Indianapolis 500

Indy 500 guests turn to residents for housing through Airbnb

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hotel rates are high for this Indianapolis 500 weekend, so many people are choosing to stay at the homes of people who live in Indianapolis, booking through the website Airbnb.

Denelsia Walker rents out rooms in her Indianapolis house through Airbnb.

“I hosted two couples during the Super Bowl,” she said “The Final Four – I had a house full.”

She said having complete strangers hang out in her kitchen doesn’t bother her a bit.

“I’m here, I interact with them, I drink tea with them, we have beers together,” she said.

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A self-proclaimed “people person,” Walker said she enjoys meeting people from across the world.

This weekend for the race, she’s hosting a few Europeans.

“They’re race fans from Germany and they’re coming strictly for the Indy 500,” she said.

She lives about a ten minute drive to the track.

But with rates about $50 a night, her rooms are booked early and often.

And she isn’t the only one in Indianapolis with this idea.

Derek Thomas rented his downtown apartment for the Final Four at $250 a night.

“I put it up a week before the tournament and within two hours I had someone that was interested,” he said.

He listed his apartment for the Indianapolis 500 fans, but didn’t get a response.

He priced his place at $150 a night.

“So I was pretty surprised that someone didn’t bite for this weekend,” he said.

But Walker’s home will be busy this weekend.

And with four years of positive Airbnb experiences, she hopes to keep hosting guests for many 500 weekends to come.

For Airbnb, the hosts have to be checked out through what they call a “Verified ID,” according to the website.

It’s not a background check, though they reserve the right to do background checks.

Renters have Verified ID as well, but they can bring guests that aren’t verified.

Both hosts said they’ve never had a bad renter experience.