The chance to cash in on the Rio 2016 Games has encouraged thousands of local Rio residents to rent their homes out to tourists. Airbnb, an international vacation and room rental platform that is one of the official partners of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, has doubled the number of offerings in Rio in one year.
The company made more than 55,000 bookings for the mega event at an average US$ 178 per night. Considering that each booking is for three people on average, the average price per person per night is around $59.
Booked for an average six-day stays, the accommodations are found in 54 neighborhoods. The most popular locations are Copacabana, Ipanema, Barra da Tijuca, Leblon, and Botafogo, but places are also booked in other, less “touristy” areas.
Leonardo Tristão, managing director for Airbnb Brazil, says hosts in Rio earned an average US$ 2,000 in 2015 and the economic impact for the city reached US$ 163 million, considering earnings from the stay rates and guests’ spending in the city.
With more than 38,000 offerings, Rio became the fourth-largest market for the platform, behind only New York, London, and Paris. According to Airbnb, 51% of guests booking for the Rio 2016 Olympics are foreign visitors from more than 110 countries and are mainly North American, Argentinean, British, French, and Australian.
The rates for apartments in the main locations close to the competition venues are not very different from the prices for high-season holidays including New Year and Carnaval.
Leonardo Schneider, deputy chair of the local real estate union (SECOVI Rio), explained that the economic crisis and the increase in supply may have cooled down the market a little this year. “Many [local Rio] families will be leaving home during the Olympics to take the opportunity to make extra money,” he said.
This is the case of fashion designer Bruna Costa, 38, who rented her three-bedroom apartment in Rio for a weekend for five Brazilian couples. The earnings will help the family pay for an international trip.
“We would be away from home anyway so the money is a welcome bonus. But we do have a lot of work to do getting everything ready so the house will be all set when we leave,” she said.
Hotels and Motels
Hotels and motels will add further choice for visitors coming for the games. Some places that are closer to the competition venues are nearly booked up. The industry expects occupancy to increase by 40%-50% in the period. Sold at lower rates, hostels in slum communities are also very sought-after.
According to the local Rio Bed and Breakfast and Hostel Association, which has 48 member hostels, hostels are expected to see occupancy rates as high as 84.7% during the Olympics. The demand is higher with foreign visitors (70%), and rates range from $12 to $22 per night.
Of the approximately 50,000 volunteers who will help stage the Games this year, about 20% are foreigners. To help them stay close to the competition venues, an online collaborative platform called Meu Lugar No Rio (“My place in Rio”) was launched by the Rio 2016 Committee in May, and has offered more than 3,500 free or budget stays.
The platform is available in English and Portuguese and will be available until the start of the games for hosts and potential guests.