The challenge of hosting big events is not always easy for cities. The Olympic Games or big international conventions need large infrastructure and big investments that after the event are not always necessary. In fact, this was the root of the creation of Airbnb: two of its founders, in 2007, decided to offer their own houses for attendees who came to San Francisco for a convention that took up all the hotels.
The idea has become the Airbnb phenomenon; an amazing offer of various accommodations - from rooms to entires floors - in more than 35,000 cities in 190 countries. Its model takes advantages of existing resources in the destination, and uses the principles of the collaborative economy.
Some examples of events where home sharing has been a solution:
The 2014 New York Marathon. The city has about 100,000 hotel rooms, but more than two million people come to the city for its Marathon. According to Airbnb, the citizens who offered their homes obtained earnings of $1million at the weekend and the 73% of guests came from outside the US.
The 2015 Barcelona Mobile World Congress. The big event of the telecommunications world attracts more than 85,000 people. In its last edition, 18,000 people chose to stay in private homes, according to Airbnb - more than 21% of the attendees, and the increase is 300% comparing to the 2013 edition.
The 2015 Olympics Game in Rio de Janeiro. In March, Airbnb announced an agreement with the organizers of the Olympic Games to become the official supplier of alternative accommodation. The calculated amount of foreign participants is 380,000.
So, although the company claims to not have a specific offer for event attendees, it does become a solution for some delegates in events. This represents a new challenge for accommodation management in conferences and events (the demand is freer than ever and more unpredictable than ever) but also an opportunity for when a city is full. It´s clear that collaborative economy is slowly establishing itself in our sector. By the way, Uber has created Uber Events in the US in order to offer their drivers services in events. To be continued...