The Preakness Stakes has provided a boost to Baltimore residents who use Airbnb to rent space in their homes to visitors.
Airbnb expects service users to earn more than $372,000 between Thursday and Saturday. That represents a 60 percent increase from the same time in previous weeks.
On Saturday, the day of the 143rd running of the race, will be the biggest single night for Airbnb bookings in Baltimore in the company’s history. There are 2,320 guest arrivals booked via Aibnb for that day.
“For nearly 150 years, the Preakness Stakes has been a huge draw from Baltimore’s tourism industry, and Airbnb is proud to be part of this tradition,” Will Burns, director of public policy for Airbnb in Maryland, said in a statement. “From providing Baltimore families with a flexible way to make supplemental income to giving travelers a more affordable way to attend their favorite events, Airbnb and home sharing are democratizing tourism and creating new streams of income for people who need it the most.”
There are more than 970 residents using Airbnb to rent space in their homes this weekend, the company said. Roughly 5 percent of those are first time Airbnb hosts, 62 percent of hosts are women and 13 percent are at least 60 years old.
In 2017, 140,327 people attended the race, according to the Maryland Department of Commerce, and spent an estimated $11.1 million. Total expenditures on the race last year reached $38.2 million and contributed $2.6 million to state and local taxes.
In the face of speculation the Preakness Stakes could be moved to a different location, Baltimore elected officials and business leaders have vowed to make sure the race, and its associated economic benefits, stay in the city.
Airbnb’s inroads into some communities have been viewed with alarm by the hospitality industry and some public officials, who have sought government oversight of the company’s operations.