This year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500, and turnout is a little higher than average. According to the Indy Star, all 200,000 reserved tickets for the May 29th event are already sold out.
For the city of 848,788 residents, these crowds will put a significant stress on the city’s hospitality system, which only has about 33,000 rooms to deal with the influx. With demand so high, many people are flocking to Airbnb to list their spare rooms and couches—because the potential windfall is huge.
Re-booked rooms after cancellations are skyrocketing to Superbowl-level prices, notes the Star, and one look at Airbnb shows tons of listings labeled “new” with tons of listings that seem high for Indianapolis standards. $800 for two bedrooms, 20 minutes away. $300 for a living room downtown. $99 for a top bunk. And the pearl of Airbnb’s listings: $400 for a couch just two minutes from the stadium.
Since most of the listings are new from residents looking to take advantage of a very desirable but ephemeral asset, listings don’t have ratings. But if the weekend is a thundering success, it does have the potential to affect the city’s hospitality industry. Should things go well, it’s likely many hosts would react to that experience by staying on the platform for the long term—potentially making Indianapolis cheaper to visit if this causes the city’s capacity to remain permanently higher.