Airbnb and the 2017 Presidential Inauguration

Airbnb’s Biggest Night in Nation’s Capital

As Airbnb looks ahead to creating new milestones in 2017 — around unique travel experiences and its growing host and guest community — thousands of U.S. residents are flocking to the platform to make their 2017 Presidential Inauguration plans.

Airbnb guest arrivals for the Presidential Inauguration were initially projected to reach 10,000 and bring in over $3.5 million in earnings to DC-area hosts.  

Today, more than 15,100 guests arrivals are booked for this three-day period, with 13,000-plus guests booked for the evening of January 20, 2017 — representing the biggest night ever for Airbnb arrivals in the District of Columbia.

These bookings represent an increase of 800 percent since Election Day 2016 and are estimated to bring over $10 million in economic impact to Washington, DC, and surrounding parts of Maryland and Northern Virginia.

And at a time when advances in technology are increasingly changing the way we meet, work, and interact, Airbnb is bringing people together from various backgrounds, investing in unique in-person experiences, and providing real economic opportunities for families.

Like Super Bowl 50 and the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, many 2017 Inauguration hosts and guests will use home sharing for the first time — giving more middle-class residents an avenue to earn extra income in a new and exciting way, and allowing travelers to experience the nation’s capital in a more authentic and affordable fashion.

The following report provides an update on the positive economic impact the Airbnb community will have during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, the connections home sharing creates between diverse groups, and the ways Airbnb can support cities playing host to big events.

Summary of Key Findings

  • Over 13,000 guests are booked at Airbnb listings in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for Inauguration Day — ten times as many guest arrivals as we experienced during Inauguration Day in 2013 and the biggest night ever for Airbnb arrivals in the District of Columbia.
  • Between January 19 and 21, 2017, more than 15,100 guest arrivals will occur in the DC-area via Airbnb.
  • Of the 5,200 listings currently booked for Inauguration Day, 25% are from first-time hosts.
  • Fewer than 10% of all booked listings have increased their price from four weeks ago. The typical price increase for a booked listing is about $30 per night which is in stark contrast to local hotel rates that have doubled or are ten times their original price.
  • Airbnb offers an affordable way to visit the nation’s capital. For reservations spanning Inauguration weekend, the typical price of Airbnb bookings is $129 per night, a median rate that is especially reasonable when compared with some current hotel rates.
  • DC-area hosts will earn over $5.9 million from reservations during the Inauguration. This earnings estimate is more than 10 times higher than the same time in 2013.
  • Airbnb guests are projected to spend $4.7 million at DC-area restaurants, retailers, cafes and more.
  • Current bookings show New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Portland, Philadelphia and Oakland as the top cities of origin for guests.
  • Many of these guests will stay in areas and neighborhoods that don’t typically see significant tourism revenue during major events. The top DC-area neighborhoods for Inauguration bookings include Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights, the H Street Corridor, Shaw and Adams Morgan.

Over $10 Million in Economic Activity for DC-area

With over 15,100 guest arrivals already booked, Inauguration guests will bring significant income to new and long-time Airbnb hosts and the Washington, DC-area communities they call home.  

In fact, of the over 5,200 DC-area listings currently booked for Inauguration Day, 25% are from first-time DC-area hosts:  

Percentage of hosts who rent out their primary residence:87%
Number of nights the typical Seattle listing was rented in 2015:80 nights
Number of guests the typical Seattle listing hosted over the course of 2015:40 guests

We also project that Airbnb hosts in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and surrounding parts of Maryland will earn over $5.9 million in income from reservations that span inauguration weekend — 10 times more than the 2013 Inauguration.

These significant economic benefits for hosts across the DC metro area don’t include the additional sums that Airbnb guests are expected to spend at local shops, restaurants, and other businesses. In Washington, DC, the average Airbnb guest in 2016 spent $146 per day, per person, at local establishments in the surrounding community (not including money spent on their Airbnb reservations).

Inauguration guests are expected to spend over $4.7 million during their stay in the metro area — combined with earnings from Airbnb hosts during this time period, the DC-area is expected garner over $10 million in economic activity from the Airbnb community.

DC Host Opens Home to Diverse Array of Guests

One of the unique things Jade Moore and her daughter ask of their Airbnb visitors is to sign the designated “guest door” before departing their Anacostia home. It’s a unique way for them to remember each of their guests and where they came from.

“They typically write a lovely message to us, sometimes in their language, along with the city and country they’re from. This always brings us joy, because it also serves as a geography lesson to my daughter. She will ask the guests questions about where they’re from and they find it on our large map that is posted on the wall next to our signature door. Sometime our guests bring us gifts from their country, like keychains, postcards, coffee, and candy.”

A resident of Washington, D.C. for close to two decades, Ms. Moore originally moved to Anacostia six years ago because of the neighborhood’s unique culture, background and beautiful, one-of-a-kind homes.

After her marriage ended, she and her daughter wanted to make their stay in the historic East of the River enclave permanent by purchasing a house — but knew they would need more financial support for the mortgage and to make routine home repairs.

“At first I did it to bring in supplemental income, realizing that my daughter and I would be on our own in this huge new home,” said Moore about her decision to home share via Airbnb.

“My first time hosting on Airbnb was four months after we settled in. We had three college students that came to Washington, DC for their 2015 spring break, and I was utterly amazed, as these women were from China, and English was their second language, but that did not deter them from anything here in the District.”

She recalled the bravery, navigation skills, and tenacity her first guests displayed as they made their way to all of the DC landmarks and major shopping centers.

