Grey Cup 2018 means busiest weekend ever for Edmonton Airbnb rentals

WATCH ABOVE: Grey Cup week was a big deal for not just Edmonton, but also for Airbnb. As Emily Mertz explains, the company set a new record for rentals in the city.

This past weekend may have been all about football, but the Grey Cup also created big business for short-term accommodation rentals.

Airbnb hosts in Edmonton opened their homes to the most guests ever over the Grey Cup weekend.

READ MORE: Edmonton and the Grey Cup: A brief history of hosting

The company said nearly 600 Airbnb hosts rented out their properties to visitors from across Canada last weekend. It was the largest weekend in the platform’s history in Edmonton, and was a 101 per cent increase in guest arrivals compared to the same weekend last year.

Guests came from across the country, but the most common cities were Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Having people rent out accommodations in their own city when it’s hosting a big event is something Airbnb actually sees often.

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“Maybe they book a place, they get together with friends, they want to watch together, and they come in from maybe the outer areas, or someone is booking for relatives — they’re all getting together and having a fun family time together,” said Alex Dagg, director of public policy for Airbnb in Canada.

WATCH: Thousands prepare to celebrate 106 Grey Cup Edmonton-style

Thousands prepare to celebrate 106 Grey Cup Edmonton-style
Thousands prepare to celebrate 106 Grey Cup Edmonton-style

The average booking size was two guests and the typical booking length was for three nights.

Over the course of Grey Cup weekend, about 2,000 guests used Airbnb rentals, which translated to more than $180,000. The average cost of a rental was $70 per night.

READ MORE: Esks out but Edmonton wins. Grey Cup expected to be windfall for local businesses

Dagg says being able to offer more — and less expensive — accommodation options is one of Airbnb’s strengths.

“We can provide really elastic supply like this during big events when there’s a sudden increase,” she said.

“Hotels, often what they do is, they increase their rates significantly during big events because they can, which then makes it really unaffordable for people to enjoy something. So one of the things we can do is by increasing supply, by people putting their space up, it helps make it affordable… and the Grey Cup is a fun Canadian tradition.”

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READ MORE: Ottawa Redblacks and Calgary Stampeders face off in 106th Grey Cup

Airbnb is also helping people in Edmonton make some supplemental income, Dagg said.

“We are thrilled that our hosts allowed more people to enjoy the Grey Cup while also helping to support the local economy.”

The platform said 49 per cent of booked guests were between the ages of 30 and 49. Nearly 10 per cent of hosts over Grey Cup weekend were seniors and five per cent were hosts sharing their property for the first time, Airbnb said.

“We see this when there’s a big event like this and people say: ‘Oh we have extra space,’ or: ‘I’m not going to be here this weekend. I’m going to put my place on Airbnb for the first time.'”

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