Republicans Don't Stay in Airbnb's - but Democrats Do!

by Ian McHenry
Monday, July 18 2016

Thousands of delegates, media, lobbyists and the like are descending on Cleveland and Philadelphia this week and the next. Events like these often lead to skyrocketing hotel prices and delegates seeking more affordable options frequently flee to alternative accommodation sites like Airbnb and VRBO to save a buck.

So with the two conventions coming to town, we decided to see which party is a bigger fan of Airbnb.

Unlike the presidential race, this competition was not even close - the Democrats are the clear winners.

In Cleveland, where the Republicans are holding their convention this week, there are far more people offering their homes up than there are Republican takers. Occupancy for Airbnb is actually hugely down during the convention.

We frequently see this in cities that are hosting a major event for the first time (like the Super Bowl), where news reports of people listing their place for thousands of dollars per night gets conflated with people actually booking rooms at that sky high of a price. Opportunistic homeowners hope to cash in and have unrealistic expectations.

However, when we look to Philadelphia, where the Democrats are holding their convention, we see a huge spike in occupancy!

Are the Democrats bigger adopters of Airbnb? Are Republicans fine paying the sky high hotel rates and don’t need to look for cheaper options?

It’s hard to tell. One possibility, though, has nothing to do with demand for Airbnb’s but all to do with supply.

Philadelphia residents have been fooled by the promise of a big payday for renting out their Airbnb before. When the Pope came to visit Philadelphia, residents listed their places in droves, asking for thousands of dollars per night. In the end, no one ended up paying that and all of that excess supply sat empty.

Cleveland residents haven’t learned that lesson, with some hosts listing their futon for $2,500 per night. There are still thousands of Airbnb listings in Cleveland sitting empty this week as Republicans stick to hotels. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, hosts are cashing in on the influx of Airbnb-loving Democrats.


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