Airbnb Caught Price Gouging 2019 Mardi Gras Attendees In New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La. – AirbnbWATCH, an affordable housing advocate and consumer watchdog group, released a report on Wednesday, Feb. 20, showing significant price gouging by Airbnb hosts in New Orleans for those traveling to the city for the celebration of Mardi Gras. Details were shared in a press release.

The report shows the most significant price increases are predominantly by commercial Airbnb hosts in New Orleans, running multiple listings, for rentals during the Mardi Gras celebrations.  

The report reveals rates for many Airbnb listings, increasing by hundreds of dollars per night during this year’s Mardi Gras celebrations.  These findings are similar to those released weeks ago relating to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, Georgia.  An Airbnb rental in New Orleans, which is normally rented for $316 per night, was being advertised for $1,964 per night during Mardi Gras.  A typical three-night stay at that apartment would cost a total of $1,338, but the same length of stay during Mardi Gras would cost more than $7,300.   

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“Airbnb’s price gouging will dampen the spirts of many parade attendees during this year’s Mardi Gras season.  Airbnb’s hosts are continuing to spoil the trips of those looking to catch some beads and enjoy a fun tradition with their friends and families,” stated Lauren Windsor, AirbnbWATCH’s spokesperson. 

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 Mardi Gras, there’s maybe a $20 increase.”

Windsor points out that the reports exposing Airbnb hosts’ gouging guests at major events, such as Super Bowl LIII, the VRBO Citrus Bowl and now at Mardi Gras, tell a very different story.

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“The documented facts in this report speak for themselves in exposing Airbnb’s hypocrisy. While many Mardi Gras goers expect to dance alongside the parades and fill up on king cake during an exciting trip to New Orleans, their festivities will be ruined when the reality of extremely pricey stays set in,” stated Windsor.  “Commercial Airbnb hosts will be testing the patience and budgets of Mardi Gras goers’ goodwill with high lodging prices, while bringing thousands of complete, and potentially dangerous, strangers into the residential neighborhoods of New Orleans.”

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