Some Aucklanders are charging tourists around $20,000 a week to rent their house during the Rugby World Cup next year with extras like a personal chef and the use of a Mercedes.
But spare bedrooms and more modest family homes have as much of a market for tourist customers as do luxury pads, according to Canadian online business iStopOver.
iStopOver.com is a platform for people to rent their properties during the Rugby World Cup and for tourists to locate a suitable place to stay.
It has secured dozens of homeowners as clients so far, after offering a similar service in South Africa for the FIFA World Cup with this year 2500 homes were rented out through the site.
Toronto-based business iStopOver chief executive Jonah Sigel and chief operating officer Anthony Lipschitz told NBR they try to encourage homeowners to pick a reasonable price.
“We let people choose their own rental rate but we will suggest lowering the rate if they aren’t getting bookings,” Mr Lipschitz said.
“Many of the tourists coming to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup are the every man who have had to save up for the flights and tickets to the games and it might be the only time they come here. Renting a house can be more affordable for a group of people and renting a room in a house can be a good way of spending time with locals for people visiting.”
For homeowners to list is free, and the company takes a service fee for its costs. All money is held in escrow by iStopOver so homeowners and renters do not exchange funds directly.
Properties across the market range for rent
The spare bedroom in a 45 year old professional woman’s inner city Auckland character apartment is asking $70 a night for example, compared to a similar room in a hotel from $270.
However not all properties are targeted at the lower end of the market, others on the site in Auckland rent for $1349 a night with no limit on the number of guests who can stay or $468 a night for ten people at Kohimarama.
Areas near the stadiums where games will be played are predicted to be the most popular but iStopOver is predicting its users will be looking for accommodation all around the country to stay in while travelling during their trip.
iStopOver chief executive, former lawyer and ex-AOL staffer Mr Sigel, said as a father of two the option of renting a whole house rather than two hotel rooms when travelling as a family was appealing to him when he created the website.
“It’s much more affordable too, in a hotel I would need to pay say $8 US dollars to get my kid a bagel whereas I could run down to the store and get a pack for $6,” Mr Sigel said.
Lets tourists live like locals
For travellers staying with locals in a spare bedroom, it was an opportunity to get an insider’s insight into the local culture.
“After a long flight, it’s also great to be picked up by the people you’re staying with who know the area and can recommend places to eat and shop that you can trust. If you ask a concierge he might just tell you to go his friend’s café,” said Mr Lipchitz, adding that a lot of New Zealanders had pride in their country and wanted to show it visitors.
The website has listings for many international locations including New York, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, San Francisco, India, Hawaii, Prague. The company will be targetting the London Olympics in 2012 and other events such as the US Open and Super Bowl.
Thu, 28 Oct 2010