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Looking for a Cleveland total eclipse rental? Thousands across the country are too

Coly Puzzuoli
The view from inside an Airbnb in Cleveland. The city is one of the most sought-after destinations for the upcoming total solar eclipse. Thousands are expected to book rentals in Cleveland through the site, an Airbnb spokesperson said.

Some Northeast Ohio vacation rental hosts are looking to cash in on being in the dark during the upcoming total solar eclipse in April.
Cleveland is one of the top 10 most sought-after cities to visit for the celestial event, according a report released by Airbnb Thursday.

As most hotels in the path of totality are already booked up, some visitors are turning to short-term home rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO. Airbnb recently saw a 1,000% increase in searches for stays for the eclipse, said Haven Thorn, North American communications manager for Airbnb.

“That April 8 weekend has just seen a skyrocketed amount of searches on the platform for stays across the path of totality," Thorn said.

Cleveland ranked 6th on Airbnb's list of most booked destinations — 4th for U.S. cities — in the path of totality. Austin, Texas topped the list, followed by Mazatlan, Mexico, Dallas, Indianapolis, and Montreal, Canada.

Cleveland is also one of five regions named in the report as a trending domestic destination for U.S. travelers.

The demand for bookings isn't exclusive to the northeast region of the state, Thorn added.

“We’re seeing interest across the entire state of Ohio, not just in Cleveland. We’re seeing an over 600% surge in searches on the platform in Ohio for the solar eclipse weekend," Thorn said.

The selling point for Ohio? Its many parks and outdoor activities, Thorn added.

“I think what’s driving the trend that we're seeing with these cities that are booked on the path of totality is, they’re great destinations to enjoy the great outdoors," Thorn said. "They’re cities, but also, they’re proximal to other gorgeous places in the state where you can see the solar eclipse, but maybe go for a hike after."

More than 1,000 new hosts nationwide are welcoming guests for the first time to help meet the demand, Thorn added.

"They realize that, 'hey, this is a significant economic opportunity for me. I can open up my home and make a significant amount of income in a short amount of time,'" Thorn said.

Meanwhile, Northeast Ohio emergency management officials are encouraging residents to watch the celestial event from home, rather than travel to a business or another residence. Emergency officials are concerned about traffic jams and crashes due to the surge in individuals driving to an eclipse-related event that day.

The Cleveland Guardians are hosting their home opener later that evening. 

“We’re telling everyone to stay home,” Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said in a virtual press conference in Feb. “Watch the eclipse at home, and let your guests sleep on the couch, but make sure that you just keep everyone safe.”

Eclipse watch parties are likely on the mind of many of the visitors traveling to town. According to Airbnb’s report, 76% of guests said a backyard was important to them in their location search, and 59% wanted a private space for just themselves and their group.

Additionally, 49% of guests wanted a local event or outdoor experience.

The April 8 eclipse may be the only one of this kind that people will see in their lifetime, officials said. The next time Ohio is expected to be in the path of totality is 2099.

The company is seeing a nearly 40% increase in searches for outdoor destinations such as yurts and campers, he added.
Much of Northeast Ohio is in the path of totality, including Akron and Lorain. NASA predicts the path of totality of the eclipse will occur in the region around 3:15 p.m. on April 8.

Corrected: March 1, 2024 at 1:40 PM EST
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Ohio has seen a 6,000% surge in searches for bookings. The correct percentage is 600%.
Anna Huntsman covers Akron, Canton and surrounding communities for Ideastream Public Media.