AirBnB, the online platform that allows property owners and those seeking lodging to connect for short-term rentals, is expecting a to do big business in Washington D.C. this week thanks to the inauguration of Donald Trump. Some hosts, however, appear to be taking advantage of the excitement of Trump supporters to increase prices exponentially.
“Compression pricing” — a practice in the hotel industry that refers to periods when occupancy is expected to be high, which affords hotels the opportunity to raise prices — has been decried by AirBnB executives in the past. Yet a search of AirBnB’s website for rentals during the upcoming Trump inaugural weekend revealed some hosts appear to be engaging in that practice for inauguration weekend when you compare for rentals to prices for their same properties the following weekend.
One property near Georgetown normally rents for $75 per night, plus taxes and fees. A three-night stay from Thursday, January 26 till Sunday the 29th would cost a total of $352. This weekend, however, the same rental for the same number of nights will cost you $959.
Another home in the DuPont Circle area of D.C. rents for $1,292 for the Thursday thru Sunday weekend after the inauguration, but is seeking a staggering $7,515 for inauguration weekend.
Another property on Capitol Hill usually rents for $110 per night, but increases to $833 per night for the upcoming weekend. With taxes and fees, a three-night stay, which normally costs $487, balloons to $3,127.
A Georgetown condo would cost you a mere $416 for a three-night stay for the first three nights of next week, but $7,294 for inauguration weekend.
These are but a few examples of AirBnB “compression pricing” The Daily Caller found for inauguration weekend. However, some users did remain consistent with their pricing, increasing them only slightly. Reached via email for comment, an AirBnB spokespersons directed TheDC to a webpage claiming, “Fewer than 10% have increased their price from four weeks ago.”
A search of hotels.com by TheDC found rooms available for inaugural weekend ranging in the neighborhood between $329 and $1,149 per night.
After the election some AirBnB hosts expressed discomfort with the idea of renting to Trump supporters. “I have a visceral reaction to the thought of having a Trump supporter in my house,” said one. “No amount of money could make me change my mind. It’s about moral principles.”
Another host named Meredith, who was not happy with the idea of Trump supporters staying in her home and cancelled her offering, told The Huffington Post “she might reconsider if demand pushes the average rates even higher, because she doesn’t mind ‘gouging’ Trump supporters.”
It is unknown if Meredith has relisted or rented her property.
AirBnB hosts set their own prices for rentals with the company, taking a percentage of the income for serving as intermediary.
In the email, AirBnB told TheDC, “For reservations spanning Inauguration weekend, the median price of Airbnb bookings is $129 per night. This median price reflects the 5,200 listings currently booked.”
Noting the spike in interest in the inauguration, AirBnB’s website states, “DC-area hosts will earn over $5.9 million from reservations during the Inauguration. This earnings estimate is more than 10 times higher than the same time in 2013.”
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