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Ole Miss student’s business connects football fans to homes




OXFORD – If you’re thinking about renting your home to fans during football season to make extra cash, a University of Mississippi junior business major has created a company to help.

Max Burke, 23, is helping local residents make extra money renting their homes to football fans when the Ole Miss Rebels play through his company, College Town Connections.

CTC utilizes the Airbnb platform to list houses available for rent during football weekends and other events in Oxford throughout the year. For a 10 percent fee, CTC will clean, take photos and find customers for local homeowners and renters.

Additionally, CTC will cater to these customers and make sure their time spent in Oxford is as enjoyable as possible. Services required varies by customer, and may include things such as providing an additional mattress to recommending great local food.

Burke said College Town Connections has experienced growth in 2016. With about two months left, “Revenue has tripled from a year ago,” he said. He credits some growth to his growing list of services and customer base.

New for this year, CTC offers tailgating packages. For $200, ($250 for SEC games), visitors can buy a basic package that includes a tent in the Grove. With catering options, the price varies between $375 and $450.

Originally born in England, Burke moved to the United States during grade school. His earliest memories include playing at the park with neighbors and building forts as a young boy.

After moving to Tampa, Florida, Burke enjoyed watching and playing sports. He began working at a smoothie shop and a jewelry store called Diamond Source, where he learned how to handle customers with respect and learned customer service skills he would later use running his business.

From idea to reality

Burke got the idea for CTC when he moved to Oxford in 2014. His roommate suggested that they rent out their house during football weekends.

At first, Burke was unsure how he felt about letting strangers sleep in his bed, but after weighing everything, he decided it was worth trying. He said he “realized the need for a professional company that would do some of the work required to make a home rentable.”

A year and a half later, Burke is doing everything he can to grow his business. He has used experience and education to help rent homes in Oxford.

“I have first-hand experience in every aspect of my business,” he said. “This gives me confidence that I can open satellite locations in other college towns.”

One customer, Margaret Bell, said she is grateful and thankful she connected with Burke. After thinking it over for years, she decided to rent her home during football weekends in 2015.

At that time, she heard of CTC through word of mouth and gave Burke a call.

“I didn’t know all of the rules and regulations,” Bell said, “so I felt more comfortable letting a business handle everything.”

Although there is still a risk of something going wrong, she said the loss would only be material and could be replaced.

“I pray nothing goes bad,” she said, “but if it does, I know Max will help me through it.”

Going into her second year, she said she is happy with the business arrangement and would recommend CTC to a friend.

Burke said the biggest issue he faces is putting people in a place where they will be most comfortable. This can be challenging at times, but he does his best to match needs of his clientele.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal is partnering with Oxford Stories, an online news site created by journalism students at the University of Mississippi, to publish stories and photos from reporters, writers and photographers that are students in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media program.”



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