Austin is a perennial good host, inviting visitors from across the globe every year for major events like South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits Festival (ACL), and soon, the Formula 1 races. SXSW alone brought 286,000 travelers to town in 2011, with final counts for 2012 still being made as the SXSW music festival picks up speed. Most of the major events for SXSW are held in Downtown Austin, where only 6,000 hotel rooms are currently available for occupancy, and only 50,000 in the entire Austin area, all of which were fully booked two weeks in advance of SXSW, with many hotels full since December. This creates one major problem: too many heads, not enough beds.
Austin entrepreneurs Carl Shepherd and Brian Sharples created a solution to benefit both visitors and locals when they founded HomeAway, a company dedicated to matching out-of-towners with homeowners willing to rent their spaces at fair, but lucrative, rates. Austinites can list their property and rental rates for a night, week, or month, on HomeAway’s website, and could easily earn part or all of their mortgage payment during a popular festival like SXSW. Neighborhoods with the best proximity to downtown, like the cottages of Hyde Park or the Austin luxury homes of Westlake Hills would be prime spots for travelers wishing to stay close to the action of SXSW, while Barton Creek homes would be prime for renting during ACL.
John Gray, the Vice President of HomeAway North America, told Forbes that renting homes has doubled in recent years, nothing “From 2010 to 2011 we saw growth of 88%.” Gray reports that the average price of an Austin listings is $690 a night for a 2-bedroom home, meaning an Austin home owner could earn more than $6,000 by renting throughout the SXSW conference, paying HomeAway a flat rate for their service in matching a renter to an open home.
Homeowners are encouraged to leave hospitable touches for renters, including snacks, beverages, a map of or guide to Austin, and maybe a special perk, like a bicycle available for use, considering public transportation and taxis are expected to be jammed full for the duration of any major event or festival in town. To learn more about Austin homes, contact an Austin realtor at Regent Property Group today.