Lansing area saw largest-ever Airbnb surge during MSU Homecoming weekend
Airbnb host communities in East Lansing and Lansing welcomed 1,155 guests during the MSU football season, providing lodging for visitors staying in the city for a home game.
During the Homecoming game vs. Indiana on Oct. 21 to Oct. 22, East Lansing and Lansing saw its largest surge of travelers in the history of Airbnb’s platform, according to a press release.
The spokesman for Airbnb Midwest, Benjamin Breit, said Airbnb is working to provide housing when hotels become overbooked on these kinds of weekends.
He recalled his graduation from the University of Virginia where his parents had to book a hotel room to visit two years in advance and the lack of housing choices at the time.
Now, Airbnb host communities in college towns are becoming common.
“Particularly in Michigan State’s case, not only is it a destination for football weekends, but the team happens to be really good this year,” Breit said. “There’s more excitement both from the Spartan fans themselves and some of these opposing fans.”
Airbnb host Ryan Andrews typically gets inquiries from professors or researchers that have been hired at MSU and need temporary lodging to work. In his listing on the Airbnb site, he advertises his proximity to the Cyclotron and Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, where a lot of his guests work. So far, he said, he’s had only positive experiences.
“With Airbnb everybody’s on their best behavior because I can write a review for them,” Andrews said. “And if it’s not good, somebody else isn’t going to welcome them into their own home.”
Breit said that over 58 percent of the 110 Lansing and East Lansing residents who share their spaces via Airbnb’s platform are listing just one room in their home to guests.
Some of the reasons for hosts having space available included children leaving for college and in Andrews’ case, issues with roommates.
During last year’s U-M vs. MSU game, Andrews hosted two graduate students from U-M.
They spent the weekend exploring the city and experiencing East Lansing nightlife.
“You’re talking about thousands and thousands of people per weekend who want to go to the game, who want to stay and truly experience the community and spend money in the process,” Breit said. “Now they have that option because home sharing is becoming such a factor.”
According to the release, hotels in the East Lansing and Lansing area have also had an increasing rate of occupancy, contrary to the belief that Airbnb is taking away from the hotel industry, Breit said.
“Lansing and East Lansing are experiencing a hotel boom,” Breit said. “Hotels are really doing well and I think that’s indicative of the fact that people want to be in this area. They want to be in East Lansing, whether it’s for something that’s related to the university or the football game in this case, or just generally experiencing the region. It’s obviously an increasingly attractive destination.”
The increase in visitors coming to the East Lansing area has not only helped the hosts and the Airbnb platform economically, a lot of small businesses in the area have felt the effects of the increased revenue too, Breit said.
The city earned $83,000 in supplemental income during MSU’s home football weekends.
“If people are going to be a guest and travel and stay at an Airbnb, that’s somebody else’s home,” Andrews said. “It takes a lot of guts, it takes a lot of trust, it takes a lot of courage to just welcome a stranger into your personal privacy. If travelers look at it that way, I think everybody is going to a have a really good