2010 Vancouver Olympic Games information 

Gauging rates for Vancouver rooms during 2010 Olympic Games

The going rate for a budget room—with shower but no view—at Vancouver’s Budget Inn Patricia Hotel on East Hastings Street is $69 per night. For the not so budget-conscious traveller, the Renaissance Vancouver Hotel Harbourside on West Hastings Street can provide more appropriate digs for $289 a night—no breakfast.

Now, that’s Vancouver pre-2010. However, finding accommodations in time for the Olympic Games may prove to be an Olympic challenge in itself.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is securing accommodations for user groups, from game officials to athletes, corporate sponsors, and media representatives. Vanoc states on its Web site (www.vancouver2010.com/) that these people are expected to take 20,000 rooms out of the more than 30,000 hotel rooms available, presumably across the Metro Vancouver region.

Hotels aren’t supposed to take 2010 reservations before this is done, states the Vanoc advisory.

Based on a count by Tourism Vancouver, there are 23,987 accommodation units available in the region as of January 2008. This number doesn’t include seasonal rooms at universities, hostel beds, and beds-and-breakfasts.

Vanoc also states that only after it has allotted rooms for various user groups under its responsibility will hotels participating in its accommodation program know how many will be left for spectators.

The Olympics organizer doesn’t say in the advisory how many spectators are expected to descend on Metro Vancouver. It promises, though, that more information on visitor accommodation will be available this fall.

Out of professional interest as an economist, Mark Szekely set up a Web site (www.rent2010.net/) in the fall of 2006 to provide a free listing service for those who want to rent out their homes, as well as for those seeking accommodations.

As of July 18 this year, the site had 210 for-rent listings.

“I think that there is generally a recognition by local homeowners that the 2010 Olympic games will be a period where there will be a high demand for accommodations,” Szekely told the Georgia Straight by phone.

The law of supply and demand is a fundamental principle in market economies. Simply stated, the rule goes that the price of a product changes in relation to the supply and demand for it. It remains to seen how much homeowners will make during the Olympics. “Nobody knows for sure how much the market will bear,” Szekely said about where the various asking rates posted on his site will eventually settle.

Richmond resident Gary Benson is offering his 3,000-square-foot house for $5,000 a week or $15,000 for the whole month of February in 2010. Benson told the Straight that if his place gets rented, he’ll go away for a vacation.

There are a number of accommodation seekers who have expressed interest in getting a house through Szekely’s site. One family whose son is competing on the U.S. bobsled team is looking for a five- or six-bedroom house for the Games.

Frank Brickle and his wife want their two-bedroom condo in North Vancouver rented out for $20,000 a month during the Games season. “Ordinarily, we would be here, but I think we’re going to stay away,” Brickle told the Straight. “It’s going to be hectic. It’s gonna be madness.”

Vancouver mortgage agent Mike Averbach is hearing the same from his clients. “Let’s face it,” Averbach told the Straight. “It’s gonna be a chaotic time. If somebody can pay for them [to go on a vacation], why not?”

On July 14 this year, the Better Business Bureau issued tips for homeowners intending to get a piece of the Olympic pie. The group suggested that getting the right insurance may spare 2010 landlords future headaches.

The BBB also recommended that homeowners should check tax and rental laws. It noted that a hotel-room tax could apply to short-term accommodation if you have four units for rent or more, or if you rent to one person for longer than one month. For more tips, check out www.bbb.org/