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Eclipse Spotlights a Revenue Opportunity for Travel Sector

This week’s eclipse could mark a bright spot for companies in the travel sector.

As Reuters reported Friday (April 5), parts of the U.S. that are on the “path of totality” are witnessing unprecedented demand for lodging from eager consumers who want to see the total solar eclipse, which will happen Monday (April 8).

Airbnb says its listings on the path of totality — where people will be able to see the sun’s corona — have seen occupancy levels jump to nearly 90%.

Occupancy for all active rental listings across the path in the United States, Canada and Mexico was at 92.4% for the evening of April 7, a sharp rise from about 30% a few days prior, according to travel data company AirDNA.

“It is a nice bump in demand in a relatively slow period of the year. Typically April isn’t a high point for short-term rental demand,” said Jamie Lane, chief economist at AirDNA.

The company noted that short-term rental listings in New Hampshire and Missouri were seeing demand surge a respective 514% and 338%.

Meanwhile, hotel, rental car and flight bookings have also tripled, the report said, citing data from consultancy firm Navan, with room prices in some cities increasing by more than two-fold.

And Hertz said advanced rental car bookings for April 6 had risen 3,000% in cities along the path of the eclipse. The company has been spent more than a year getting ready to deal with the rush by increasing staffing and vehicles in high-demand areas.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS on Saturday (April 6) wrote about the many retail brands offering eclipse-themed promotions, such as Krispy Kreme’s “Total Solar Eclipse Doughnut” or Warby Parker’s offering of ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses at all of its locations.

“Solar eclipses are rare events that capture the public’s attention,” that report said. “Launching a themed initiative during this time allows brands and retailers to use the heightened interest and excitement surrounding the eclipse to maximize exposure.”

The buzz around the eclipse can increase engagement from consumers, letting brands and retailers capitalize on the enthusiasm to drive traffic to their stores or websites, boost sales and attract new customers. 

“Plus, solar eclipses generate social media conversation, providing brands and retailers with an opportunity to amplify their message and reach a broader audience,” PYMNTS wrote.