LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Money from all over the nation and the world is pouring into Louisville. During Derby season, the city feels the economic fallout.
“We’re talking about $400 million in economic impact — direct economic impact,” said Stacey Yates, director of marketing communications for Louisville Tourism.
Much of that money comes from short-term accommodations, including hotels, motels, and rentals on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. All this helps people get back to work.
“Before the pandemic, we had 70,000 people employed in the hospitality industry,” Yates said. “We haven’t quite gone back on these figures; we are at about 61,000.
Tourists will have to pay for the privilege of this service: Airbnb reports a 343% increase in prices during the Derby weekend.
Deals still available in the Louisville area include a studio in the Highlands for $480 per night and a one-bedroom apartment downtown for $5,000 per night.
“These people who have Airbnbs, they are local citizens making money from this event,” Yates said.
Yates said downtown hotels will hit around 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 sold out for Derby weekend.
“We sold out a few weeks ago,” said Marc Salmon, the hotel’s director of operations and historian. “We are definitely a popular choice because we are at the center of everything.”
Le Brown will not have a vacancy for the Derby weekend for the first time since the 2019 race.
“For us, it’s doing what we do,” Salmon said. “People feel like they are part of Derby history when they come to stay here for Derby.”
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