As soon as London won the bid to host the 2012 World Olympic Games, preparation began to welcome international competitors and sports-fans alike. Itll all start with the dramatic opening ceremony thats planned for the 27th July, which will celebrate the start of two weeks of frenetic Olympic events across the country, from Manchester to London. London 2012 will then wind up with the handing over of the Olympic torch to Rio in Brazil on the 12th of August. The London Olympics is bound to deliver a spectacle to make Britain proud and the type of summer holiday that visitors will never forget!
A warm welcome?
But given the enormous numbers of sports fans expected to descend on the city for the games the issue of accommodation is one that could mar the whole event. Critics are already cautioning that hotels planning to double their prices will leave a sour taste in the mouths of domestic and international visitors alike.
Thankfully there is another accommodation option; homestays. Homestays allow the host to supplement their income, while guests save on accommodation. Also both hosts and guests are able to enjoy a sociable experience meeting new people from across the globe, which is arguably what the Olympics should be about.
Crashpadder.com is one homestay community that is keen to support this idea, after all the 2000 Olympics is Sydney was what led to its birth in the first place:
The notion of Crashpadder was actually born when the company's founder Stephen Rapoport was working in a bar in Sydney around the time of the Sydney Olympics in 2000. He and his colleagues would frequently be asked by patrons to recommend good places to stay.
So when the hotels filled up and raised their room rates from expensive to ludicrous, Stephen and his colleagues did what any hospitable folk would do; they offered up their spare sofas.
Room at the inn?
According to official figures, 17,000 new London hotel rooms will be needed to be built in time for the Olympics, in order to cope with the demand of tourists. Sponsors, including Coca-Cola, are demanding around 10,000 hospitality packages and 20,000 hotel rooms for the duration of the Games, which gives you an idea of the demand London is facing. As such its no surprise that when it comes to the 2012 London Olympics, many in the accommodation industry are anticipating a boom.
Indeed there are predicted to be up to 350,000 foreign visitors descending on the capital each day during the Olympics. Hotel chains may well be salivating at the prospect of price hikes as room occupancy rates to reach all time highs, but thanks to homestay sites like Crashpadder they wont necessarily be the only accommodation option for visitors.
Crashpadder allows every-day London locals to offer their spare space to people looking for short lets and holiday rentals. Homestay hosts can also make up to 4,250 tax free each year in accordance with the Governments HMRC Rent a Room Scheme. But its not the money that will motivate many London hosts. The idea of having friendly, international sports-fans come to stay is very appealing to lots of London locals, who are listing their rooms in preparation already.