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|Gordon Sutton, Founder|
CollegeWeekends.com is a company based out of Charlottesville, Virginia, United States. It provides a web platform for connecting visitors of college towns with short-term and vacation rental properties. It also serves as directory for local businesses that want to market themselves to the university community. Certain college towns have traditionally been plagued by a lack of accommodations on big weekends like graduation and football games. A lot of big state schools, such as the University of Virginia, University of Georgia, and Ole Miss are in small towns where the University population accounts for fifty percent or more of the town’s population. Hotel rooms in these towns book up a year in advance for these big events and visitors are forced to stay in neighboring towns as far as an hour away. It does not make sense for developers to build more hotels because this problem is only relevant six to ten weekends a year which does not justify the capital investment for a hotel.
Another circumstance of these big weekends is that local residents are inconvenienced by the hordes of people that flock to their city on these weekends. Traffic and parking get so bad that most locals refuse to leave their house and are essentially held captive in their own homes. CollegeWeekends.com’s website allows these residents to rent their property and get out of town while providing accommodation to visitors who otherwise would be forced to stay out of town.
CollegeWeekends.com was founded in 2004 in Charlottesville, Virginia by Gordon Sutton. At first the site and concept were thoroughly tested in Charlottesville, VA. While growing up in Charlottesville, and attending the University of Virginia, sutton witnessed firsthand the lack of accommodations in Charlottesville. Sutton went on to the University of Colorado in Boulder to get his MBA and used the business model as his primary research project. In 2009, CollegeWeekends.com launched a new website and started taking on new markets. They now serve 17 markets and 12 states.
This concept provides an avenue of substantial financial relief to home owners who are financially stressed as a result of the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 and the subsequent crash in real estate values that has been plaguing the country. Gordon Sutton the company’s founder is quoted as saying "There are a lot of people that, unfortunately, are financially stressed with mortgage payments," says Sutton. "This is a really great option for these people to rent their property out."
- "Athens hotels full for graduation weekend", Katherine Hall, RedandBlack.com, April 18, 2000
- "The American College Town", Blake Gumprecht
- "Living inside a cash cow?", Courtney Stuart, The Hook, August 13, 2009.
- "Virginia graduate banking on market for college getaways", Jason Bacaj, The Daily Progress, June 27, 2009
- "Web site lets owners turn homes into hotels", Brittany Anas, The Daily Camera, August 9, 2009.