$1,000 A Room Per Night? Report Shows Airbnb Price Gouging Rentals During Mardi Gras

​New Orleans area hotels have availability for a fraction of the cost

NEW ORLEANS – AirbnbWATCH, an affordable housing advocate and consumer watchdog group, released a report this week showing Airbnb rates increasing by thousands of dollars per night during Mardi Gras weekend leading into Mardi Gras Day on Feb. 13.

In one case, a private AirbNb one bedroom rental increased over 2,000 percent during Mardi Gras– advertising $1,000 for the night of Sunday, Feb. 11 compared to $46 for the same room on Feb. 20. The apartment listing is located three blocks away from South Claiborne Ave.

A call to local hotels Wyndham New Orleans French Quarter and The Roosevelt on Thursday, Feb. 8 confirmed availability for Sunday, Feb. 11 at $279 per night and $239 per night, respectively, for a room with two queen beds.

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During the Mardi Gras season, an Airbnb apartment in downtown New Orleans, which is normally rented for $299 per night, was being advertised for $1,800 per night for the weekend and through Mardi Gras Day.

A typical three-night stay at that apartment would cost a total of $897, but the same length of stay during Mardi Gras would cost more than $5,400.   

These are similar to a finding in a previously released report for Minneapolis Airbnb rentals during the Super Bowl.

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“Permitting their hosts to raise rent by these astronomical rates is a very worrisome precedent that Airbnb is setting at these widely attended events,” said Lauren Windsor, AirbnbWATCH’s spokesperson.

There are 7,271 Airbnb properties licensed with the City of New Orleans. None are permitted in the French Quarter or the area that falls within the Vieux Carré District.

According to Eric Bay, president of the Alliance for Neighborhood Prosperity New Orleans, a group that has been a proponent of Airbnb rentals, the practice of raising rates is a normal, standard practice worldwide. 

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“Most responsible vacation rental owners worldwide practice both low season and high season rates, as well as special event pricing,” Bay said.

Bay said that the city’s limited 90 days of rental nights total per year result in special event rates being higher than a typical high season.

“The revenue management model is similar to nationwide hotel association practices, the difference being responsible vacation rental owners are more focused on guest satisfaction and enjoying the private home rental/local experience than quarterly out of state corporate earnings reports,” Bay said. 

Below are some of the more significant increases of New Orleans Airbnb listings outlined in the AirbnbWATCH report.

               Feb. 13-14 rate/night Feb 20 rate/night Rate increase Percent Increase Number of Bedrooms
Spacious Downtown NOLA $945 $155 $770 440% 2
Jazzy Penthouse $1,600 $332 $1,268 382% 2
Hosted by Nola $1,800 $299 $1,401 468% 4
Hosted by New Orleans Properties $1,600 $188   $1,412  751% 3
Hosted by Nola Property Management $2,500 $1,000 $1,500 150% 5
Hosted by Angela $1,280 $380 $900 237% 3
Hosted by Carolyn $975 $300 $675 225% 2
Hosted by Sam $1,500 $700 $800 114% 5
Hosted by Sam $950 $310 $640 206% 3
Private bedroom $1,000 $46 $954 2007% 1
Hosted by Alexander $1,000 $56 $944 1,685% 1

*All rates and unit availabilities subject to change per host preference

-By Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans

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