Tiny Houses: The Big News in Sports Accommodations | Sports Destination Management

Tiny Houses: The Big News in Sports Accommodations

Feb 21, 2018 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher

From glamping to Airbnb, large-scale sports events are getting increasingly creative when it comes to attracting attendees to come, stay and spend.

Harnessing the trend of the tiny house is Indianapolis Motor Speedway, currently gearing up for the Indy 500. Those who want to be present for the all-American rite of passage to spring have the option to try several option in lodging, one of which is the tiny house. Or perhaps it's more accurate to say they would have, had the tiny houses not sold out in a very short time.

Installing pop-up tiny houses at Indy is a unique (and even genius) marketing method for the spartan lifestyle afforded by the small house movement. And it’s well-suited to those who want to travel to sports events for multiple reasons:

  • Travelers are already living with a limited number of options when it comes to clothing and personal items, so the possibility of cluttering up the space with belongings is lessened;
  • Those who are attending sports events are in general ready to spend the day outside the accommodations; therefore, a small space isn’t as much of a drawback as it might be in a situation where the person is expected to spend larger amounts of time in the guest space;
  • It’s an option that could appeal to those who aren’t comfortable with camping (or even glamping);
  • It appeals to those interested in sustainability (which is becoming a bigger buzzword in sports events all the time);
  • It has Millennial appeal and cache.
  • It makes for excellent social media exposure.

The Indy 500 isn’t the first time a sports tie-in has been used to sway visitors to the tiny house lifestyle. In 2015, the United States Air Force set up a Tiny House Jamboree in the parking lot of Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, with multiple 200-square-foot houses and vendors dedicated to sustainable living. Event organizers estimated that 10,000 people would come through the gates over a three-day period; however, the so-called 'tiny' event received an estimated 40,000 people and the city of Colorado Springs received tiny house enthusiasts from all 50 states and seven countries. In fact, the event was so successful, it became an annual event, and is now headed into its fourth year.

The Tiny House Hotel provides a new, innovative and boutique style of on-site accommodation for race attendees looking for a unique opportunity.

“We’re always looking to provide unique experiences for our guests, and the Tiny House Hotel is an exciting new offering in May during the Indianapolis 500,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “This hotel may be tiny, but it will be big in luxury, amenities and fun for fans looking for a race weekend they’ll always remember.” 

At the Indy 500, each pint-sized accommodation space will be packed with amenities, including a compact kitchen with high-end finishes, a modern bathroom, air conditioning, sleeping quarters and more. Interested fans can select from a mix of several different houses with varying layouts and options.

In all, a total of 15 tiny house spots will be located at IMS for Race Weekend. The houses will be on the track’s property from Thursday, May 24 until Monday, May 28. Guests receive a package deal on the houses, including four general admission tickets to the race, on site parking, a private concierge service and more. The total cost for the weekend to those who purchased was $3,000.

Given the demand, count on seeing more tiny houses at Indy -- and elsewhere -- in years to come.

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