Airbnb hosts in college towns grope big games with too high rates

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college town hosts would make a lot of money when the home team plays host to their biggest rival, say a game between the University of Florida and the State of Florida, or the University of Michigan and the State of Florida. ‘Ohio. But recent research has revealed that for many Airbnb hosts, these events are a missed opportunity to make big bucks.

It’s because these hosts are pushing their prices up so high that their space isn’t rented. And the researchers suggest the reason for this is what they call “affiliate bias,” in other words, hosts just can’t stand the fans on the visiting team.

Almost two-thirds of Airbnb unit seekers surveyed increased their price during rivalry games, by around 22% on average. It was more that the hosts raised their rates for other games that boosted the demand for space, such as homecoming games and games against high-ranked teams that weren’t the most. great rival of the home team.

The result is that units often went vacant during rivalry matches and the hosts lost significant potential income. These vacancies lowered the overall intake of Airbnb hosts by 30% on average for rivalry games, compared to their cumulative earnings on games against other highly ranked opponents.

In an example cited by researchers, for a Florida state home game against the University of Notre Dame, ranked fifth in the country at the time, Airbnb units in Tallahassee were listed for an average price of $ 201. for one night. Each unit has been reserved for this game, resulting in an average rental income of $ 201. Five weeks later, for the home game against rival University of Florida, the average entry price in Tallahassee was $ 267, but since many units were not rented, the average rental income of all units was only $ 67.

Hosts in other locations lost even more rental income. Overall, not booking a night for a rivalry game on average costs a host about $ 325, or about a third of the unit’s monthly mortgage payment, on average, the researchers calculated. Not booking both the day before and the night after, on average costs a host more than two-thirds of a unit’s monthly mortgage payment, according to the study.

So, at this price, why is this happening? “It seems Airbnb hosts don’t want to host rival fans unless they can inflict damage on them by charging exuberant prices,” says one of the study’s co-authors, Mitch Warachka, professor at Chapman University in Orange, California.

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The study points out that this type of overpricing does not occur for other games where rental space is in high demand. Additionally, hosts could adjust their prices until the last minute to fill their space, but many don’t. All of this suggests that the problem with rivalry games isn’t that hosts don’t know how to assess or react to changing demand, according to the study.

The researchers analyzed selling prices and rental income during home games against rival and non-rival teams over two football seasons, 2014 and 2015. They looked at 1,320 Airbnb units in 26 college towns. Large urban areas, such as Los Angeles or Austin, Texas, were excluded from the analysis because occupancy rates may reflect other events.

The results were similar in the three American regions studied by the researchers – the South, the Midwest and the West – Prof. said Warachka.

Ms. Ward is a writer in Vermont. Email him at [email protected]

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Appeared in the September 20, 2021 print edition as “Airbnb Hosts’ College Fumble”.

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