Columbia hopes gameday is a win on and off the field

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COLUMBIA - This weekend’s Senior Day football game against Tennessee has fans looking all over the city for a place to stay, and Airbnb is making it easier on them.

Ben Breit, Midwest Press Secretary for Airbnb, said hundreds of fans will be in town, and that means lots of opportunities to rent a place.

“We’re expecting about 450 guest arrivals via Airbnb and that’s going to mean $37,000 in supplemental income going directly into the pockets of Columbia residents,” he said.

Breit said gamedays tend to have that effect.

“If you’re talking about football fans, that’s the biggest influx of guest arrivals or visitors we’ve seen surpassing even the eclipse which is astounding.”

Strategic Communications Manager for the Convention and Visitor's Bureau Meghan McConachie said when football brings this many people to Columbia, it does wonders for the city.

"When people travel here they stay in our hotels, they dine in our restaurants, they shop in our stores and all of that spending helps support local jobs."

She said there's only one downside to Airbnb operating in Columbia: the city can't receive funds from it because the rented homes aren't considered hotels. 

"We're completely funded by the lodging tax that is placed on all of our hotels and motels here in the city of Columbia,” she said. 

But even if the language is changed in an ordinance, McConcachie said it doesn't mean we immediately start collecting tax on those." 

As of now, she said even with Airbnb, Columbia's hotels and motels are filling up just as much for the game. 

"We haven't heard form all of our properties, some are completely full, some still have some rooms available."

McConachie said in about a month, they will have all the data and know if Columbia scored a win this weekend.