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Good luck if you need a room in Cleveland this week

Cleveland convention hats are sold downtown on July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Cleveland convention hats are sold downtown on July 17, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Latecomers to this week's Republican National Convention still can book hotel rooms in Cleveland, but it will cost them.

About 50,000 out-of-towners are expected to attend the GOP convention this week, including delegates, protesters and the media, according to Destination Cleveland, the local tourism board.

"This is an unprecedented event for Cleveland," said Emily Lauer, senior director of communications at Destination Cleveland and the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee.

Sure, the Cleveland Cavaliers' national championship parade and rally in June drew more than 1.3 million to downtown, though more were from northern Ohio than anywhere else. Cleveland has not seen this many out-of-towners since it hosted the 2014 Gay Games when competition brought in more than 20,000 athletes and fans.

The city has about 22,000 hotel rooms available and 16,700 of those are reserved for the GOP convention block.

"I don't know if you can find many hotel rooms that aren't 35 miles to 50 miles from downtown Cleveland," Lauer said.

It's top dollar for hotels

Hotel rooms in Cleveland are scarce and demanding top dollar.

Single rooms with king-sized beds at the Red Roof Inn by Cleveland's airport were priced more than $270 per night for the week of the convention, according to Booking.com. Slightly swankier accommodations at the University Hotel & Suites, less than two miles from downtown, offered standard rooms at $700 per night on Hotel.com this week.

Last-minute luxury travelers will be out of luck at the town's fanciest digs.The Ritz-Carlton, the Kimpton Schofield Hotel and the Metropolitan at the 9 are booked solid for the convention.

Room sharing runs the gamut

Conventioneers still have plenty of options on Airbnb, an apartment- and room-sharing website.

More than 1,900 people will stay at Airbnb listings in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention, which is nearly a fourfold increase in volume from earlier in the summer, according to Airbnb. You can rent a "Luxury Downtown Cleveland Apartment" for $2,500 or a futon at "Kevs apartment" for $110 per night.

Airbnb demand appears higher for the Democratic convention in Philadelphia next week. The company expects more than 5,200 people to seek accommodations at places listed on Airbnb.

In Cleveland, the adventurous may be able to find rooms on the free classified site Craigslist, though some residents have set their prices sky-high.

For example, owners of a five-bedroom house in Olmsted Falls, a 30-minute drive to downtown Cleveland, are advertising their home to be rented out for $1,400 during the convention.

Regardless of where conventioneers can find rooms, the event should be an economic boon to Cleveland and its residents.

"There have been 30 to 40 years of jokes about Cleveland," Lauer said. "Now the narrative is changing."