Airbnb sees huge spike in guests for Final Four weekend

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

This Final Four weekend a lot of visitors will be skipping Valley hotels and instead opting to sleep in someone else's home instead.

The home-sharing company, Airbnb, is projecting 9,200 guests will stay with one of their hosts this weekend. It's a 128 percent increase over this same weekend last year.

"I have somebody that's coming tomorrow who is going to be here for March Madness. He's going to be staying a couple of nights," said Airbnb Super Host Dante LoPresti.

[SPECIAL SECTION: NCAA Final Four in Phoenix]

This will mark LoPresti's third year as an Airbnb host. He says he got into it on a whim and has stayed with it ever since.

"This is a fun, easy way to make some extra money," he said.

During the last three years, he's had a steady stream of paying guests share his Phoenix space. 

"Ten-minute walk to downtown, so people definitely stay here for the events," said LoPresti. 

Like many of the other people with listings on the home-sharing site, he's been able to capitalize on the string of major sporting events the Valley has hosted over the last few years.

[RELATED: Arizona faces new competition in landing mega sports events]

"The first big one was the Super Bowl," he said. "I was able to make about three times what I usually charge, which was nice."

Now, though, it is a little harder to double and triple rates because there are so many more listings, thanks in part to much higher demand.

Airbnb says during the 2016 NCAA National Football Championship weekend, about 2,800 people used their services. That's expected to more than triple for the Final Four.

The average cost per night in the Phoenix area for a booked listing is $94. This Final Four weekend, it's slightly more expensive in Glendale at $110.

Our search of the site on Wednesday though showed plenty of inflated prices for last minute Airbnb's around the Valley.

"I kind of rely on Airbnb and their smart pricing system to price my place accordingly," said LoPresti.

So, he won't be charging much more than his nightly average for this Final Four weekend, which he says is just fine.

"I just want to show people my home, and I'm passionate about this place because I was born and raised here," LoPresti said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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