Memorial Hall | Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In the latest episode in the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville rivalry, it appears Lexington Airbnbs saw more visitors and made more money during UK commencement than their Louisville counterparts.

According to a news release from Airbnb, there were 1,410 Airbnb guests in Lexington during UK’s May 4 to 6 graduation. Lexington hosts made a combined $143,000, with each host making around $415, the release said.

UK’s numbers are much higher than UofL’s, which had 90 guests and $8,000 of combined host income for the May 12 ceremony. However, Louisville’s statistics only include Airbnbs in the University and Old Louisville neighborhoods, while Lexington included the entire city.  

Louisville’s growing number of hotels, especially ones downtown and therefore walking distance from ceremonies at the KFC Yum! Center, could cause the difference. Out-of-town guests may have opted for Airbnbs in other neighborhoods, like the Highlands or NuLu, that weren’t included in the Louisville numbers.

In other areas, hotel space is more limited, the release notes. For example, UK’s commencement website warned parents that hotel space would be “very limited” during the commencement time frame.

“By expanding lodging capacity and helping to welcome additional guests during these major events, home sharing facilitates significant economic activity for communities with large universities,” Tom Martinelli, Airbnb policy director, said in the release. “Most of us can relate to having to book hotels one to two years in advance of college graduations.”

The difference could also be blamed on UK’s three days of commencement ceremonies compared to UofL’s one day.

Western Kentucky University also had limited hotel space, with most of the area hotels reportedly selling out for the May 4 to 5 commencement. Bowling Green Airbnbs bested Louisville ones in every category, seeing more guests and making more money, both total income and individual host income.

Louisville did beat one other Kentucky university in two categories: Murray State University-area Airbnbs only netted 60 guests, with its hosts making a total of $5,000.

Before joining Insider Louisville, Krauth was a multiplatform reporter at TechRepublic, where she wrote news stories and features about the intersection of technology and business. Krauth is a graduate of the University of Louisville, where she was an award-winning editor of The Louisville Cardinal and obtained a degree in investigative journalism, with a minor in Russian studies. She completed a prestigious Dow Jones data internship at the Austin American-Statesman last summer. Email Olivia at [email protected]


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