Airbnb really, really doesn’t want guests to host parties.
The company is rolling out an initiative in the U.S., Canada and Australia that blocks guests from booking homes on short notice in cities where they live in an effort to limit unauthorized house parties, according to a company statement provided by Airbnb spokesman Charlie Urbancic.
Airbnb began the pilot in March in the U.S. and Canada. Data from the company has shown last-minute reservations historically lead to a disproportionate number of parties. Parties have been a problem for the short-term rental company for some time, before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
And some states around the country have specific social distancing measures in place and limits on gatherings.
Airbnb will use technology to block last-minute bookings of homes given risk factors, including information about the listing, reservation and guest. If a guest has no reviews and tries to book an entire home locally the day of their stay, they may be barred form doing so. A guest with positive reviews, however, may be able to book such a listing.
Guests unable to book would be redirected to the company’s boutique hotel offerings instead of an entire-home booking.
The company has blocked about 250,000 reservations between this pilot program and restrictions announced in July to guests under age 25.
Airbnb announced a global ban on parties and events at Airbnb listings earlier this summer and an occupancy cap of 16 people worldwide.
“This party ban applies to all future bookings on Airbnb and it will remain in effect indefinitely until further notice,” according to a company statement provided by Airbnb spokesperson Ben Breit at the time.
As the pandemic began, the company removed its “event friendly” search filter and its “parties and events allowed” house rules from listings. It also directed guests to follow local COVID-19 public health laws.
Unauthorized parties were not technically allowed on the platform, with 73% of its listings already banning them as part of their house rules. The company laid down stricter limits last year with a ban on “party houses” worldwide, or “listings that create persistent neighborhood nuisance.” It’s also done manual reviews of what it considers high-risk reservations and restricted the rental permissions for guests under age 25 as part of its effort to get house parties under control.
The company announced earlier this year that U.S. guests under 25 who have fewer than three positive reviews and any negative reviews would be restricted from booking entire homes in areas close to where they live. The company’s latest restriction complements this previous effort.
Airbnb in August filed preliminary paperwork for selling stock on Wall Street.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff; The Associated Press
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