New Report: Airbnb Boosts Optionality and Affordability During Major UK Events

A report from Oxford Economics explores how short-term rentals are resource and cost-efficient in meeting fluctuating visitor demand for major events in the UK.

The UK has long been home to high-profile cultural, sporting and international events with global appeal. These events have significant economic and cultural impacts but require destinations to absorb one-time demand surges. 

Our new report examines the economic impact of travel on Airbnb for three recent major events: the European Song Contest in Liverpool in 2023, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in the West Midlands and the 2021 COP26 conference in Glasgow. Below we explore some key takeaways. 

Flexibility of Hosting on Airbnb Boosts Supply

Locals can easily list their space on Airbnb ahead of major events, generating extra income and increasing accommodation capacity. This increase is pivotal for helping cities and event organizers sustainably meet high demand. In the three months before 202COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, the number of Airbnb listings increased rapidly compared to the same period in 2019, with a growth rate for private rooms nearly 1.5 times higher.

Airbnb Helps Lower Visitor Accommodation Prices

The boost in Airbnb listings leading up to events provides greater choice and increased lodging competition resulting in lower overall prices—an average reduction of £30 per night based on the three events studied. 

Benefits Beyond Economic Impact

Airbnb guests are estimated to have spent £31.5 million in local communities during the events. Tourism Economics reported an additional 5,000 rooms in the West Midlands would have been required to accommodate all guests booked on Airbnb during the Games. The supplemental lodging supplied by Airbnb reduces the immediate need for resource-intensive infrastructure—enabling destinations to more easily meet demand at peak periods and ensure guests can stay where needed. Read the full report here

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