On Friday, Airbnb officially signed a partnership agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an official accommodation provider for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. In addition to official hotels, Airbnb will help assuage the need for the IOC’s requirement of 40,000 hotel rooms for the games, with Airbnb providing up to 20,000 rooms for travelers.
The move is a break from tradition, as official accommodations for the Olympics have been arranged with large scale and high volume hotels. Airbnb co-founder, Joe Gebbia is not worried, however, and is excited to prove the value of his company. In a statement, Gebbia said that using Airbnb will allow for greater cultural interchange and will offer what the majority of tourists go to a country for, immersion. “We’re ready to show [travelers] what traditional authentic Brazilian hospitality looks like,” he said, also noting that spreading tourists out to other parts of Rio would create a spreading of the tourist economy, allowing local businesses to profit from tourists in the area looking to buy goods.
Gebbia hopes that signing on Airbnb as an official accommodation provider will help fight the surge pricing of hotels. “We want to make sure there are affordable options. Our hosts love caring for our guests.” The process will be fully integrated as well. Once you purchase an Olympic Games ticket online you will be directed to official accommodation choices, of which one will be Airbnb. From there you can simply scroll through the listings of Airbnb rooms in Rio.
Though the IOC required a minimum 40,000 rooms, a predicted 380,000 foreigners will descend on the city for the Olympic Games during August 5-21 in 2016. That is one reason why Airbnb was brought in as an official provider: during the 2014 World Cup, Airbnb hosted over 100,000 travelers, proving it could handle the load. This has also not been the first time large events have suggested that fans stay in nontraditional accommodations in Rio. For the 2014 World Cup, Rio city hall in fact encouraged tourists to stay with friends or family in private homes to help hotels manage capacity.