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New Wall Street Journal story about AirBnB pricing in college gameday markets

Opening of the story here:

Airbnb Hosts in College Towns Fumble the Big Games With Too-High Rates

They want to stick it to fans of rival teams, so they raise their prices—and end up losing guests

It would seem that Airbnb ABNB -0.93% hosts in college towns would earn a lot of money when the home team is hosting its biggest rival—say, a game between the University of Florida and Florida State, or the University of Michigan and Ohio State. But recent research found that for many Airbnb hosts those events are a blown opportunity to score big bucks.

That’s because these hosts jack their prices up so high that their space goes unrented. And the researchers suggest the reason is what they call “affiliation bias”—in other words, the hosts just can’t stand the visiting team’s fans.

Nearly two-thirds of the Airbnb units researchers studied raised their price during rivalry games, by an average of about 22%. That was more than the hosts raised their rates for other games that boosted demand for space, such as homecoming games and games against highly ranked teams that weren’t the home team’s biggest rival.

The result is that units often sat vacant during the rivalry games, and the hosts lost significant potential income. Those vacancies drove the overall take by Airbnb hosts down by an average of 30% for rivalry games, compared with their cumulative earnings on games against other, highly ranked opponents. [continued]

Link to a PDF of the story here. (WSJ is paywalled.)

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And a link to the study that the news report is based on. Checking to see whether they considered that pricing tool failures, not host bias, might be the problem.

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I’d also like to mention that sometimes we over-price our units so that we don’t get drunk party animal vs guests.


I do know that when I tried to book an Air in Seattle on Apple Bowl (UW-WSU) weekend 3 years ago, there were no hotel rooms and no Airs available from the airport up to Everett, at any price.

LOL. The assumption that the airbnb owners are even ‘football fans’ and would lose revenue because they want to ‘hurt’ folks coming from out of town and are somehow ‘obviously’ rival team supporters is absurd.

Many of us do not follow sports nor care. Someone who comes to a town to participate in watching team sports may not even care about the rivalry - so much of football is the pregame drinking and dining, and the game drinking and dining, and the post game drinking and dining. An airbnb host who sets pricing based on emotion is a host who will soon be out of business.

Rates go up based on opportunity. Period.


More likely hosts would only risk partiers and hosting large groups at the right price. High risk, high reward. If it stays empty and they don’t have to deal with potential cleanups after “big games” they’re prob fine with it.

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