As the country braces for Donald Trump’s presidency, Lyudmila Tregubova is preparing in her own way: By readying the two bedrooms in her Capitol Hill home for overnight guests during January’s inauguration.
“With inauguration, you post a room — and all of a sudden it’s booked,” said Tregubova, 57, who began renting out her house during President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. “The demand is big.”
As thousands make plans to descend on Washington for Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration — as well as the next day’s Women’s March on Washington — local Airbnb bookings are nearing all-time highs, company spokesman Crystal Davis says.
More than 10,000 people are expected to book Airbnb rentals in the Washington area for Inauguration Day — a 600 percent increase from 2013 during President Obama’s second inauguration, according to company projections.
“This is, without a doubt, the busiest event for us,” said Karl Scarlett, owner of Great Dwellings, a District-based company that helps homeowners manage Airbnb rentals. “January in D.C. is usually brutal for this industry. But when there’s an inauguration, people are literally booking in the $1,000-a-night range.”
A recent search on Airbnb’s website turned up listings commanding as much as $10,000 per night for a two-bedroom condo at the Newseum Residences. With taxes and fees, the total for a three-night stay was $36,532.
A “bright hip spot in Columbia Heights” that generally rents for $90 a night, was listed for a nightly rate of $1,333. With taxes and fees, that would set you back $4,882 for a three-night stay.
Looking for a bit more space? A “luxury rowhouse” in Logan Circle promises two bedrooms for nearly $2,700 a night.
Lara Hawketts, owner of Home Sweet City, which manages local Airbnb rentals, says inauguration weekend prices are, on average, four times higher than the usual going-rate. The company is also requiring a seven-day minimum for inauguration bookings.
“This is likely the most people will ever pay,” she said. During Cherry Blossom season, for example, prices are marked up about 50 percent. “It’s been interesting to see the rise in demand.”
Right after the election, she says, things weren’t looking so great. After Trump’s win last week, Hawkett says she received a wave of phone calls — all cancellations — from Hillary Clinton supporters. A number of area hotels told The Washington Post that they had similar experiences.
“We had a bunch of bookings pre-election — and literally the day after the results came in, they all canceled,” she said. “But now it’s creeping back up.”
Tregubova says she’s prepared for whatever January’s festivities may bring. After all, she says, in 2009, she had 16 guests staying under her roof.
“Everything was booked, so people were saying, ‘Please, please, we’ll sleep on the floor,'” she said, adding that she ended up renting out her parlor to a family of four who brought their own air mattress.
She has since downsized, from a five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom, and says she’s learned a thing or two about playing host to inaugural revelers.
“It’s simple,” she said. “I never talk about politics with my guests — even if they ask me to.”