Josh Knapp plans to offer short-term rentals for the Super Bowl for the first time this year.
For the Phoenix Airbnb host, preparing for the big game involves taking care of the guests he has now. Maintaining a positive feedback rating increases his chances of getting future bookings.
"You live and die by those reviews," said Knapp, who co-manages two one-bedroom Airbnbs with his fiancé, Kelsey Wood. "One thing we're doing is to make sure we keep executing five-star reviews, because that only puts you higher in the algorithm and also gives guests more confidence."
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How Airbnb does in Super Bowl cities
Short-term rentals like those offered on Airbnb and Vrbo are poised to contribute to the tourism and economic boost of the 2023 Super Bowl in Arizona.
In 2015, the last time Arizona hosted the Super Bowl, Phoenix-area Airbnb hosts earned a total of $1.1 million for stays during Super Bowl weekend, Airbnb spokesman Haven Thorn said.
That economic potential has grown in subsequent Super Bowls, he said.
"When Atlanta was home to the Super Bowl in February 2019, local hosts earned nearly $3.5 million – and there was $180 million in economic activity generated citywide," he said.
Airbnb set a record of 102.1 million nights booked in the first quarter of 2022, according to the company's financial documents. Company leaders did not mention the impact of the 2022 Super Bowl on Los Angeles bookings in documents or during an earnings call with investors in May.
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While hotels for Super Bowl weekend are already in short supply, Airbnb has properties available, including about 150 in Glendale as of Aug. 15. Currently, the average price for an Airbnb near State Farm Stadium is about $1,535, according to an Airbnb search.
Some private rooms, including one with a king bed about 8 miles from the stadium, cost less than $100 per night. Full homes with multiple bedrooms, particularly those closest to the stadium, are going for more than $1,000 per night. At least three are listed for more than $10,000 per night.
Knapp isn't taking reservations at his two Phoenix Airbnbs for Super Bowl weekend yet. He said he keeps three months of reservations open at a time so he can assess his pricing strategies.
Fighting the 'party house' perceptions
Early on, Airbnb and Vrbo properties in Arizona had few limits to their operations.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, in a quest to bolster Arizona's sharing economy, signed a law in 2016 that prevented municipalities from passing laws restricting short-term rentals.
This had the unintended consequence of some rentals becoming nuisance party houses. State lawmakers in 2019 approved a bill, which Ducey signed, that restricted these properties from hosting big events.
Since then, Arizona cities have sought more control of short-term rentals.
In Glendale, the City Council approved new rules for short-term and vacation rentals that include requiring property owners to register their properties with the city and clarifying that they can only be used for residential use. The rules took effect in June.
The rules aim to prevent house parties, a problem for neighborhoods where rental properties are. Scottsdale and Paradise Valley enacted similar legislation; Glendale based its rules on how these cities took action.
Airbnb bans party-house rentals
Just as Glendale's short-term rental rules took effect, Airbnb announced a permanent ban on all parties and events in its listings worldwide.
It had enacted a temporary ban in August 2020 in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That proved effective in reducing nuisance parties. Complaints dropped 44% worldwide, said Thorn, the Airbnb spokesman.
Knapp has not been immune to unruly short-term renters. He has given warnings for bad behavior and, in extreme cases, had to kick some renters out.
He's involved with a grassroots organization called Arizonans for Responsible Tourism, which advocates for responsible short-term renters.
The group lists red flags that property owners should look for, such as whether renters are not recommended by other hosts, if they ask to bring more guests than the property allows or if they ask for exceptions to the house rules.
Knapp's house rules, for instance, include quiet hours and a limit to the number of cars guests can park.
"We want to keep things safe for the guests and the neighborhood," he said. "I don't want a party house next to me, either."
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'We want people to have a great experience'
Knapp enjoys running short-term rentals because it gives him a chance to share his pride in what Phoenix and Arizona have to offer.
"Our state is beautiful and super diverse," he said.
Knapp said his renters appreciate the attention to detail in his landscaping, interior decorations and cleaning standards to make the homes inviting.
He and his fiancé think of how they'd want a property to look like if they were the guests, he said.
As long as short-term rentals remain lucrative, and as long as state and local governments support responsible rental property owners, Knapp aims to be a part of making memories for people's visits to Phoenix, including the Super Bowl.
"We're not just in this to make as much money as we can," he said. "We want people to have a great experience, and we want this to be a good thing for the neighborhood."
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Want a Super Bowl 2023 Airbnb? Here's what to expect