Airbnb hosts are in the final turn for Derby bookings

Airbnb hosts are in the final turn for Derby bookings

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With Churchill Downs allowing just a fraction of the normal fans to this year’s Kentucky Derby, Airbnb owners around the city are wondering if their seasonal bookings will happen.

A look at the historic Churchill Downs Twin Spires from the first turn.
A look at the historic Churchill Downs Twin Spires from the first turn. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“Currently right now we have 10 units in this building,” Louie Leger said as he opened the door to a newly renovated apartment in the Fincastle Building on West Broadway. “All ten are booked and we have several more requests for others. So we’re doing another 10 on the fourth floor here that we’re looking to have ready by Derby.”

New to the Derby Airbnb business, Leger renovated and upgraded the units expecting crowds in May. Now all in for September, he still expects to sell out. Leger is not alone in his optimism.

Some Louisville Airbnb owners say properties already booked for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.
Some Louisville Airbnb owners say properties already booked for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)

“I think for Derby, a lot of people have been waiting and sort of ready to push the button,” Airbnb Host Bart Borghuis said. “And now that there’s an official declaration of how it’s going to be done, people are making their plans.”

In 2019, AirDNA, which tracks international bookings, showed a total of over 14,000 nights booked at Louisville Airbnb properties the weeks before and after Derby.
In 2019, AirDNA, which tracks international bookings, showed a total of over 14,000 nights booked at Louisville Airbnb properties the weeks before and after Derby. (Source: James Thomas, WAVE 3 News)

Borghuis said he had to flexible after his house with a pool in the Highlands was booked by a couple for the Derby in May. The reservation was extended to September only for the couple to cancel their plans when their General Admission tickets to the Derby were no longer accepted. Borghuis said his house will likely be booked again soon.

In 2019, AirDNA, which tracks international bookings, showed a total of over 14,000 nights booked at Louisville Airbnb properties the weeks before and after Derby. Even though this year’s attendance will be significantly smaller than in years past, the allure of the Derby still appears strong with some properties already booked for next year.

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