Airbnb's Olympics Push Could Help it Win Over Paris


Short-term rentals can function as a quick release valve for a city expecting an influx of visitors, increasing capacity for a short time nearly instantly. In fact, despite the usual hype around the Olympic Games, there are still many places to stay in Paris this summer.

A search on Airbnb for a two-person stay during the first weekend of the games returned more than 1,000 results, with many charging less than $200 a night. A search for hotel rooms on Expedia only turned up about 20 hotels offering similarly low rates. Hotel prices for the dates of the Olympics have actually fallen in Paris since December, but remain higher than the same time last summer, with the average cost of a hotel room during the opening weekend of the games going for around 440 euros as of May.

Booking rates for short-term rentals during the Olympics are up by 8 percent compared to the dates two weeks before the games across all locations hosting Olympic events, but the number of available rooms has increased by 38 percent, according to AirDNA, a third party platform that tracks short-term rentals.

The average price in Paris for a short-term rental during the Olympics is $481 a night, while those who booked earlier paid an average of $350. Outside of Paris, rates average $289, up from a previous $198. The “vast majority” of these listings on Airbnb, says Stephenson, come from families listing their primary homes. But other Parisians are begging travelers to stay away, warning that the games will bring chaos to the city, and some are planning to flee the city.

People from more than 160 countries and regions have booked stays on Airbnb for the Olympics, according to the company. The largest influx of tourists comes from the US, with American travelers making up 20 percent of the bookings, with many other guests coming from the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Against that background, and with Airbnb’s marketing push, Jamie Lane, chief economist and senior vice president of research of AirDNA, says it makes sense that more people are signing up with Airbnb to host. “Everyone starts getting Olympic fever,” he says, especially “with Airbnb doing more and more ads and market outreach within the city of Paris.”

Despite the flood of visitors, the ready availability of vacancies suggests that like many athletes competinging in Paris, some Airbnb hosts will end the games with disappointment as their listings remained unbooked. But Lane says that in the past large events have been seen to provide a lasting boost to Airbnb’s footprint in a place. “A city is left with more listings than it had going in,” Lane says. For “people that maybe decide to do it for the first time, it ends up being a good experience. It was very little work. They think: ‘I should do this again.’”



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