In anticipation of the Michigan-Notre Dame football game last weekend, Airbnb welcomed 2,390 guests to Ann Arbor from Oct. 25 to 27, marking the largest influx of guests in Ann Arbor’s Airbnb history. Hosts saw more than $735,000 in supplemental income, according to a press release from Airbnb.
According to Airbnb spokesperson Sam Randall, the last time Ann Arbor saw a record-breaking number of guest arrivals was just over three weeks ago when Michigan played Iowa for the annual homecoming game.
The number of guests staying in Ann Arbor through Airbnb has significantly increased over the past year. Last year’s 2018 homecoming game against Maryland brought in 1,450 guest arrivals, while this year’s homecoming game against Iowa brought in 2,260 guest arrivals, marking a 56 percent increase. Comparing the 2018 Maryland game to the Notre Dame game with 2,390 guests, this is a 65 percent increase overall, according to Randall.
“(Iowa) would’ve been the second-highest guest arrival amount in Ann Arbor, but this weekend has eclipsed that by a few hundred guest arrivals,” Randall said. “This is the highest ever in Ann Arbor.”
According to Airbnb, guests from all over the country traveled to Ann Arbor for game day, with the highest number of guests coming from the cities of Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Atlanta.
During big game weekends, hotels frequently reach peak occupancy, allowing Airbnb to significantly expand its lodging capacity through owner-occupied homes, where guests will temporarily rent out a room or a certain amount of space. This also allows these hosts to bring in extra income, as they can charge visitors to stay in a part of their home that may typically be unoccupied.
The guests don’t just provide a financial boon for their hosts. According to Airbnb data, visitors provide an economic boost to the greater community, as they typically spend on average $110 per day at local restaurants and stores.
In a statement, Airbnb Midwest policy director Kelley Gossett said Airbnb was glad to help football fans find places to stay.
“It’s clear, both of these teams enjoy nationwide fan bases that will travel to see the game. Airbnb is proud to help facilitate that travel while providing an economic opportunity for hosts and bringing revenue to the area,” Gossett said.
U-M football fan Casey Miranda traveled from Grand Rapids, Mich., and chose to stay with friends in an Airbnb for the weekend. Miranda said the experience was more enjoyable than staying at a hotel.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” Miranda said. “We have great hosts; they’re amazing. Everything has been waiting for us, Michigan paraphernalia everywhere. It was amazing.”
However, not all guests said they preferred Airbnbs to traditional hotels. U-M football fan Bobby Cooke traveled from Charlotte, North Carolina and booked an Airbnb about five weeks in advance of his stay with several other guests. He said he would typically try to arrange a stay at a hotel but most had already been booked for the weekend.
“We chose an Airbnb just because we couldn’t find anything close to the downtown area,” Cooke said. “It was the only option we had. Normally, I would not go for that. I would go for something like a hotel or something closer to campus.”
He said the Airbnb he rented was inconvenient due to extra travel costs to get to campus.
“The Airbnb is about 30 minutes from here, which has not been very convenient because we’re having to Uber back and forth, and that’s expensive,” Cooke said. “I would say it’s been unremarkable at the most.”