With the Ryder Cup
just weeks away, home sharing service Airbnb
says online searches for accommodations across Sheboygan County increased more than 40% from June to July.
The biennial men's pro golf competition is set for Sept. 21-26 at Whistling Straits in the Town of Mosel north of Sheboygan. The event, pitting an American team against a European team, will have an estimated economic impact of $135 million, which includes dollars spent on lodging from Milwaukee to Green Bay and west to Fond du Lac.
Kohler Co., the owner of Whistling Straits, is expecting "full attendance," but declined to provide an estimated figure. Originally, when preparations were underway for a 2020 event, tournament and local tourism officials anticipated 50,000 visitors at Whistling Straits each day.
In a report
released by Airbnb Thursday, the Ryder Cup was listed among several upcoming big events across North America currently trending among users. The report suggests the return of major sporting events and music festivals is drawing overnight visitors to large and mid-size cities.
Also on the list is the Made in America Festival in Philadelphia;
Oktoberfest in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and the Vancouver International Film Festival; and Astroworld Festival in Houston.
A search for Airbnbs in Sheboygan County for the week of the Ryder Cup shows hosts are charging anywhere from $2,734 per night to $275 per night, with an average nightly price of $1,614, according to its website.
In Elkhart Lake, located about 15 miles west of Whistling Straits, properties are fully booked with guests attending the golf event on leisure as well as on business, such as media and corporate sponsors, said Kathleen Eickhoff, executive director at Elkhart Lake Tourism.
"There's a lot of different components of what the overnight guests could be when it comes to the Ryder Cup. It could be teams, it could be families, it could be extended parts of the team, it could be media," she said.
Elkhart Lake has several resort and hotel properties including The Osthoff Resort, The Shore Club Wisconsin, and Siebkens Resort, but individual home rentals make up a large portion of the village's lodging accommodations.
Residents have been renting their homes to visitors since Elkhart's motorsport racing venue Road America opened in the 1950s, and it's only increased with platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo, which have helped owners rent their properties more efficiently, said Eickhoff.
Spanning 640 acres, Road America is the official campground for The Ryder Cup, offering cabins and general camping areas.
The home rental business has helped Elkhart Lake capitalize on the tourism driven by national events at Road America, such as the NASCAR Cup Series in July
, as well as golf championships hosted in recent years at Kohler Co.'s courses.
"It does provide an opportunity for more people to stay in our area because when you have an event like a Ryder Cup or an EAA or NASCAR or something that has such a broad draw, it has an impact on the entire county," she said.
Eickhoff added that golf events attract visitors, such as players and their families, who'd prefer to stay in a home instead of a hotel. The PGA and Ryder Cup have their own partnership with Rent Like a Champion
, a national private home rental platform.