Airbnb hosts reap rewards from hot Super Bowl market

- Over the course of Super Bowl week the Twin Cities are expected to host nearly 125,000 visitors, more than three times the number of hotel rooms available in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

This obviously presents a problem--or an opportunity--depending on how you look at it.

Online rental agency Airbnb is cashing in on this discrepancy, with some experts projecting the company to bring $3.7 million to Minnesota in Super Bowl week alone. And while hotels around MSP International Airport charge upwards of $600 a night, the average for Airbnb is closer to $240, with some people charging even less. Still, most of the 5,500 registered hosts are making more money than usual on their short-term rentals, with many trying Airbnb for the first time.

In northeast Minneapolis, Airbnb host Carol Liege is charging more than three times her normal rate, in addition to the breakfast and other amenities that many people like to offer their guests.

"In Minnesota, hospitality is hot," she said. "I charged $165 a night which I think is a steal for Minneapolis right now."

Meanwhile, across the river in St. Paul, Trudy Ohnsorg is renting out her home to a family from Colorado--two parents, two kids, two dogs and a cat that pay $150 a day while they get settled in the area. 

"It’s been wonderful," said Marcus Mason, whose family is staying in Ohnsorg's home. "Obviously having the economics add up makes a lot of sense, and having a great location and a great house has been a real blessing for us."

At the same time, both women say that while the money is nice, the real treat is getting to know new people from all around the world who they might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet.

"It’s been a delight to me to connect with people from all over the country," Ohnsorg said. "[These people] come to my home, they start out as strangers and they turn into friends."

In fact, Ohnsorg loves being an Airbnb host so much she wrote a book about it, called "Air Be & Me: How being an Airbnb host can reaffirm our faith in the essential goodness of humanity and bring the world to our doors."

For more information about the book and her journey, click here.

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