London 2012 Olympics gives Airbnb a boost in bookings

British Royal Marine Martyn Williams, right, rappels down from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter into the Tower of London with the Olympic torch, Friday, July 20, 2012, in London. The Olympic Torch arrived in London after it was carried around England in a relay of torchbearers to make its way to the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 27, 2012. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

British Royal Marine Martyn Williams, right, rappels down from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter into the Tower of London with the Olympic torch, Friday, July 20, 2012, in London. The Olympic Torch arrived in London after it was carried around England in a relay of torchbearers to make its way to the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony on July 27, 2012.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

(CBS News) Need a room for the London 2012 Olympics? Perhaps, like thousands of visitors, you should try Airbnb - the match-making service for vacation rentals.

According to a recent report by Bloomberg, the service has booked 4,500 vacation rentals in London over the next three weeks, which is three times the average for the city.

Much of Airbnb's success in London could be that the company purchased its competitor, Crashpadder, months ahead of the Olympic Games. Because of the acquisition, Airbnb has added over 6,000 properties in London, a spokesperson for the company told CBS News.

The scramble to find housing for the London Olympics has sprouted several off-beat solutions. One London taxi driver is renting out his cab for 50 pounds ($78) a night.

Accommodations in London can range anywhere from $22 per night for a room to over $6,000 per night for an apartment. But Airbnb says they have over 2,000 available rooms that are within walking distance to the Olympic stadium for under $200.

What's good for Airbnb may not be good for hotels. Of 140,000 hotel rooms in London, tens of thousands are vacant, reports the German news magazine Der Spiegel. Oddly enough, luxury hotels are fully booked.

Airbnb has over 200,000 listings in 192 countries. The London 2012 Olympics runs from July 27 to August 12.

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