Philadelphia ranks as the third most popular destination for Airbnb guests this Labor Day weekend. That’s largely due to the Made in America festival, which returns this year.
Last year, when the pandemic canceled Jay-Z’s annual music festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia didn’t crack the top 10 locations for guests during the holiday weekend. Many Airbnb guests stayed away from big cities.
Guests feel more comfortable traveling to urban locations now that more people have gotten vaccinated.
“What we saw last summer through this summer was that as travel was beginning to return, consumers were really prioritizing going to more rural destinations,” said Liz DeBold Fusco, communications lead for North America at Airbnb. “This is the beginning of what we’re seeing as the shift to people returning to more urban areas again.”
Airbnb guests generally are choosing mid-sized cities and “getaway” destinations as they feel more comfortable traveling. In line with those trends, Anchorage, Alaska, and Kansas City, Mo., are the No. 1 and No. 2 cities for Airbnb guests this weekend. After Philadelphia, Mexico City and Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, round out the top five Labor Day weekend destinations.
After the announcement in late May that Made in America was returning to Philadelphia, the number of searches in May and June for Airbnb properties in the city for Labor Day weekend rose by more than 150%.
Organizers expect 50,000 to 60,000 attendees a day at the two-day concert, the largest music event in Philadelphia since the start of the pandemic. The festival Saturday and Sunday will require masks and either COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test. (The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people should not travel during Labor Day weekend.)
Before vaccinations were widely available, many Airbnb guests felt safer outdoors and in nature, so sites that offered those were popular. The share of booked trips in rural areas nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020. The top three destinations for Labor Day weekend last year were South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island, California’s Big Bear Lake, and Arizona’s Lake Havasu City. Scranton ranked No. 5 as the only Pennsylvania city in the top 10.
Beyond holidays, families’ weekend trips lasting three to four days were up 70% in the second quarter of 2021, compared with the same time in 2019.
Looking ahead to the fall, about a third of Airbnb searches are for stays in large cities, with New York, Chicago, and Boston at the top of guests’ lists. Three in five long-term stays of 28 nights or longer are booked in cities.