Game day visitors find alternative accommodations

Some students rent out their apartments during football season


AYDAN MINER | The Daily Evergreen

Holden Roberts, a graduate student at WSU, discusses renting out his apartment through Airbnb.

JENNIFER LADWIG, Evergreen reporter

With a full stadium comes a set of full hotels on the Palouse. This leaves visitors without a booked hotel room with several options, including renting through Airbnb, or finding a room through WSU Housing.

As of Wednesday, the Pullman area had 149 options for a single guest to stay through Airbnb. Prices range from $10 a night for a single bed to $950 a night for a house with six beds.

Airbnb appeals to many guests, but it is also an appealing way to make some extra money in the Pullman area.

Holden Roberts, a graduate student studying marketing and finance, rents out his apartment on Kamiaken Street on the weekends in order to make some extra cash. He said he makes enough to pay for rent.

Roberts joined Airbnb last April with the plan to rent out his apartment over the summer. Now that football season has rolled around, he said, he gets people booking his place every weekend. Roberts stays over at his girlfriend’s place when he has clients renting out the apartment.

Roberts said his clients have almost exclusively been WSU alumni. He said that everyone he has worked with has been respectful and has had good things to say about staying at his apartment.

Roberts charges $70 dollars a night to rent his apartment. He said he selected this number by looking at what local hotels charge per night, and reducing that price by $30 or $40 dollars. He said he was shooting to have his place about the same price as staying in a motel.

After the success Roberts has experienced as a host with Airbnb, he said he suggested to some friends that they rent out their places, but they haven’t done it yet.

The best advice Roberts would give to someone thinking about becoming a host on Airbnb, is to simply be honest with how you describe your place, since the renters will see it eventually, so you should let them know exactly what they’re paying for.

Becky and James Elias have rented their house because June, and the experience has been nothing but positive, Becky said.

The Elias’ rent out their entire house, which sleeps five guests, for $134 a night. They live on the West Side, and have a co-host who is available next door to their rented home. They originally decided to join Airbnb to meet a demand they saw in Pullman.

“The college town is in need of more housing during the high season, and summertime can become a more long-term residence,” Becky said in an email. “We had three daughters attend WSU and ran into problems with [finding] a place to stay many times.”

The Elias’ house, called “The Cougar Den” on Airbnb, comes equipped with a full kitchen, coffee and tea, and space for parking. Becky said she prefers to stay in an Airbnb, because it typically provides more amenities that you may need during your visit.

Becky said she would recommend becoming an Airbnb host, but to be sure to check for any Homeowner’s Association ordinances against Airbnb in your area before doing the paperwork.

The traditional hotel is still the popular housing option in Pullman, but when they fill up, those guests who are unable to book will be directed elsewhere.

“We usually suggest they check the Facebook page of Coug families,” said Steve Vreeken, general manager of the Residence Inn by Marriot in Pullman.

Another alternative is to contact WSU Housing and Dining Services. When enrollment is down, part of McEachern Hall may be transformed into a hotel of sorts, said Edwin Hamada, director of WSU Residence Life.

However, priority goes to the students, so when WSU’s enrollment is up, there are no spare rooms to rent out to guests, Hamada said. This year, there are no extra rooms and so the McEachern Hall hotel is not an option for visitors.

Certain residence halls have guest rooms that can be reserved for visiting family and friends, Hamada said. These rooms are typically in the older dorms, such as Orton, Rogers, Stimson and Streit-Perham Halls. Students have to live in the dorm they wish to rent the guest room from, and if multiple students want the room for the same night, the recipient is selected by a blind draw.

Both the residence hall hotel and guest rooms run around $45 dollars a night, Hamada said.

If these options are not available, Starrla Allen, the administrative assistant for Residence Life, said she will suggest visitors check for an Airbnb.