Homeowners capitalizing on jam-packed tourist weekend

Updated: Apr. 22, 2015 at 9:57 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Hotels are nearing full capacity for the first weekend of Jazz Fest, and homeowners are picking up the slack.

"It's all about choice. You should be able to choose if you want to stay at some body's house," one renter said. The renter did not wish to disclose her name.

Airbnb renters are not licensed, do not pay taxes and renting out a short-term room without a license is a violation of a New Orleans' city ordinance.

But the threat of breaking an ordinance is not stopping dozens from taking advantage of a jam-packed weekend.

A quick search online revealed the lack of vacancy this weekend.

"The city is very booked and very busy. There is always an opportunity to find a (hotel) room here or there," NOLA Tourism Marketing Corporation President Mark Romig said.

Along with Jazz Fest, the Zurich Classic also tees off.

The festival alone is expected to bring nearly 500,000 people for both weekends.

"Airbnb is kind of opening up the ability to travel to people who would never be able to do it," the renter said.

She's renting her entire two bedroom home in midcity for $150 a night and a room in one of her rentals for $75 a night. Both are within walking distance of the Fair Grounds.

"(Hotel owners) are thinking they are losing money. But they are not losing money. They are booked solid. People are calling saying they cant get a room. Last minute, they are on Airbnb. They got a room. It's bringing more people to the city. So I don't know where it's getting it's bad name," the renter said.

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