In partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Airbnb is introducing the next edition of Airbnb500 and giving eligible athletes competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 a $500 travel grant to honour their incredible efforts and accomplishments.
While much of the world is still adapting to remote work and nomadic living, athletes have long been familiar with frequent travel and have mastered feeling at home in any corner of the world. With support for athletes at the core of this partnership, Airbnb and the IOC hope to further celebrate athletes by offering them the chance to recharge and recuperate, explore a bucket list destination or keep up their training regimen from anywhere in the world.
As options for living and working anywhere have started to catch up with athletes’ needs, many are enjoying the comforts of staying with Airbnb Hosts no matter where they’re competing, training or enjoying much deserved time off. In 2021, more than 7,000 athletes received the Airbnb500 grant following Tokyo 2020, booking stays in Sweden, Malta, Italy and beyond. Their experiences underscore the power of a celebratory getaway:
Olympian couple Dora Lucz of Hungary and Tom Liebscher of Germany, who both competed in canoe at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, were able to fully relax during their off days while in Sicily.
“It was just perfect – the kind Airbnb Hosts, the wonderful places we visited, the mostly sunny weather… I am very glad we had this opportunity.”
Dora Lucz, Olympian
Also Argentinian Paralympic Athlete Brian Lionel Impellizzeri, who took the silver for the long jump in Tokyo, used the Airbnb500 grant for a recovery-focused holiday a few meters from the sea in San Clemente del Tuyú in Argentina.
“I recommend that all athletes should take advantage of the Airbnb500 grant and enjoy recovery following their competitions.”
Brian Lionel Impellizzeri, Paralympian
While many athletes used the travel grant for relaxing and recovering, others used it for training.
Staying in a home enables athletes to retain some of the comforts of their home turf – like a kitchen for making nutritious meals, space to train and relax, privacy and social distance from shared public spaces. Thanks to Airbnb accessibility filters, Paralympic athletes are able to search for a wide range of features – like step-free homes, or wide entryways – making it easier for them to find accommodations that meet their needs.
“I’ve used the Airbnb500 travel grant in Lanzarote for the first training camp after the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. With the help of Airbnb it’s possible to stay in this nice, little apartment. In times of the pandemic I feel better to be by myself and not in a big hotel.”
Vico Merklein, Paralympian
Booking a home or condo has also enabled athletes to bring their biggest supporters – their friends and family – along for competitions, and for many the grant came in handy for last-minute travel needs.
“The last five hard years of training for Tokyo were intense, with travel restricted and no time off. I was able to use my grant to take time off in Malta to unwind following a competition, and booked a ski get-together with family and friends. It’s so meaningful to get to spend this time with my biggest supporters after having to be apart for so long.”
Samantha Smith, Olympian
Applications will open on January 23, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. CET on Athlete365 for eligible athletes competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 to redeem their travel grant. The Airbnb500 travel grant can be used towards Stays and/or Experiences and expires 12 months after the date of issuance. To learn more about how the Airbnb500 travel grant works and the additional terms that apply, see the Airbnb500 FAQs.
Airbnb500 is just one of the initiatives promoted by Airbnb together with the IOC to support athletes. In an effort to offer extra financial support to athletes who might need it the most, in April 2021 Airbnb launched the Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant, a 9-year program that offers up to 500 athletes a year a USD $2,000 Airbnb promotional travel grant to use for training, qualification, and other travel accommodations.