The 7 Most Popular Cities to Watch the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse According to Airbnb Demand

by Sergey Mann
Tuesday, August 1 2017

On August 21, for the first time in nearly a century, the solar eclipse (dubbed the ‘Great American Eclipse’) will be visible in the US from coast to coast: from Charleston, South Carolina all the way to the Oregon Coast.

Here at Beyond Pricing, we noticed an increase in Airbnb bookings as far as 15 months ahead of time and increased prices for our hosts accordingly. However, a number of hosts not using our software were getting booked at way below market rates and many Airbnb’s were all booked up before the public took notice.

Now, with only a few weeks to go, we decided to examine vacation rental markets across the country to see which destinations are proving to be most popular for the special occasion. Analyzing the data, we found the top 7 cities people are rushing to catch a glimpse of this rare event.

While most of the buzz in the news has been around demand on the Oregon Coast and South Carolina, most of the cities with the biggest jump in demand are actually in the middle of the country in places like Tennessee and Idaho. Moreover, many of the places in the news have seen a big surge in prices leading travelers to flock to nearby cities just outside of the path of the eclipse to find more affordable rates.

So without further adieu, here are the top 7 cities:

7. Lincoln City, Oregon

Population: 7,930
Increase in Occupancy: 25.9%
Average Price Increase: 66.5%
Directly in Path of Totality: Yes

With all the media hype you would expect Lincoln City to be THE destination for the event. However, in reality it only comes in seventh, with a relatively modest 25% increase in occupancy (comparable to other summer weekends).

What’s likely happening here is what we at Beyond Pricing like to refer to as ‘the Super Bowl effect’ – when there is significant buzz over a big event coming to town, people decide to rent out their spare rooms for extreme prices, and supply and prices skyrocket, while the accompanying increase in demand is nowhere close to as high. Hence, while Lincoln City has experienced by far the largest price increase of any of the cities on our list (66.5%), the increase in demand has been fairly small.

6. Portland, Oregon

Population: 619,000
Increase in Occupancy: 30.5%
Average Price Increase: 4.3%
Directly in Path of Totality: No

At number six comes another Oregon city: Portland. Not being in the direct path of totality, Portland hasn’t received anywhere close to as much attention as nearby Lincoln City has and so hosts have barely increased prices. However, in reality occupancy is up much more in Portland than in Lincoln City and hosts not using a dynamic pricing solution like Beyond Pricing have been leaving significant money on the table.

5. Knoxville, Tennessee

Population: 184,000
Increase in Occupancy: 62.9%
Average Price Increase: 1.2%
Directly in Path of Totality: No

Knoxville (nicknamed “The Marble City”) is another city on the list experiencing a massive increase in demand despite not being directly in the path of total solar eclipse. Visitors are likely planning to drive the day of the event to nearby towns to see the eclipse. Similar to Portland, Knoxville prices have barely increased despite the spike in demand.

4. Boise, Idaho

Population: 216,000
Increase in Occupancy: 71.3%
Average Price Increase: 15.7%
Directly in Path of Totality: No

With a population of 216,000, Boise may not be the largest city on our list, but it is proving to be quite popular, coming in at number four. It is also not directly in the path of totality (in fact the highest ranking one on our list). Hosts here have been a bit more savvy, increasing prices 15.7%, but still missing out as demand has gone up by 71.3%.

3. St. Louis, Missouri

Population: 317,000
Increase in Occupancy: 88.8%
Average Price Increase: 5.7%
Directly in Path of Totality: Yes

Although it is directly in the path of totality and is conveniently near Chicago, Indianapolis, and numerous other Midwest cities, St. Louis hasn’t received that much attention for the solar eclipse either and so hosts have barely increased prices. Nevertheless, guests are flocking to it (88.8% increase in demand), as not only is it in the path of totality, but it is also just a short drive to many towns offering the maximum time of totality (2 minutes 41 seconds).

2. Nashville, Tennessee

Population: 684,000
Increase in Occupancy: 97.4%
Average Price Increase: 15.5%
Directly in Path of Totality: Yes

At number two we have Nashville, the largest city on our list with a population of 684,000. Considering its large size and all of the other events happening in the city around the year, it is impressive that the eclipse is causing such a significant spike in demand (97.4%) in the Tennessee capital. Prices, on the other hand, are only up a modest 15.5%.

1. Charleston, South Carolina

Population: 130,000
Increase in Occupancy: 109.0%
Average Price Increase: 18.5%
Directly in Path of Totality: Yes

In at the top spot: Charleston, South Carolina. The East Coast port city has been in the news quite a bit and for good reason! Charleston has experienced a 2x spike in occupancy, but unlike in Lincoln City, hosts here have not been increasing prices that much at all (except for those using Beyond Pricing!). Hence, many travelers have been able to snag quite a deal in Charleston for this once-in-a-lifetime-event.

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