By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Short-term home rental platform Airbnb has struck a deal with the Organizing Committee of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to become an official accommodation partner. The agency has decided to formalize their business model of hosting tourists that was already successful informally during the World Cup.
The online platform, where private homeowners can offer their entire apartments or spare rooms within them to visitors, aims to offer affordable accommodation for at least 20,000 tourists.
The official demand for hotel rooms, which stood at around 40,000 rooms for the Games’ clients including representatives from the IOC and international sports federations, will be met with the construction of new hotels until 2016.
Yet, the 380,000 foreign tourists Embratur, Brazil’s Tourism Agency, predicts to visit the city for the Olympic Games are still largely unaccounted for. The Airbnb deal is set to help the city cope with that influx.
During the 2014 World Cup more than 100,000 people stayed in Airbnb-listed rooms, even though the platform had just been an unofficial source for rooms. Hosts reportedly took in US$4,000 on average during the month-long tournament.
“Airbnb has proven to be a wonderful choice in allowing us to increase supply. We are aware of Airbnb’s capacity in Rio and understand the impact that partnering with the leader in alternative accommodations will do for visitors coming to experience Rio and the Games,” Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman said about the new partnership.
Airbnb Co-founder Joe Gebbia also stressed the warmth received when staying with a local. “With visitors traveling from around the world, Rio residents will get to serve as diplomats for their home country, hosting a global audience with real, authentic Brazilian hospitality.”
Rio is the city with the fourth largest number of properties on Airbnb – exceeded only by Paris, New York and London – and one of the fastest growing markets with the number of rooms on offer increasing from just 800 in 2011 to currently 20,000.
Airbnb paid to become an Olympic partner and will be listed as an official accommodation provider on the Rio 2016 ticketing platform.
Also, customers that registered for tickets in the first sales’ phase until now, will be able to place their orders for the first 2016 Olympic Games tickets today starting at 2PM. If too many orders are placed, the tickets will be distributed by lot.