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Got Room To Share? Airbnb Renters Will Be Grateful For Dead Weekend

By Selena Fragassi in News on May 10, 2015 7:05PM

photo via The Grateful Dead's Facebook page

The Grateful Dead are not only selling out their Soldier Field shows at record pace, they are also helping to sell out many Chicago hotels for the already in-demand holiday weekend of July 3-5.

“It’s hands down the biggest spikes I’ve ever seen,” Reid Webster told travel portal Skift. He’s the regional sales director at Orbitz, which has been tracking the data. Of note is the fact that “Chicago hotels had a record 11-fold increase in reservations the day the shows were announced,” which has put room rates for that period at an all-time premium—see the ghastly $500-plus for a downtown Holiday Inn Express, nearly four times the regular price.

What this means for you is that if you are already planning on going out of town for the July 4th holiday, you can make some killer cash by offering up your digs for strapped travelers. Many are anticipated to be coming from all over the world for the Dead’s final shows in Chicago (the only other dates are the week before in California).

“This concert is going down as one of the top three demand drivers at Airbnb,” Andrea La Mesa, the company’s regional director for North America, told Skift. Only SXSW and the Super Bowl have it beat. Chicago bookings for the private rental hub are up 95% over last year, she said. One resident they interviewed said she’s never seen her place booked so quickly.

So how do you do it? If you’ve never used Airbnb before, check out the brand’s Top 10 Tips on how to be a successful host. It will lead you through the process of setting up an attractive listing page, figuring out an appropriate rental cost and staying in touch. The top renters in Chicago also have these suggestions and beware-before-you-rent scenarios you should check out.

“You can’t just throw a couple of photos on and hope it works out,” one owner said. “They see the room, but they want to get to know the hosts…If you have an interesting story, then people will select you because of what you are like.”

The Reader also has a pretty in-depth tale of “how a typical Chicago apartment became an in-demand Airbnb rental.”

But your best bet it to strike while the iron is hot and before Chicago’s first Airbnb Hotel opens this summer ensuring the July 4th holiday is anything but a Dead weekend.