Fight the papal housing bubble: This startup tells you how to price your home on Airbnb - Philly


Fight the papal housing bubble: This startup tells you how to price your home on Airbnb

Guys, it's time to get real.

Pope Francis in Manila.

(Photo by Flickr user @jonicdao, used under a Creative Commons license)

All right, so you had some papal housing pipe dreams. You wanted to rent out your apartment for Pope Francis’ Philly visit, make a month’s rent or two, plus a nice dinner to boot. Then no one bit. Dang.

A San Francisco startup has some advice if you’re ready to re-calibrate.

Beyond Pricing, which helps Airbnb hosts optimize pricing, launched in Philly recently. Here’s cofounder Ian McHenry’s advice on this papal housing business:

For all central areas of Philadelphia, we are recommending a price 40% above normal, so a place that is normally $200, we are recommending $280. Normally, we would expect a 2-300% increase in prices for Airbnbs, if there is no significant increase in supply. But as I mentioned, anytime prices for Airbnbs spike, it brings more supply into the market and brings down the price premiums. Hence why we are only recommending 40% increases.

(If you don’t know what your “normal price” is, check out this guide for some pointers.)

McHenry also noted that if you’ve never rented your place out on Airbnb before and have no reviews, you’re being especially silly thinking that you can rent out your place for thousands of dollars.

Below, check out Beyond Pricing’s graph of Airbnb occupancy in Philly over time. It drops during the papal visit.

Philadelphia 2015 Airbnb OccupancyMcHenry said he’s seen this before in other cities that have big one-time events.

“In places with large annual events, people have experience from prior years to help them set reasonable prices,” he wrote in an email. “For SXSW in Austin, people will in fact get $800/night for their 2 bedroom that usually goes for $150/night, but that is much more reasonable than the $2,000/night many people are asking for the Papal visit.”


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