Mill Spring Airbnb hosts increase prices by as much as $1,800 per night

AirbnbWATCH, an affordable housing advocate and consumer watchdog group, has released a report showing significant price gouging by Mill Spring area Airbnb hosts, most of whom are commercial operators running multiple listings, for rentals during the FEI World Equestrian Games, September 11-23, 2018.

The report reveals rates for many Airbnb rentals increasing by thousands of dollars per night during WEG. These are similar to findings in previously-released reports during the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras. During WEG, an apartment in downtown Mill Spring which is normally rented for $667 per night was being advertised for $2,500 per night for the weekend. A typical three-night stay at that apartment would cost a total of $2,001, but the same length of stay during the FEI World Equestrian Games would cost more than $7,500.

“Airbnb’s price gouging was a dream-killer for many football fans during the Super Bowl and a buzz kill to party goers during Mardi Gras. Airbnb is continuing that practice with folks looking to enjoy the FEI World Equestrian Games,” stated Lauren Windsor, AirbnbWATCH’s spokesperson. “Permitting their ‘hosts’ – who many times, let’s be honest, are real estate professionals – to raise rent by these astronomical rates is a very worrisome precedent that Airbnb is setting at these widely-attended events.”

In a San Diego Union-Tribune article, Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs said, “It’s pretty clear that our hosts don’t engage in gouging. When demand for Airbnb increases, supply also tends to increase. When you look at big events, like for a Super Bowl weekend, there’s maybe a $20 increase.”

Windsor points out the reports exposing Airbnb hosts gouging guests at major events, like the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras and now at the FEI World Equestrian Games tell a very different story.

“While many horse enthusiasts might have been expecting to see extravagant horse shows, they were certainly not expecting to spend extravagately on their stays,” stated Windsor. “Commercial Airbnb hosts crushed fans hopes and dreams before the races even started at the Kentucky Derby and now they are pushing FEI World Equestrian Games attendees’ wallets to the limits.”

AirbnbWATCH is a project of American Family Voices, bringing together a coalition of organizations and concerned citizens dedicated to a common goal: protecting communities and travelers by exposing commercial hosts who use sites like Airbnb to run illegal hotels in residential properties under the radar and by making sure all hotel businesses play by the same rules.

Ed. note:
It is recommended that WEG visitors use the official housing bureau for the 2018 WEG, Connections Housing, a full-service sourcing, housing and event management company. The listings reportedly are vetted and monitored for price gouging. Link is here.