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Ways to stay: Airbnb popular for Mardi Gras visitors

Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-28 14:18:06-05

When people are looking for places to stay during Mardi Gras, hundreds are choosing to Airbnb for a short term rental service.

There’s more than 300 properties listed in Lafayette on Airbnb, almost all of them are already booked for Mardi Gras weekend.

“I turned my house into a mini hostel with two private rooms, two shared bathrooms and one 4-bed dormitory,” said Toby Doré, who became one of the first homeowners in Lafayette to list a property on Airbnb seven years ago.

“When my business started to do well, I used all the money to turn my garage into a private apartment, which was immediately put onto Airbnb and then a few years later, I turned my attic into a private apartment,” he said.

Doré is one of 150 million people who use Airbnb worldwide.  He now owns Cajun Hostel, a company that manages seven Airbnb properties. He also uses the app when he travels throughout the year.

“I stayed in a motor home in these people’s front yard, I stayed in a teepee in a girl’s back yard in Portland, Oregon,” Doré said.

From renting a room in someone’s home for less than $30 a night, to a two-bedroom loft in Downtown Lafayette for $120, there are options for every traveler.

“From what I’ve seen, it’s not just millennials, it’s families, it’s business people, so it’s not just one demographic that’s using Airbnb,” said Lafayette Travel CEO Ben Berthelot.

Airbnb started paying 4% occupancy and 4% sales taxes to Lafayette Parish back in October. That money is used to support tourism in the parish.

“It’s nice now that we’re able to collect the revenue to be able to do our job of driving traffic back to our hotels, back to our bed and breakfasts and now back to our Airbnb properties,” he said.

Traffic that Doré and many others look forward to.

“You can be someone with an extra bedroom in your house or a homeowner with an extra rental property. Or you can live in the house as these guests are coming in and out, and you can meet people from all over the United States and the world, and be very hands on. So it’s very flexible,” he said.