The Kentucky Derby contributes a lot of money to Louisville’s hotel and short-term rental industries

The Kentucky Derby contributes a lot of money to Louisville's hotel and short-term rental industries

Stacey Yates, director of marketing communications for Louisville Tourism, said, “We’re talking $400 million in direct economic benefit.”

Money is coming into Louisville from all across the country and the world. The city benefits financially during Derby season.

Short-term lodging, such as hotels, motels, and rentals on sites like Airbnb and VRBO, account for a large portion of that money. It’s all geared toward getting folks back to work.

“We had 70,000 people employed in the hospitality industry before the pandemic,” Yates added. “We haven’t quite reached those figures; we’re about 61,000 now.”

Tourists will have to pay for the privilege of that service: Airbnb reports a 343% increase in prices during Derby weekend.

Offerings still available in the Louisville area include a studio in the Highlands for $480 per night, and a one-bedroom downtown for $5,000 per night.

“Those people that have Airbnbs, those are local citizens that are making money off of this event,” Yates said.

Yates said hotels downtown would hit about 95% occupancy over the weekend.

Prices as of April 29 are, on the low end, $999 per night at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott, or, on the high end, $2,569 per night at the Omni Louisville. The historic Brown Hotel is all booked up for Derby weekend.

“We sold out a few weeks ago,” Marc Salmon, director of operations and the hotel’s historian said. “We’re definitely a popular choice because we’re in the center of it all.” The Brown will have no vacancies for Derby weekend for the first time since 2019′s race.

“For us it’s doing what we do,” Salmon said. “People feel like they’re part of Derby history when they come to stay here for Derby.”

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