 through Sunday August 21.
While hotel rooms in popular areas such as Copacabana and Ipanema Beach have skyrocketed, with prices exceeding $ 600 a night, Airbnb has a wider range of deals.
For visitors looking to spend less, one option is a bunk bed at Iara dos Santos’ house in the working-class neighborhood of Sao Cristovao. Dos Santos offers $ 30 for a bed in a shared room, as well as a generous breakfast of fresh fruit and cakes on the terrace.
Dos Santos, a former newspaper seller, discovered Airbnb while recovering from a car accident in bed. After finding out about the online service, she decided to turn her home into a business.
Two years later, she sold her tiny apartment and bought a four-bedroom house to accommodate more visitors. Now she’s complete for the Olympics.
Many of its guests are volunteers with tight budgets or attendees of the opening and closing ceremonies at the Maracana Stadium, a 20-minute walk away.
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About 66,000 Airbnb customers are expected to occupy rooms during the Olympics – half of which are domestic travelers, while the other half are international, staying an average of six nights. This traffic and business boom comes amid Brazil’s worst recession in decades to provide short-term relief in an otherwise grim economic state.
Unsurprisingly, some tenants are taking advantage of the sudden influx of tourists by driving up prices. According to a Bloomberg index released this month, accommodation in Rio de Janeiro on Airbnb is currently the most expensive in the world, overtaking Miami at No.1. 2 place, and San Francisco, no. 3.
For those looking for something a little more cozy than a bunk bed, there are plenty of luxury options too.
Anna Kahn, artist and single mom, rents out her newly renovated six-bedroom home in the bohemian-chic Santa Teresa neighborhood to the Finnish Cultural Troupe, the country’s official dance and theater troupe in town to perform at various functions. The house will cost the group $ 15,000 for the duration of the Olympics.
“The Olympics are once in a lifetime for any city,” Kahn told CNN. “But it’s also a good opportunity to be a part of something bigger – not just to make money. I chose my guests because I thought they would be a great group to meet.”
CNNMoney (Rio De Janeiro) First published August 9, 2016: 11:32 a.m. ET