Airbnb prices spiking in Cleveland ahead of RNC


The average price of an Airbnb listing in the Cleveland area is spiking for the four days when the city will host the Republican National Convention (RNC) this summer.

The average nightly rate for an Airbnb listing in the default geographical search range generated for Cleveland was $988 for July 18 through 21, the dates of the convention, as of Friday. That was much higher than the average listing prices for comparable periods in the previous eight weeks, which averaged out to $302, or for the same period in the following eight weeks, $264.

{mosads}The analysis was based on average nightly prices generated by Airbnb’s search tool when looking up accommodations fitting at least one person for the default search area for each city. Users can change the geographic area of their search, which in turn changes the average listing price. Other filters were not used in the searches.

In Philadelphia, which will host the Democratic National Convention (DNC) a week later, the average prices appear to be holding steady. Airbnb currently lists an average price of $258 per night for July 25 through 28, when the convention will be held at the city’s Wells Fargo Center. The average for comparable periods in the prior eight weeks was $231, while the average for the eight following weeks was $225.

Residents in both cities are advertising their Airbnb listings directly to attendees at the two conventions. Several Airbnb users in Cleveland mention the convention in their listing title, and one man clarified while listing his condominium that it “is available for RNC only.”

Whether people will be willing to pay the advertised rates remains to be seen. Airbnb hosts set their own nightly rate, so some could be setting high prices because of the hype surrounding the convention. Prices could drop as the convention dates approach.

Something similar happened when the Super Bowl came to the Bay Area this year, according to Wired. Eager homeowners flooded the market with listings, but they were far from fully occupied as the big game approached.

Both parties expect around 50,000 people to attend the nominating conventions, with that total including delegates, political officials and members of the media.

Uber has been working to promote Airbnb-friendly policies in both cities.

“I think this is a really great example of the way that we can partner with cities to provide the elasticity that is necessary during large events to accommodate big crowds,” said Christopher Nulty, a spokesperson for Airbnb. “We think this is the way, when a city hosts a big event, it can be a win-win-win for everyone.”

The company praised Philadelphia when it passed pro-home sharing laws last year.

“What makes this change particularly exciting is that Philadelphia will soon be host to both Pope Francis and the Democratic National Convention,” the company said at the time. “By opening its doors to short-term home rentals, the city is allowing more guests, more local spending, and more taxes to flow into Philadelphia.”

Airbnb also recently started collecting and remitting hotel taxes to Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located.

The company is not a stranger to political conventions. In 2008, the founders of the startup used the DNC in Denver to attract coverage and customers.


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