While Moore regularly provides her guests with any information they may need to tour the city — from brochures and to Metro SmartTrip® cards — she’s always surprised by how most Airbnb guests have no fear, no reservations or preconceived thoughts about exploring Anacostia and the nation’s capitol overall.  

For the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, Moore and her daughter will host an array of travelers across different age groups and backgrounds — from Dallas, Tex.; Davidson, NC; and Kokomo, Ind. Two of her guests will attend the official Presidential Inauguration events, and she plans to join her other Airbnb visitors at the Women’s March on Washington.

Nearly two years of home sharing has allowed Moore to host global travelers for other major events, including two Cherry Blossom Festivals and the grand opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall. She expects the inaugural events will bring a similar sense of belonging and community.

“I’m actually looking forward to having a house full of diverse company, and breaking bread with the guests in my kitchen. Whether that be over wine, food, or water, all depends on them and what they like. I enjoy getting to know new people and hearing about their story and this is one way that we’re able to do that.”

A Record Number of DC-area Guests

During the festivities of the 2017 Inauguration, over 15,100 guest arrivals will occur at Airbnb listings in the Washington, DC area between January 19th and 21st. This is more than eleven times the number of guest arrivals during the same three-day time period in 2013.

Compared to the guest arrivals booked for the surrounding weekends — 4,500 booked for the previous weekend and 2,200 booked the following weekend — bookings for the 2017 Inauguration are an increase of over 235% and over 586%, respectively.

With over 13,000 guests booked, Inauguration Day 2017 itself will be the biggest single night ever for Airbnb in the District of Columbia.

The current record night for local guest arrivals — 8,100 — was set on October 8, 2016 as a result of Game 2 in the Washington Nationals’ playoff series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  

Many of these guests would not have otherwise traveled: 35% of the people who travel on Airbnb say they would have stayed home or would not have stayed as long but for Airbnb.

Making the Inauguration Affordable for Visitors

Airbnb democratizes travel. For families who want to attend the 2017 Presidential Inauguration without breaking the bank, Airbnb offers an affordable way to stay in and around the nation’s capital.

Fewer than 10% of the 5,200 listings booked for the 2017 Inauguration have increased their prices from four weeks ago, and the typical price increase for a booked listing is about $30 per night.

For reservations spanning Inauguration weekend, the median price of Airbnb bookings is $129 per night in Washington, DC.

US City Airbnb-supported jobs
New York City 26,000
Los Angeles14,800
San Francisco5,300
New Orleans4,900
San Diego4,300

These rates are especially reasonable when compared with reported hotel rates ranging from $335 per night for a room with a shared bathroom—more than double the usual rate—to a high of $12,000 per night for a presidential suite. Rooms at the historic Watergate start at $995 per night, and many hotels require a three-, four- or five-night minimum.

Helping DC Accommodate More Visitors

Since February 2015, Airbnb’s host and guest community have contributed over $12 million in hotel and occupancy taxes to the District of Columbia. In addition to bringing increased tourism and tax revenue, Airbnb is an important option for cities and other communities looking to expand their ability to host major events.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to travel to the Washington, DC area for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, and Airbnb hosts and their listings add much-needed capacity for cities expecting an influx of visitors for whom they may not otherwise have enough accommodations. In fact, both Philadelphia and Cleveland enacted their current home sharing rules in advance of hosting the 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential conventions, respectively.

During Inauguration weekend, Airbnb guests will be staying in over 5,200 different listings across the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and surrounding parts of Maryland.

And many of these guests will stay in areas and neighborhoods that don’t typically see significant tourism revenue during major events. In most cities, over 75 percent of Airbnb listings are outside the main hotel districts. For the 2017 Inauguration, the following are the top DC-area neighborhoods for guest bookings:

  • Capitol Hill
  • Near Northeast/H Street Corridor
  • Columbia Heights
  • Shaw
  • Adams Morgan
  • DuPont Circle
  • Logan Circle
  • U Street Corridor
  • Petworth
  • Bloomingdale

Airbnb Hosts Making Valuable Income

Across the region, hosts will make significant income from their Inauguration reservations. Most Airbnb hosts share the homes in which they live and use the money they earn to get by.

At a time when economic inequality is one of the biggest challenges facing US cities, this income can be a valuable financial lifeline for families. According to a report by former White House National Economic Advisor and Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, the typical middle-income host in the United States can earn the equivalent of a 14-percent annual raise sharing the home in which they live. The report also noted that the majority of Airbnb hosts are working families who rent out their primary residences.

Seventy-four percent of Airbnb hosts say hosting helps them pay their bills, and 50 percent of Airbnb hosts are low or middle income. The typical Airbnb reservation spanning Inauguration weekend will be for three nights and bring $650 in extra income to a DC-area host.

Of the over $5.9 million in total earnings DC-area hosts are expected to make during the Inauguration, this revenue will create economic opportunities for families across all eight wards of the District, along with households in surrounding parts of Virginia and Maryland.

Inauguration Attendees from Across the Country

Many of the over 15,100 Airbnb guests traveling to the Washington, DC area will be attending the Presidential Inauguration for the first time. These visitors will range from the very young (age 0-3) to long-time voters age 60 and older.

For events like this, Airbnb has been a boon for traveling families. More than 350,000 homes across the United States are now labeled by our hosts as being family-friendly — a number that has increased nearly 80% in the past year.

Additionally, based on rates in five of the most popular family vacation destinations in the US, families could save an average of $131 per day on family-sized accommodations by booking a home on Airbnb.

For the 2017 Inauguration, the following are the top cities of origin for guest arrivals:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Chicago
  • Seattle
  • Boston
  • Portland
  • Philadelphia
  • Oakland
  • Atlanta
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