Airbnb CEO urges Parisians to put homes up for rent for Olympics

By Elizabeth Pineau

PARIS (Reuters) -Airbnb is expecting to host up to half a million people in Paris during the 2024 Olympics and is urging more Parisians to put their homes up for rent, Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky said on Tuesday.

The more listings there are, the more prices will be contained, Chesky told Reuters, amid fears that prices could rocket and accommodation for the Games next August could become unaffordable for some.

“A lot of people need housing. They don’t have enough hotel rooms here in Paris to accommodate everyone,” Chesky said.

Paris’ tourism office expects some 16 million people to visit the wider Paris region for the Olympics and Paralympics.

“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 said.

“If not enough people put their homes on Airbnb and people don’t have enough … hotels and they can’t build more hotels, that’s going to increase prices.”

Airbnb, which became an Olympic partner in 2019, is dealing with pushback from local authorities across the world amid competition between short-stay holiday rentals and longer term rentals for residents.

Chesky said it would be made clear to hosts that the listings with the best value for money would be given priority for search results.

“So while hotel prices are going up, I will make sure that Airbnb is more affordable than hotels for the equivalent amount of space when people are travelling for Paris for the Olympics. I think we can do that,” he said.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Alison Williams)