SuperBowl LI Airbnb Pricing & Demand in Houston

by Kam Bain
Thursday, February 2 2017

Over the past 3 years, Beyond Pricing has looked at the data behind all of the hype around listing your place to rent on Airbnb during the Super Bowl.

Last year, for Super Bowl 50, we saw a huge number of people listing their places from San Francisco to San Jose for outrageous amounts, only to be disappointed, as reported by the Verge using Beyond Pricing data: "Airbnb hosts are having a hard time gouging guests for the Super Bowl". So with Super Bowl LI taking place at NRG Stadium in Houston in just a few days, the Beyond Pricing team wanted to see if history would repeat itself again. And it has. Here’s what we found.

1. Too Much Airbnb Supply

Right now, we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people listing their place on Airbnb for Super Bowl LI, leading to vastly more supply than demand. The number of listings available during the Super Bowl is over double normal. This occasionally happens at large events when locals of the host city that do not normally list their house on Airbnb. They list for the large event expecting large returns, but the increased competition and supply outweighs the increase in demand for that given event. The most noticeable example we've seen of this situation was for the Pope visit to Philadelphia in 2016.

Here’s a graph of the number of listings available and occupancy for Houston, illustrating the increase in the number of Airbnb listings available for Super Bowl weekend:

2. A DROP in occupancy for Airbnb During the Super Bowl

Because of all this excess supply, occupancy for Airbnb is actually DOWN. People are listing in far greater number than people are booking.

3. Hosts are overcharging due to unrealistic expectations

Average prices listed on Airbnb are skyrocketing.

This is mostly driven by the majority of hosts pricing their listings at over $1,000 per night, even if their listing is a simple one bedroom, which is merely unrealistic.

However, those listings simply will not get booked as there are still hundreds of listings available for under $400.

4. Super Bowl attendees tend to be less price sensitive when booking hotels

With an average ticket price of $4,875 (according to SeatGeek), fans attending the Super Bowl have shown their willingness to splurge for the big game. They are therefore happy to pay $499 per night to stay at the Hilton or $999 to stay at the Westin near the stadium.

5. So What Should You Do?

The head of pricing for one of the largest hotel owners in the US once told me: “A revenue manager never got fired for setting prices too high.” Another vacation rental property manager said something similar to me: he’d be better off doubling prices for the Super Bowl and not getting booked than get booked at what an owner might perceive to be too low a price.

So by not increasing prices we are definitely going against all that advice! We were one of the only people in the US to predict that hotel prices would plummet for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia and that the oversupply of Airbnb’s would mean few people would get bookings much above average prices.

HOWEVER, should you prefer to try for a much higher price for the Super Bowl (or if you have one of those one-of-a-kind, ideal places that is a complete outlier), you can easily set your own prices for the Super Bowl, directly on your Beyond calendar.

We’re monitoring demand closely so follow us on Twitter and we’ll be posting updates all week.


Want to learn more about how Beyond Pricing can help maximize revenue on your Airbnb? Demo your listing for free using our dynamic pricing software!