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College football season is fast approaching and that means football fans will be descending upon all their favorite towns soon. This influx of visitors means hotels will be overwhelmed and fans need more choices for a place to lay their heads for a few nights. 

The demand for short-term rentals is higher than ever, and this couldn’t be more true for popular college football towns, as well. Travelers are looking for accommodations that feel like home and include amenities that they may not be able to find in a traditional hotel setting. College football season is a prime time to capitalize on vacant units by offering them as short-term rentals.

To put this opportunity into perspective, here are some staggering 2018 statistics to think about:

  • The top 10 most attended college football games had an average attendance ranging from 89,000 to 111,000 guests per game [1] 
  • 13 colleges had over one million guests total for all football games [2]
  • As a whole, the Southeastern Conference had almost 7.5 million attendees and the Big Ten had over six million [3] 
  • Notre Dame fans win the individual team bowl, shelling out an average of $817 each home game weekend night for a South Bend, Indiana, vacation rental [4]

In 2018, ApartmentJet communities in Tallahassee, FL, Bryan, TX, Austin, TX and Columbia, MO, saw a great return on short-term rentals. Tallahassee saw an astounding average rate of $535/night during football season while towns like Austin and Columbia average $256 and $225, respectively. [5] And, as you could imagine, these prices only increase as the season approaches.

Vrbo, a site for renting beach houses, cabins, condos and more worldwide, examined data from 2018 from major college football towns across the U.S. Here are Vrbos’s top 10 college football fan passion towns based on per night vacation home rental cost: [6]

  • South Bend, Ind ($817)
  • Ann Arbor, Mich ($772)
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala ($730)
  • State College, PA ($726)
  • Auburn, Ala ($700)
  • Blacksburg, VA ($685)
  • Oxford, Miss ($675)
  • College Station, Texas ($518)
  • Clemson, S.C. ($363)
  • Fayetteville, Ark ($352)

“It’s hard to find people more passionate about their teams than college football fans, but don’t let those passion-pumped prices fool you. Since vacation rentals often accommodate six, eight, or even more guests, the value is remarkable,” said Melanie Fish, Vrbo’s travel expert. “It’s truly a win-win, with fans getting exactly what they need and want, and homeowners generating income.”

Of course, football isn’t the only time college towns see extra visitors. Move-in weekends, family weekends and commencement ceremonies are all prime times for booking accommodations.

Expedia Group Multifamily Solutions is introducing new products and services aimed at helping the industry adapt and thrive in the world of short-term rentals. If you’re ready to learn more about this massive opportunity, simply complete the “Contact Us” form on ExpediaMultifamily.com to set up a meeting to chat about how we help college town communities like yours maximize their short-term rental potential during popular events.


[1][2][3] Source: NCAA 2017 Football Attendance: FBS Home Attendance Leaders. (2018) Retrieved from NCAA website: http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/football_records/Attendance/2018.pdf
[4] Average nightly rental rates in South Bend, Indiana, during home-game weekends for 2018 college football season.
[5] ApartmentJet average nightly rental rates during home games for the 2018 college football season.
[6] Vrbo average nightly rental rates during home-game weekends for 2018.

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