Homeowners may want to consider rolling out their welcome mat and heading off on their dream holiday when Wollongong hosts the 2022 UCI Road World Cycling championships.
The prestigious cycling event is expected to draw up to 35,000 visitors from across the globe to the Illawarra between September 18 and 25.
Destination Wollongong General Manager Mark Sleigh on Wednesday confirmed there will be a shortage of beds in the area and said many athletes will be forced book accommodation in Sydney and commute.
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But with homes to comfortably house sleep two adults and two children currently priced at an average of $2000 for the eight day period in the Illawarra, Airbnb bosses are encouraging homeowners to make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
"As Wollongong prepares to host some of the world's best athletes for the UCI Road World Championships in September, there's never been a better time to roll out your welcome mat and host on Airbnb," Airbnb's Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand Susan Wheeldon said.
"Wollongong residents have long been proud of showing off the spectacular part of the world they call home - and what better opportunity to do this than for one of the world's most prestigious road cycling events which will bring a huge number of spectators to Illawarra for eight days of elite racing and festivities."
"Hosts on Airbnb play a valuable role in making guests feel extremely welcome and our Wollongong Hosts are no exception - sure to point guests in the direction of the best hidden gems and local businesses to support."
One of the more modest Airbnb properties in the area to sleep four guests during the course of the event was a suite in Cordeaux Heights priced at $830. On the opposite end of the scale, cycling enthusiasts can rent a luxurious four-bedroom home on Lake Illawarra that sleeps eight for a whopping $8856.
Mark said there was "no doubt" we had a shortage of beds in Wollongong, especially when compared to other major regional cities.
"Similar cities like Newcastle and Geelong have a lot more accommodation but then again you can't just go and build hotels for events," he said.
"Prior to COVID we were marked as the best case for another regional hotel but obviously it has been put off.
"In this day and age Airbnbs are a great option and they can be very profitable in the area.
"If residents are going down this road they need to ensure their home meets all of the necessary requirements so they don't come home to any nasty surprises.
"We are also working with council to see if we may be able to open up more areas so people can camp during the event."
Susan encouraged any residents interested in signing up to go ahead.
"It's easy to become a host on Airbnb - in fact, you can sign up in just 10 easy steps," she said.
"You're in full control of your availability, prices, house rules, and how you interact with guests and each and every reservation is covered for free by AirCover - our top-to-bottom protection for every Airbnb Host, with USD $1 million in damage protection and USD $1 million in liability coverage."
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