This text initially appeared on Priceonomics.

What do you get when the best-in-class in music, movie, know-how, and interactive media converge on Austin, Texas for a 10-day convention? Say hi there to the most profitable event for the City of Austin’s hospitality industry, SXSW. Starting in 1987 with just over 700 attendees, it has grown to over 500,000 in 2016. Through the years, the pageant has made a reputation for itself as an trade establishment, welcoming visitors equivalent to President Obama, Woman Gaga, and Mark Cuban.

With a rise within the variety of individuals flocking to a metropolis the price of journey and a badge alone can price you a reasonably penny. The true challenges, nonetheless, are deciding on a house base and place to remain. Motels booked months prematurely or with a excessive price ticket open the door for different housing choices, together with short-term leases equivalent to Airbnb and HomeAway.

How a lot do festivals like SXSW inflate short-term rental costs in Austin? We determined to research knowledge from Priceonomics buyer Datafiniti, an organization that tracks trip rental listings and costs to see simply how a lot rental costs elevated in Austin throughout SXSW in comparison with the remainder of the 12 months.

We discovered that in the course of the month of March, SXSW 2016, the median value per evening for a short-term rental in Austin, was 3 times the yearly median.

Nonetheless, this impact of rental costs surging to demand from massive occasions is not at all distinctive to Austin. It seems that comparable results additionally happen in different small to mid-sized cities with comparable main annual occasions together with, New Orleans, LA, San Jose, CA, Park Metropolis, UT, and Omaha, NE.


For our evaluation, we needed to grasp Austin intimately. Beginning with tons of of 1000’s of rental listings, we remoted these for Austin and calculated the median value throughout all leases, which was $200. For comparability, we grouped the listings by the month the info was captured to grasp the variation. Our knowledge spans a full 12 months, from October 2015 by September 2016.

Most notably, we see spikes in October, March, and Could. The most important is March, which traces up with SXSW. October performs host to Austin Metropolis Limits, and in April and Could, there are a collection of smaller festivals and live shows, which probably appeal to sufficient consideration to impression leases as properly.

If we break the data down additional, we see how value modifications with rental options just like the variety of bedrooms. Viewing the data over time, we will decide if modifications correlate with the timing of SXSW.

Be aware: Information for three bed room leases was not obtainable in October 2015 or September 2016

On this case, we see the spikes in value are larger for lodging that features extra bedrooms. This variation in pricing is sensible, as demand would most certainly be biggest for these bigger listings. Whereas a bigger residence is dearer than a single mattress rental, most individuals attend these occasions as a part of a bunch, with the tip profit being that you could break up prices amongst everybody. For Austin residents, the method of renting out a single bed room (Type 1 STR) versus a non-owner occupied single-family or duplex (Kind 2 STR) is best, that means there’s probably an abundance of provide for these smaller leases. Sadly, the city is working towards phasing out Type 2 short-term rentals by 2022.

Adjustments in value usually are not distinctive to SXSW and Austin. Sharp will increase in rental costs additionally correspond to massive occasions in cities throughout the U.S. We explored tons of of those occasions to find which of them affect costs. Under we’ve famous a number of examples, which we’ll discover additional.

Utilizing this listing, we will discover knowledge in every metropolis to see the precise affect of those occasions. It’s necessary to notice that a few of these cities have a number of small occasions happen across the similar time which drives demand, reasonably than a singular occasion. This pattern is the case in Omaha, and to some extent in Miami.

We see the biggest impact on value within the smaller cities, and people with decrease median costs the vast majority of the 12 months. The largest value enhance is in Omaha, NE with 309% greater than the yearly median, adopted by New Orleans, LA. Whereas New Orleans isn’t a small metropolis, the realm most impacted by tourism is just a sliver as in comparison with town as an entire. New Orleans’ better metro space has a population of 1.2 million, however the French Quarter (the primary tourism hub) and surrounding neighborhoods have a inhabitants of solely a number of thousand.

There are a number of extra elements that drive prices. First, occasions that appeal to attendees from close to and much. The Tremendous Bowl is a good instance; whereas hosted in California, most individuals attending had been from Colorado or North Carolina (every workforce’s residence state). Second, the beginning value and site of a rental. For instance, Park Metropolis is a ski space and leases are typically dearer. So whereas the surge value was truly the very best right here ($1229 per evening), it was solely about 200% greater than the conventional rental price.


Quick-term leases play an indispensable position in occasions in small to mid-sized cities equivalent to SXSW in Austin. Metropolis-wide, Austin’s lodges solely have room for about 40,000 individuals per evening, which solely serves half the demand throughout SXSW, in line with our previous analysis. So what would the absence of short-term leases appear to be in a metropolis that desperately leans on them in peak vacationer instances? Say goodbye to accessibility (because it pertains to lodging) as a result of restricted lodge capability.

Because the demand for different journey lodging grows, the present and obtainable provide might place a bit extra pressure in your pockets. However identical to Batman wants Robin, Austin’s hospitality trade wants short-term leases. Within the case of native tourism, the proof is within the numbers – short-term leases come to the rescue and make up for what Austin is “brief” of throughout its most jam-packed weeks of the 12 months – room.

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