How Google I/O impacts Airbnb Availability

by Ian McHenry
Tuesday, June 24 2014

As anyone living or working in SoMa or downtown San Francisco knows, conferences at Moscone bring a flood of visitors to town. And, as any conference attendee knows, these events cause hotel prices to shoot through the roof.

For example, here is how rates at some popular hotels were affected by Google I/O:

Hotel June 24th June 25th
Westin St. Francis Sold Out +174%
The W +164% +164%
Marriott Marquis Sold Out Sold Out
Hilton Union Square Sold Out Sold Out

Hotels dynamically adjust room prices in the same way that Uber increases rates during periods of peak demand. But how should Airbnb listings respond to big events like Google I/O?

Pricing Airbnbs during Conferences

The graph below shows a sample of available units on Airbnb in June.

Number of available units near Moscone Center

Two major events in the last few weeks caused big dips in available units.

This week, Google I/O will bring around 5,000 attendees. But earlier in the month, the less known American Diabetes Association meeting actually brought close to 10,000 attendees and had a bigger impact. Over the course of the year, dozens of conferences at Moscone have a dramatic impact on Airbnb availability.

So what does this mean for the price of Airbnbs? Even a savvy host may not be aware of all the events that increase demand room rentals, or know how to maximize their pricing for these periods. At Beyond Pricing, this is what we do.

Here is a sample of listings using Beyond Pricing, which shows what hosts were able to charge for Google I/O. Even at a higher price, all of our listings sold out for the conference.

Property Google I/O Price June Average Premium
Property 1 $236 $204 15%
Property 2 $301 $275 9%
Property 3 $459 $366 25%
Property 4 $238 $196 21%
Property 5 $249 $216 15%
Property 6 $305 $245 24%
Property 7 $275 $237 16%
Average 18%

We recommended an average 18% increase in nightly rates for our properties closest to the conference (less for properties further afoot).

At the end of September, Oracle OpenWorld will bring 4x the number of attendees as Google I/O. Our expected increase in rates is close to 100%.

We are able to predict periods of high demand by closely monitoring data about hotel prices, Airbnb occupancy rates, local conferences, flight data, and more. In this manner, we help hosts accurately price during periods of demand peaks, as far away as 18 months.

Want to see how you should price your listing for Oracle OpenWorld? Preview price recommendations here, and scroll to see prices during the conference, September 28th through October 2nd.

Thanks to Robert Luchsinger for helping compile the data for this post