IOC and Airbnb partnership


Airbnb last week made its biggest move to date in the sports market by agreeing a nine-year contract to become a top-tier partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a deal that promises to open up new possibilities for fans attending the Olympic Games.

The online marketplace for accommodation and tourism experiences has joined the IOC’s ‘TOP’ sponsorship programme through to 2028, a period taking in next year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, along with the 2024 and 2028 events in Paris and Los Angeles, and the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics in Beijing and Milano/Cortina, respectively.

The agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organisers and stakeholders, minimise the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities. Working together with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Airbnb will also promote accommodation that supports accessibility for people with disabilities or other needs.

Olympic Connection

Airbnb has history with the Olympic Games, along with other sporting events, with the company having served as a domestic sponsor of the local organising committees of the past two Olympic Games – PyeongChang 2018 and Rio 2016.

A recent World Economic Forum study found that during Rio 2016 the additional capacity provided through Airbnb’s platform was equivalent to 257 hotels for guests, providing approximately $30m in direct revenue for hosts and generating an estimated total economic activity of $100m in three weeks.

Beyond the sustainability and logistic benefits to the city, Airbnb explained that its partnership with Rio 2016 amplified community engagement and encouraged people-to-people connection between domestic and international visitors, and city residents who were or became hosts, business owners or entrepreneurs.

Airbnb also said its community provided extra flexibility to accommodate last-minute visitors at stable pricing. In the two weeks prior to the Games, Airbnb said a reservation spike increased total guest arrivals in Rio by 29%, but the price per guest per night remained steady at $55.

During PyeongChang 2018, Airbnb hosts earned a collective $2.3m in income providing accommodation to 15,000 visitors who would have otherwise required 46 hotels. Outside of the Olympic Games, for the recently concluded Rugby World Cup in Japan, Airbnb hosts across the country welcomed more than 650,000 travellers during the tournament, earning more than $70m in host income.

However, it is through Airbnb’s Experiences offering that the fan experience at future Olympic Games is set to be ramped up.