Have a room to rent? Don’t expect windfalls during papal visit to Philly


Philadelphians who have space available for travelers to the city during the visit of Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families in September now have a place to advertise those accommodations.

The service is not for those looking for a big payoff.

With only 11,000 hotel rooms in Philadelphia, the Catholic Archdiocese has tapped Homestay.com to connect visitors with locals who have a spare room. Some of the expected 2 million visitors will prefer avoiding a hotel, said Alan Clarke of Homestay.

“What we find is that the appetite to host and be hosted is a global phenomenon, but it delivers a local experience,” he said.

During other events in other cities, Clarke said visitors paid an average of $40 per night.

“A guest would look to make a booking, they would pay a deposit up front of 10 percent of the stay,” he explained. “But the price per night is really being set by the host family.”

Renting out a room — whether with Homestay.com or through AirBnB.com and other services —  occupies a gray area in Philly. While technically not illegal, zoning laws bar it in most neighborhoods.

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