Nearly 10 years ago, Airbnb got our start when traditional hotel options were booked solid, leaving conference-goers without any options for lodging.
Today, Airbnb has grown into a platform that connects hosts and guests around the world. To date, more than 200 million guests have arrived at more than 4 million listings globally. The Airbnb community has been uniquely positioned to help cities use their existing spaces to scale accommodations for big events from the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia in 2015, to 2016’s European football championships in France, Rio Games, and Cop 21 summit in Paris, to this year’s Super Bowl 51. Looking ahead, we can provide even more accommodation options in Paris and Los Angeles during the Games in 2024 and 2028, respectively.
Airbnb is already hard at work helping hosts prepare to welcome the world in Pyeongchang in 2018, Tokyo in 2020, and Beijing in 2022. Now, as the world formally celebrates the Games being awarded to Paris and Los Angeles, this report details how the Airbnb community can help accommodate guests in unique options near the geographically diverse venues that will play host to the Games.
When communities across the world are given the opportunity to host large-scale events, Airbnb provides an alternative lodging option that doesn’t require the build-out of new, expensive hotels that will stand empty after these events have ended. While the Paris and Los Angeles Games are still years away, thousands of listings already are available in close proximity to the proposed venues, providing guests with affordable, more sustainable options across both cities, and providing host communities with greater opportunity to realize economic returns.
Our partnerships with communities hosting major events don’t end simply with providing the listings. We help prepare hosts to receive travelers with hospitality education and tools, as well as information about the event and how to direct guests. Even as our community grows in anticipation of an event, we help prepare them to help their visitors belong anywhere.
And while the traditional tourism industry adopts greener practices, Airbnb’s growth actually has been driven, in part, by interest in home sharing as a sustainable option for travel: 72 percent of Airbnb guests say the environmental benefits of home sharing were of at least some importance in their choice of Airbnb.
This report details Airbnb’s successful history of expanding the accommodation options and economic rewards for communities hosting big events.
Part One: Paris and Los Angeles — Listings near venues and opportunities for hosts
Currently home to 86,000 hosts, the Paris region has received over 2.5 million inbound guests arrivals from August 2016 to August 2017, and we know these numbers will only increase as the Paris games draw near. The same is true for Los Angeles, which has roughly 17,000 hosts and has welcomed 1.25 million visitors during the same period.
This existing and growing network of hosts has the potential to provide guests visiting Paris and Los Angeles with lodging options that are outside of traditional tourist and hotel districts and near venues that lie beyond city centers.
Many of the main venues during the Paris games will be situated outside the city center, particularly in Seine-Saint-Denis, where more than 4,000 hosts are currently welcoming travelers from all over the world. The same is true of the proposed Los Angeles venues, which will be located throughout the LA region including on the coast, downtown, and along the northern, eastern and southern edges of Los Angeles County. When the crowds arrive in France and Southern California, Airbnb can help spread tourism dollars to regions beyond the city centers and typical tourist destinations to communities that need it the most.
Maps of Airbnb listings near Games
2016 Rio Games
As the official alternative accommodations supplier of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Airbnb hosts welcomed 85,000 guests and helped provide anyone who wanted to see and experience the Games with a place to stay, even at the last minute, and within a price range that fit all budgets. A World Economic Forum study conducted with MIT found that Rio would have had to build 257 hotels to accommodate the guests who visited the city to attend the Games.
Because Airbnb allowed new and existing hosts to open their homes for travelers, more Brazilians attending the Games stayed at rental homes than stayed at hotels, which helped generate $100 million in economic activity for the city and an estimated $30 million in supplemental income for hosts.
Also during the 2016 Rio Games, we partnered with the UN Environment Programme to share sustainable tourism tips with the Airbnb community and to promote UNEP’s “Green Passport” campaign.
In contrast, expensive hotels built to accommodate visitors have had long-term impacts on the city. The head of the Rio hotel industry association said that the hotel capacity rose from 29,000 rooms in 2009 to 56,000 rooms in 2016 – nearly doubling in the years leading up to the Games. However, a year after the Games concluded in Brazil, the occupancy rate hovered around just 37 percent even as the hotels continue to require power, water and other financial and environmental costs.
