Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Guest housing already filling up for SXSW

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TWC News: Guest housing already filling up for SXSW
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Amidst a worldly collection of snow globes sits the corporate offices for HomeAway.com.

The website connects home owners looking to rent their property to travelers.

"As it sits today, most of our 357 listings we have here in Austin are booked for both weeks of South by Southwest," HomeAway.com Vice President Jon Gray said.

The Internet-based company only has about 50 rentals left.

"It gives guests coming to visit Austin the alternative to the hustle and bustle of a hotel," realtor Robert Shaw said.

Shaw is renting out two 500 square foot units in downtown Austin. He says the business of renting out houses to tourists is growing in popularity. It may be expensive, but for the price of an upscale hotel, visitors can get a small home feel.

"It is a lot tougher, as we get closer to March it is going to get even tougher, and I would assume as we get closer to March prices are even going to go up," Shaw said.

Experts say it's perfectly normal to see travelers book up to one year in advance for the event.

"In any vacation rental market you see larger demand and therefore higher prices in peak times and south-by is one of those top times in Austin, so you definitely see higher prices during South by Southwest," Gray said.

Shaw said one advantage of short term rentals is the ability to negotiate the price with the homeowner.

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