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Airbnb hosts should adjust prices for events, but for which ones?

Chicago Marathon brings in a lot of demand for lodging in Chicago, but did you know the weekend after did too?

At PriceLabs, we love digging through data. We recently looked back at last 6 months to see how our data helps hosts make better decisions. For those unaware, PriceLabs' algorithm calculates the price a host should list their apartment at, across the globe, for any given day.

Many Airbnb hosts are aware of the importance of appropriately pricing their listing for special events. Since, Uber made the term “Surge Pricing” a common day terminology, most hosts understand that higher demand should mean higher pricing. There have, also, been quite a few articles written about it to guide owners towards pricing their listing better (like this one).

In weeks leading up to Chicago Marathon, most hosts knew that the Marathon would generate a huge demand for lodging in the city. Although they may not know how to calculate the right price (as we wrote about Mike’s property in this post), they at least knew that they could increase their prices, and they did!

However, what most hosts wouldn't have anticipated is that the weekend after the Chicago Marathon saw a similar demand for accommodation, thanks to a few comparatively lesser known events, like the Open House Chicago and others, lining up on the same weekend. With more than 90% of the listings getting booked, both weekends easily topped the occupancy rates for the fall season!

Where it gets interesting (for future of PriceLabs) is that while both the weekends were equally booked in terms of occupancy, marathon weekend fetched an average of $160 for bookings, while the same set of listings averaged closer to $140 the following weekend. While we could debate that there was room to flex even in the $160 price for Marathon weekend, but the bigger point here is that most hosts weren't even aware that there was going to be a huge surge in demand the following weekend.

So how can you be aware of what's happening in your city and get better at pricing your rental? Keep tabs on Timeout.com, Metromix.com, or your local tourism website (e.g., chicagoist.com, sfnation.com). Remember to check their calendar a couple of months out regularly, since their twitter feeds and articles focus mainly on events in the upcoming week. Now we know, this takes time, but would you rather leave money on the table?

Alternatively, you can use dynamic pricing tools like PriceLabs to help price your listings. We monitor supply and demand in your neighborhood and scores of other factors to calculate the right price for your listing for every given day. PriceLabs is pricing hundreds of Airbnb properties & helping hosts across the world.