Sunday, October 20

A place to lay your hat: Calgarians cash in on Stampede Airbnbs

CALGARY – When it comes to the Stampede, not every visitor can afford a hotel room which is why it’s great that there are some pretty cheap options like this camper on Airbnb.

For $150 a night, you can lay your head in this trailer during the Stampede.“It’s basically a queen-sized bed. It’s very, very comfortable,” said Liz Tompkins.

The camper is one of five properties Tompkins is renting out on Airbnb. Her other four are condos.

“So, that’s 40 nights of potential vacancy and there are only three nights left unbooked.”

With over 1.2 million people taking in the Stampede over 10 days, demand for a place to stay is high. And that can mean some easy cash especially if you live near the grounds like Jolene, who is a first-time Airbnb host this July.

“In Calgary, we all have to be super creative about how we pay our mortgages these days and that’s my most recent creative [solution],” said Jolene.

Renting out her entire home during the 10-day event for $280 a night, Jolene learned that she can up the price considerably.

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“I didn’t know how to price it. So, I talked to a friend of mine who has a basement suite and she says it’s a one bedroom and usually, they rent it for $100 a night but for Stampede they do $150.”

Kurtis Macgilvray is renting out his a spare room at his downtown condo for about $120 a night.

“Everybody wants to come to see Stampede once in their life,” says Macgilvray who had a fun time hosting little Stampede tours last year. “We went to Wildhorse and showed them around and showed a bit of the Stampede experience.”

So while Calgarians find ways to fleece their pockets with the cash cow that is the Stampede, it also means visitors have a choice on how deep they want to dig into their pockets.

“You can make a bit of a profit and everywhere else is hiking it up anyway but [Airbnbs] are cheaper than a normal hotel,” said Macgilvray.

Visitors can also choose what kind of experience they want when they visit the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

“I can really live in a pretty small space quite easily because most of the living you end up doing outside. And, of course, during Stampede people are going to be outside at the grounds all day,” said Tompkins.

-with files from Kendra Fowler