Rent your spare room out for £500

Olympics signWhile a cultural achievement for the capital, the Olympics are set to cost the country a fortune. The bill is now topping £12bn with the security costs alone coming to £553m – double the original estimate. It's hard to put a price tag on the cultural legacy the Games will leave the country, but cynics could argue it's unlikely to equal the £12bn bill.

The sheer volume of visitors will also hugely impact on the city. O2 recently trialled allowing a quarter of their 12,000-strong workforce to work outside of the office, readying for the impact of the Games on the city's already congested transport system.
So if the average Londoner isn't an Olympic enthusiast, there's not a lot to be excited about. Unless of course you happen to have a spare room, and if it's in the right area, you could be £500 a night richer.

Cashing in

Accommodation booking site Wimdu has been helping Londoners cash in on the Games. The site allows you to put anything from your spare room through to your whole house up for rent, and savvy homeowners in the capital have been putting their properties on at premium rates.

To do some simple maths, according to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, there were 8.8m ticket sales for the Games, of which approximately 1m went to non-UK fans. To break this down further, London and Partners, the new promotional board for London, is anticipating 881,000 people will be looking for accommodation in London throughout the Olympics. There's also an anticipated 5.5m day visitors which could potentially convert to overnight stays. Which is a lot of people looking for a roof over their head.

Co-founder and Wimdu UK CEO Michael Riegel highlights the opportunity the Games offer: "Olympic home rental is really hotting up as more and more Londoners are realising the money making potential during the Games. We have already received hundreds of bookings for the Olympics, so the earlier you list your property the better chance you have of full occupancy during the three weeks. At the moment, the average revenue for a double room in Greater London is earning our hosts around £187 per night during the Olympics."

However if your home happens to be located in one of the key Olympic areas, such as a double bedroom in Olympic hotspot Stratford, the per night rate goes a lot higher than £187. This double room in Stratford is usually priced at £25 per night but increases to £700 per night in the final week of the Games. The host has already received bookings for the second week of the Olympics, when the price tag for the room rings in at £500 per night.

One of the most expensive properties on the Wimdu books which has already been reserved is a four-bedroom house in Greenwich, which is booked out for seven nights during the Olympics at £500 per night. Another notable offering yet to be booked is a five-bedroom luxury yacht costing a cool £4,286 per night.


So how to do you maximise the booking potential of your property? "The key to making the most out of the opportunity is to do your research: have a look at similar property prices in the area, make sure you're informing your potential guests of local attractions and transport links to the stadium, and be aware of the big Olympic events to make sure you set your prices accordingly, " advises Riegal.

While those outside London might feel they are getting a raw deal, prices on the booking site also see a spike when there are events on in the locality. Properties listed on Wimdu in Manchester enjoyed a bookings surge when a Stone Roses concert was announced in the city's Heaton Park, selling out completely within 48 hours of the announcement of the gig. Sports events also typically see a spike of between 20-42%. Wales V France in the Six Nations in Cardiff in March saw a 33% increase and is likely to spike as the date draws nearer. So the key to cashing in is being aware of what's going on and what's likely to book out.


Wimdu have put together some tips on what to consider before you rent your property:
  • Tell guests what they're paying for: A comprehensive description of your property will reassure guests they're getting something great for their money. Make sure your description covers off all relevant details about the property, the local attractions, the transport links to the Olympic Stadium and how long it will take to get there.
  • Do your research: Hosts can demand higher prices when the bigger events are on or if they have particularly good transport links to a certain event space, so make sure you're aware of what's happening and when so you can adjust your prices according to the Olympics calendar.
  • If it's an Olympics property, say so: If you're capitalising on the Olympics, make sure guests know that and include "Olympics" in the property title, e.g. Double room with good transport links to Olympic stadium.
  • Choose the right price: Hosts should research similar properties in their area and set the price accordingly. Too much and potential guests will book elsewhere, too little and you're not getting the best price you can. The cost should be roughly about three times the normal asking price outside of the Olympic period.
  • Say it with pictures: Good quality and informative pictures of the property will reassure the guest that they are getting great value. If you add a personal profile picture, they know who they are renting from and it gives it a 'real' feel.
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