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Massive impact of Airbnb rentals during major UK events

Airbnb economic impact on Liverpool, Glasgow, and Birmingham.

Short-term rentals contribute massively to local economies and help reduce the cost of accommodation for travellers during major events. These are the key findings of a report from Oxford Economics, which examined the impact of Airbnb rentals during three major events hosted in the UK in recent years: the COP26 Conference in Glasgow, the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool.

Key facts

Airbnb listings played a crucial role in meeting accommodation needs during the three events – removing the need for organisers to build extra hotels or other types of housing.

  • Liverpool hosted 17,000 guest nights during the Eurovision Song Contest.

  • Birmingham hosted 47,000 guest nights during the Commonwealth Games.

  • Glasgow hosted 74,000 guest nights during COP26.

The availability of short-term rentals was also good news for travellers – as the increased competition among accommodation providers helped reduce prices by:

  • £28 per night during the European Song Contest.

  • £31 per night during the Commonwealth Games.

  • £32 per night during COP26.

In terms of the economic contribution of these events, the accommodation spending provided valuable income to local hosts, helping to retain visitor spending within the community. Guests also supported the local economy by spending on various products and services, like dining and shopping, thereby contributing to sales for local businesses and providing job opportunities.

The economic impact in each city was estimated to be:

  • £3.9 million during the Eurovision Song Contest.

  • £7.7 million during the Commonwealth Games.

  • £19.9 million during COP26.

The report, which was commissioned by Airbnb, states: “The UK has built a global reputation for hosting major cultural, sporting, and political events, which has helped to showcase its thriving cultural economy and boost its presence on the international stage. However, hosting major events can be expensive and resource intensive. Major events attract a large number of participants and spectators, which can put a strain on infrastructure, especially on hotels and other accommodation, in all but the largest cities in the world. In this context, Airbnb – an online marketplace for travel booking – offers a flexible accommodation alternative in over 2,700 cities, towns, and villages in the UK, helping ease the burden on cities hosting major events without the need for delivering new infrastructure.”

The economic impact of Airbnb in the UK during major events

Speaking about the impact of short-term rentals on Birmingham's hosting of the Commonwealth Games, Neil Rami, Chief Executive, West Midlands Growth Company, said: “The flexibility of Airbnb enabled us to meet the extra demand created by the games, with local hosts supporting visitor nights and increasing the region’s economic value by over £120 million. That meant more people than ever could experience our energetic, youthful and diverse West Midlands region as it shone on the international stage.”

Amanda Cupples, Country Manager, Airbnb, said: “Over the past three years, we’ve seen how major events can elevate different places to the world stage as they welcome guests from across the globe. We’re proud to help towns and cities across the UK host these moments, enabling local businesses and families to benefit from the tourism economy.”


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