Airbnb will shell out US$10 million for wacky and unique stays

Airbnb will shell out US$10 million for wacky and unique stays

You’ve probably heard the story about the old lady who lives in a shoe, and the Hobbits who live on the sides of hills. But did you know there’s funding available for wacky housing projects like that?

Airbnb is giving away US$10 million in something called the “OMG! Fund” for crazy, weird, bizarre and interesting housing designs. The pot will be split between 100 people, with each getting US$100,000 to create unforgettable stays like the Big Idaho Potato Hotel in Boise, Iowa, which, you guessed it, looks like a big ol’ potato, or the Deluxe Covered Wagon stay near Las Vegas that offers horse rides, rodeos and other cowboy fun.

The idea is that this will spur some creative stays on the getaway housing platform during a summer the company (and others like Expedia and Booking Holdings Inc) expects to be one of the best the industry has ever seen. Airbnb said that stays at unique locations have increased by nearly 50% from 2019 to 2021, and it’s leaning into the idea that instead of a cookie-cutter hotel room, one might as well stay somewhere different.

But others are more skeptical about the summer being a good one for the travel industry, citing high gas prices as a reason for people to be less willing to go on road trips or book flights.

Whatever happens, though, I think we can all agree that being able to sleep in a doughnut (or a potato) in the middle of the desert would be pretty cool.