REPORT: Airbnb price gouging could cost those celebrating Mardi Gras thousands

New Orleans Airbnb hosts increase price by as much as $1,500 per night

WASHINGTON, D.C. – AirbnbWATCH, an affordable housing advocate and consumer watchdog group, released a report today showing significant price gouging by New Orleans Airbnb hosts, many of whom are commercial operators running multiple listings, for rentals during Mardi Gras weekend and leading into Fat Tuesday.

The report reveals rates for many Airbnb rentals increasing by thousands of dollars per night during the Mardi Gras festivities. These are similar to a finding in a previously released report during the Super Bowl. During Mardi Gras, an apartment in downtown New Orleans, which is normally rented for $299 per night, was being advertised for $1,800 per night for the weekend and Fat Tuesday. A typical three-night stay at that apartment would cost a total of $897, but the same length of stay during Mardi Gras would cost more than $5,400.

Airbnb’s in New Orleans Mardi Gras

Feb 13-14 Rate/Night

Feb 20 Rate/Night $ Rate Increase Percent Increase
Spacious Downtown NOLA $945 $175 $770 440%
Jazzy Penthouse $1,600 $332 $1,268 382%
Hosted by Nola $1,800 $299 $1,401 468%
Hosted by New Orleans Properties $1,600 $188 $1,412 751%
Hosted by Nola Property Management $2,500 $1,000 $1,500 150%
Hosted by Angela $1,280 $380 $900 237%
Hosted by Carolyn $975 $300 $675 225%
Hosted by Sam $1,688 $800 $888 111%
Hosted by Sam $950 $310 $640 206%
Hosted by Southern Girl Property Management $1,250 $425 $825 194%
Private Bedroom $1,000 $46 $954 2,007%
Hosted by Alexander $1,000 $56 $944 1,685%
*All rates and unit availabilities subject to change per host preference

“Airbnb’s price gouging was a dream killer for many football fans during the Super Bowl and the company is continuing that practice with folks looking to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” stated Lauren Windsor, AirbnbWATCH’s spokesperson. “Permitting their “hosts” – who many times — let’s be honest – are real estate professionals – to raise rent by these astronomical rates is a very worrisome precedent that Airbnb is setting at these widely attended events.”

In a San Diego Union-Tribune article, Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs said, “It’s pretty clear that our hosts don’t engage in gouging. When demand for Airbnb increases, supply also tends to increase.  When you look at big events, like for a Super Bowl weekend, there’s maybe a $20 increase.”

Windsor points out the reports exposing Airbnb hosts gouging guests at this year’s Super Bowl and now at Mardi Gras tell a very different story.

“Bottomline, the documented facts in this report expose Airbnb’s hypocrisy for a second time in as many months,” stated Windsor. “Additionally, this gouging further pads the profits of commercial operators essentially running hotels in residential neighborhoods.”

Mardi Gras is scheduled for February 13 this year.