Nearly 10 million people are expected to travel to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics, nearly doubling the population of the metro area. It raises the question: Where will they all sleep?
Everyone — from spectators to volunteers to journalists — is in a mad dash for lodging for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will overtake Paris from July 26 through September 8. Demand for Airbnbs and Vrbo accommodations in Paris and its suburbs over the dates of the games is already tracking 519% and 829% higher, respectively, than the two weeks before July 26, according to the analytics site AirDNA.
AirDNA also found that Airbnb and Vrbo rates for the event dates have already doubled, jumping from an average of $435 to $932 a night. For hosts in France, the second-largest market for Airbnb behind the US, the Olympics are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cash in.
Paris hosts whom BI spoke with are gearing up to seize the moment, from moving in with in-laws to listing a home for the first time. Meanwhile, spectators and volunteers who handle their own lodging are desperate for affordable places to lay their heads.
Parisians scramble to cash in on the Olympic opportunity
Cyrille Frémont, a Paris resident, bought two apartments in the Saint-Denis neighborhood north of the Paris city center in 2016 to list as short-term rentals — she planned to use the income to pay for her mother’s nursing-home care. It was a lucky investment: The Stade de France, the main stadium for the 2024 Olympics, is just a 15-minute walk from her Airbnbs, making them prime rentals.
“You’ll be able to see the stadium and the fireworks from the balcony,” she told BI.
Typically, Frémont charges €200, or about $215, a night for each of her two units — a two-bedroom apartment that can sleep up to four and a three-bedroom apartment that can sleep up to six — but she plans to use the games as a windfall. She’s charging €100 per person per night in her two units and hopes to bring in five figures.
“It’s difficult to study what’s a fair price, but I didn’t want to charge too much,” she said. She said nearby hotels are charging about €950 per night.
Twenty minutes outside Paris, Mindy Rozenberg is moving in with her in-laws for two weeks in the hopes of nabbing a €1,000-a-night reservation for her spacious three-bedroom home with a pizza oven and a barbecue setup.
Located near the Palace of Versailles, her home is a short drive from the site of the equestrian events. She’s hoping to use the money to put her 16-year-old through college.
Her family does not normally rent out the house, and Rozenberg’s husband has been concerned about letting strangers into their space. But Rozenberg has faith that volunteers and spectators making the effort to fly across the world won’t be nightmare guests.
“If people are paying for flights, tickets, and accommodations, I don’t think they’re looking to just trash a house,” she said.
Airbnb and guests alike hope hosts keep prices reasonable
In 2019, Airbnb announced a $500 million deal with the International Olympic Committee to officially sponsor the games, with an agreement to reduce housing costs for organizers and to minimize the need for the host city to build new accommodation infrastructure.
Now Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, is encouraging Parisians to put their homes on the short-term-rental platform.
“Surveys suggest as many as 20% of people in Paris are interested in hosting. If they put their (homes) on Airbnb and there is enough housing, prices will stay within reason,” Chesky told Reuters.
Airbnb could also help drive significant economic benefits for France. “In the Paris region alone, more than half a million visitors are expected to stay on Airbnb for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, enabling hosts to earn around €2,000 over the Games period and generating €1 billion in economic benefits in France,” Emmanuel Marill, EMEA director at Airbnb, told BI in an emailed statement.
Some Olympic travelers have been able to skirt the sky-high rates hosts are seeking. Alexandre Goge, a badminton enthusiast who lives nearly a three-hour drive west of Paris in Normandy, is one lucky volunteer who nabbed affordable accommodations.
The games chose the 28-year-old, who works in supply-chain management, as a volunteer referee, giving him the chance to officiate some of the most important matches in his sport.
“It’s quite a dream to be a part of the Olympics,” he said.
Less of a dream, however, has been the hassle of finding an affordable place to sleep. As a volunteer, the Olympics do not compensate Goge for his work and he must find his own accommodations. On a tight budget to find a place to stay for two weeks, he went to church to pray for an affordable Airbnb.
He found a small room for €50 a night near the newly built badminton stadium in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, bringing his total for the games to €900.
“Even if it’s expensive,” he said, “I don’t know when I’ll have the Olympics in my home country again.”