Airbnb expects its biggest night ever thanks to solar eclipse

With nearly 7,000 rooms booked across South Carolina next month, Airbnb says it’s expecting its biggest night ever.

That number may well increase. There’s still plenty of time to book a room on the site, but the company is expecting bookings to be nearly five times higher than usual on August 20th.

So what is driving people to the Palmetto State on a Sunday night during August? The solar eclipse is set to be the following afternoon.

The company have released figures which show the impact of the eclipse on its business which demonstrates a point. It’s argued that allowing home rentals gives cities more flexibilities to absorb visitors.

Will Burns, Airbnb’s director of public policy has said, “Home sharing gives cities big and small the ability to scale up quickly for major events and creates opportunities for local residents to earn additional income by sharing extra space in their homes,”

This is something new in the Lowcountry’s pitch with regards to a debate over how to handle temporary rentals. Critics have stated that they are concerned that by listing homes on sites such as Airbnb rent prices will be pushed higher in Charlston and turn the character of the neighbourhood.

This debate is highly significant because the city is consistently one of Airbnb’s busiest in South California. Charleston has accounted for 2,500 houses booked during the period of the eclipse.

Airbnb’s competitor, Home Away, has also seen a big jump in bookings for the night of 20th August. The bookings for this company across South Carolina has surged approximately 65 per cent in comparison to this time last year.

Moreover, in Columbia basically every hotel is fully booked. Visitors are snatching up rooms in the suburbs in order to sleep near the capital city.

“I feel like we’re going to be out of hotel rooms,” said Andrew Lucas, who runs the Columbia hotel chapter of the S.C Restaurant and Lodging Association.