Part Two: Airbnb and other big events
Consumers are all too used to to being charged exorbitant rates for hotel rooms when traveling for a big event or during a popular weekend or holiday. Today, Airbnb offers consumers a more affordable option that benefits hosts, guests and the communities where they live and visit. Throughout Airbnb’s history, our community has helped cities welcome more guests when big events come to town and brought tourists and their spending power to communities historically less frequented by tourists. With roughly three-quarters of our listings located outside traditional tourist districts, our guests can experience the diverse homes and neighborhoods that make these destinations great. This section of the report details how Airbnb has helped communities host big events in previous years.
2016 European football championships in France
Airbnb European hosts regularly show their ability to mobilize quickly in order to accommodate extra visitors during culturally important events. During the 2016 European football championship in France, which took place over a month’s time across 10 different cities, the Airbnb community accommodated 340,000 visitors.
In the city of Marseille alone, where six games (including two playoff games) occurred, 57,000 guests stayed at Airbnb listings during the matches, boosting the volume of Airbnb guests in the city by 60 percent from 2015 to 2016.
In the days before the final match on July 10, Airbnb guest arrivals quadrupled in comparison to the year before in Saint Denis where the final game occurred. Situated just outside of Paris, Saint-Denis will be home to many events in the 2024 Games.
Total solar eclipse
In August 2017, Airbnb was able to offer unique housing opportunities for tens of thousands of people from all across the globe who traveled to the US to see the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse. Travelers flocked to cities and towns within the 70 mile-wide “path of totality” extending from South Carolina to Oregon, and more than 52,000 guests used Airbnb in order to catch the event. As many of the best places to see the eclipse were outside of urban centers, would-be eclipse viewers had very few options for affordable hotel lodging due to limited inventory and a significant rise in prices for rooms on the night before the eclipse.
In the weeks leading up to the eclipse, hotels with a typical nightly rate of $130 were charging upwards of $1,000 and cancelling reservations that had been made months and years in advance. Airbnb provided a lower-cost alternative that connected people to smaller communities which benefitted from tourist spending in cafes, restaurants and shops while also allowing viewers to catch a glimpse of a rare natural phenomenon.
Hosts in the path of totality earned roughly $11 million in meaningful supplemental income to help them pay bills, save for a rainy day, or take a vacation themselves. While many of the hosts who welcomed guests for the eclipse had hosted before, 49 percent of hosts nationally were hosting for the first time; 88 percent of hosts in Oregon were first-time hosts.
Super Bowl 51
As in the small cities and towns where people stayed to see the total solar eclipse, Airbnb can provide big cities with a dynamic supply of accommodations that help when big events come to town.
In 2017, when Houston hosted Super Bowl 51, 50 percent of hosts opened their homes through Airbnb for the first time, significantly increasing the lodging capacity in the Houston area and allowing visitors a more affordable option when traveling.
The typical price of booked listings was roughly $150 per night, and for listings within a five-mile radius of the stadium, the typical price was $200 per night. Compared to hotel rates in the same region, Airbnb remained a reasonable option for those looking to attend the game.
During the week of the big game, Airbnb guests generated roughly $6 million in economic activity for the Houston area, including $4 million in host income, and came from over 900 cities around the world.
Paris 2016 Fashion Week and Lyon Festival of Lights
The local host communities have also helped to boost accommodation availability during big events in France. During the 2016 Paris Fashion Week, 40,000 guests stayed in listings on AIrbnb throughout the Paris region, roughly 10,000 more guests than an average September week.
During Lyon’s last Festival of Lights, which ran from December 8-11, 2016, more than 11,000 Airbnb guests stayed in Lyon, which is four times the number of Airbnb guests in the region on an average night in the same period of the year.
As preparations for the Paris and Los Angeles Games begin, Airbnb is excited about the opportunity to work with local jurisdictions to help them leverage travel that benefits local neighborhoods and businesses and ensures successful Games in both 2024 and 2028.
Existing Airbnb listings highlight the enormous potential that lies within Paris and Los Angeles to provide spectators with the opportunity to witness incredible sporting events in two of the world’s most iconic cities in a more affordable, more sustainable, more authentic and more flexible manner.