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Many smaller cities on the path of totality with short-term rentals have reached 100% occupancy, according to AirDNA. But larger cities aren’t far behind.

Looking for a place to stay along the 2024 eclipse path? It’s not impossible — but it will be tough.

More than half of U.S. cities with short-term rentals on the path of totality are fully booked for April 7 — the evening before the eclipse on April 8 — according to an X post from AirDNA Chief Economist Jamie Lane. Short-term rentals in some larger cities aren’t quite sold out, but they’re close at mostly over 80% booked.

Lane said the scraped AirDNA data compiles Vrbo and Airbnb listings, with April 6 and April 8 having the next highest occupancy levels.

There is one unusual trend, though. “Usually during special events, there is a surge in supply,” Lane said. “This is an event that we actually saw a decrease in available listings.” 

Here’s one reason why: Of the roughly 100,000 listings in the eclipse path, a share was not marked as available to guests. Unlike South by Southwest and the Super Bowl, for instance, the eclipse doesn’t require a ticket. Hosts may stay behind and view the eclipse from the comfort of their own home, Lane said.

A quarter of Airbnb guests in the U.S. booked for the eve of the eclipse are staying along the path of totality, leading to almost 90% occupancy for Airbnb properties in the region.

This map shows the occupancy of Airbnb listings on April 7, as of data from March 26. Image: Airbnb

New hosts and new guests mean more preparation

Airbnb reported over 1,000 new hosts for the eclipse weekend. The company said it looks forward to these hosts and smaller destinations “having their moment in the sun.” Airbnb also noted over 10% of travelers staying on the eclipse path have not booked through the site before.

Rent Responsibly is a community-building and educational platform for short-term rental hosts. Co-Founder and CEO David Krauss said hosts, new and old, need to brace for “the Super Bowl effect.”

“The learning curve is quite rapid,” Krauss said. He encouraged hosts to prepare for guest questions, such as where they should go for optimal viewing, by considering the challenges that come with an influx of tourists. For example, some hosts may advise guests to view the eclipse from the rental itself instead of contributing to street traffic.

“Hosts should be proactive — and asking about needs and also educating their guests — so their guests have a good experience,” Krauss said. “That’s ‘Hospitality 101.’”

Krauss also recommended that hosts review tourism resources from their local destination marketing organizations. 

Travelers search for a special rental ahead of the special eclipse

This eclipse stands out with the path of totality falling over North America, rather than a body of water or more inaccessible area for viewing. Scientific American also reported the sun will be at peak activity, producing a different view than in August 2017.

Beyond, formerly Beyond Pricing, offers revenue management software for short-term rentals. Jeffrey Breece, the company’s director of revenue management and data science product manager, noticed patterns with the property features travelers are gravitating toward. Some larger listings with five or more bedrooms are seeing a slight uptick in bookings, Breece said in a statement, since this eclipse “is something that families want to experience together.” In Rochester, New York, listings with hot tubs have 12% more bookings.

There is still room for last-minute bookings

While Airbnb said it’s feeling the “huge demand,” last-minute visitors may have luck, if they are open minded to different cities on the eclipse path. As of April 5, cities with remaining Airbnb accommodations include Brossard, Quinte West, Westmount, Chatham-Kent, Bromont, and Montreal in Canada, as well as Dublin, Ohio.

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Tags: airbnb, airdna, beyond pricing, dwell, short-term rentals, solar eclipse, tourism, u.s. tourism, vrbo

Photo credit: This map shows the occupancy of short-term rentals by city on April 7, as of data available in the week leading up to the eclipse. Source: AirDNA. AirDNA

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