Personal Finance

Philly expects up to $300M for DNC

A view of Philadelphia looking toward City Hall on July 21, 2016. The Democratic National Convention will formally kick off on Monday.
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You can still find rooms in the City of Brotherly Love for the Democratic National Convention if you don't mind paying unbrotherly prices.

Average hotel rates in Philadelphia this week are up 51 percent year over year, compared with a 38 percent rise for the Republican National Convention last week in Cleveland, according to bookings data from travel site TripAdvisor.

Here's what you can expect to spend for less-than-luxurious accommodations:

  • A two-star hotel room in Philadelphia ranges from $134 per night to $499 per night during the convention, according to data from hotel booking site Priceline.
  • An extra star will cost $223 per night to $699 per night, Priceline estimates.

Searches on booking sites for rooms in Philadelphia have spiked as people look for last-minute accommodations, and are now up 265 percent compared with equivalent days last year, travel site Hipmunk estimates. That spike doesn't compare to the 393 percent increase in searches for Cleveland rooms during the recent political convention, according to Hipmunk.

Philadelphia versus Cleveland

Philadelphia officials expect fewer out-of-town visitors for the DNC than Cleveland estimated for the RNC, but project a larger economic impact. (Keep in mind that Philadelphia, which has a population of 1.55 million, is nearly four times as large as Cleveland, population 390,000.)

About 40,000 people are expected to visit Philadelphia for the DNC, booking 15,000 hotel rooms and bringing in up to $300 million for the city, according to the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Destination Cleveland, the city's convention and visitors bureau, forecast 50,000 RNC visitors, with 16,700 rooms booked and direct spending by conventioneers of up to $250 million.

Home-sharing sites, such as Airbnb, and higher average hotel room prices in Philly compared with Cleveland contributed to lower estimates of booked rooms, said Julie Coker Graham, president and CEO of The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"Definitely, the use of Airbnb is a force we need to wrap our arms around in convention business," Coker Graham said.

Philly visitors turn to home sharing

The average Airbnb host in Philly will earn roughly $850 during the DNC by renting out their space, according to the company. Typical Cleveland hosts earned $1,500 during the GOP confab.

Though the Cleveland hosts have higher average earnings, more people are expected to stay at Airbnb-listed places during the DNC 5,200 visitors compared with 1,900 at Airbnbs in Cleveland.

Two-thirds of Cleveland Airbnb users and 25 percent of Philly users tried the home-sharing site for the first time during the convention.

So whatever happens coming out of the political conventions, Airbnb is a clear winner.