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Here's the most popular time to get an Airbnb in the Twin Cities

AIrbnbs get busy during a certain weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
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Twin Cities Pride weekend was the most popular time to rent an Airbnb in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In fact, it represented a 225 percent increase over the average number of Airbnb renters in the Twin Cities, according to a new report released by the home sharing network.

The average for each day in Minneapolis and St. Paul? 766, Ben Breit of Airbnb told BringMeTheNews.

The popularity of Airbnb and other short-term rental properties has led to a boom in homeowners renting out their properties – or even just rooms – to travelers looking for a cheap alternative to a traditional hotel, or as a place to stay last-minute.

These rentals are especially popular when big events are happening in a city. Airbnb's report looked at the 14 largest Airbnb markets in the Midwest to determine when cities saw a spike in rentals in the past year (from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016).

In the Twin Cities, the biggest spike was the weekend of June 25-26 – which was Twin Cities Pride. The annual event draws around 400,000 visitors annually, and represents one of the largest LGBTQ pride festivals in the world.

Airbnb says the roughly 800 hosts in the metro area helped accommodate many people who traveled to celebrate.

How does the Twin Cities compare?

The report found that each spike in Airbnb rentals across the Midwest corresponded with a specific event, and the Twin Cities saw the smallest percent increase compared to the other cities. (See the table above.)

Louisville saw the largest percentage increase in visitors compared to average – rentals went up 968 percent the day of the Kentucky Derby.

Despite seeing the smallest increase in visitors, the Twin Cities saw the second-highest number of guests taking advantage of Airbnb, with the report showing there were 39,800 "inbound guests" in the past year.

Chicago is the only city in the Midwest that sees more – and it's a lot more. In the past year, the Windy City's Airbnb community welcomed a whopping 315,400 visitors.

So how about the Super Bowl?

Airbnb says its service benefits local economies, especially during large events where a bunch of out-of-towners visit a city. That's because Airbnb allows cities to increase the number of places where people can spend the night, with resources that already exist – people's homes.

And there's a good chance the Twin Cities will see a spike in short-term rentals the first weekend in February of 2018. That's when the Super Bowl will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Breit says it's tough to speculate how many people will use Airbnb that far in advance, but for past Super Bowls the home-share network estimated about 15,000 people would use Airbnb over Super Bowl weekend, and Airbnb hosts will make hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"We're really excited about the role home sharing can play to help Minneapolis expand lodging capacity for the massive surge of inbound travelers," Breit said.

But there's some controversy

Despite benefits to travelers and hosts, Airbnb and other short-term rental properties have faced their fair share of controversy, both in Minnesota and nationwide.

The hospitality industry has requested short-term rentals be regulated more like hotels and long-term rentals, which have to pay taxes and follow rules set by city officials. And community members, including those in Duluth, have also expressed concerns about safety and the effect it could have on neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, Airbnb launched it's first transparency report to help address some of the issues that have been raised about the program. It has also announced efforts to fight discrimination after reports that some Airbnb homeowners were not renting to people based on their race.

Airbnb, which was founded in 2008, now operates in more than 35,000 cities in 191 countries. More than 100 million guests have stayed in Airbnb rentals globally in the past eight years.

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