Airbnb launches ‘anti-party’ crackdown for summer vacation

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Planning a big Memorial Day holiday kickoff this summer? Or a midsummer Independence Day party? Don’t try it in an Airbnb rental.

Airbnb has announced that the company will institute strict “anti-party” restrictions for reservations on July 4, 2022. The company will extend these restrictions for the first time for Memorial Day weekend.

The National Football League (NFL) is jokingly called the “league without fun” for its ban on player celebrations. To some, it may seem like Airbnb’s “anti-party” initiative is an attempt to snatch the crown from non-fun. Or is Airbnb trying to protect communities — and its own reputation — from the consequences of an out-of-control party?

Who doesn’t love a good party, especially one at a rented house that you don’t have to clean up afterwards? Memories of TV shows and movies about parties like Project X (“a celebration of bad behavior”) have undoubtedly stuck in the minds of former teenagers now old enough to book their own rentals.

This, of course, is exactly what colocation leaders like Airbnb and VRBO don’t want. Perhaps the biggest horror show took place in 2019, when a one-day Halloween rental in Orinda, California turned into a party of one hundred people and a shooting that killed some. five.

This incident caught the attention of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, resulting in the announcement of Airbnb’s global party ban in August 2020. Airbnb’s Parties and Events Policy prohibits gatherings of more than sixteen people and “all disruptive parties and events… Guests who host such parties and potentially hosts may be suspended or removed from Airbnb’s platform.

The company is also trying to prevent unauthorized parties on Airbnb listings by “blocking some one-night booking attempts and redirecting some two-night booking attempts to book guests who don’t have a review history. positive”. As an Airbnb spokesperson said, “As summer approaches, we continue to strengthen our commitment to trying to stop as many unauthorized parties as possible in the United States.”

Airbnb says the ban has resulted in fewer unauthorized parties. During the weekend of July 4, 2021, 126,000 guests with no history of positive reviews were “impacted” by the anti-party system. Airbnb’s official party policy is here.

Yet, problems remain. In April 2022, a host rented a property in suburban Houston through Airbnb. Turns out it was for a 16 year old’s birthday party. Unfortunately, it also featured a 23-second, 40-shot shootout. Fortunately, there was only one injured, but many parked cars with bullet holes.

Airbnb, dependent on maintaining good relationships with communities, tries to “publicize our neighborhood helpline” at airbnb.com/neighbors. It includes a 24/7 hotline allowing neighbors to contact Airbnb in real time “if they spot a party going on at a home they believe is listed on Airbnb.” If so, Airbnb says its security team will work to support the neighbor, work with law enforcement, and take action against those responsible for the party.

Airbnb says it will leverage its technology that restricts local or last-minute bookings by guests with no history of positive reviews on Airbnb. Travelers who have already received positive reviews on Airbnb will not be subject to these restrictions.

Airbnb is also introducing “anti-party attestations” for guests trying to make local reservations. They must affirmatively attest that they understand that Airbnb prohibits parties. If they break the rule, they may be subject to legal action by Airbnb.

Interestingly, rivals Airbnb and Vrbo (an Expedia brand), the two most popular vacation rental platforms among guests and property managers, are working together on what they call the Community Integrity program.

Hari Nair, SVP Lodging Account Management at Expedia, said, “We share the same sentiment and partner with Airbnb. The two companies share data about hosts and guests throwing parties, so that someone causing trouble doesn’t end up signing up on the other site unknowingly.

Airbnb says it is also working on risk detection technologies “that help stop disruptive parties before they even start.” One such technology, Noise Aware, is also offered to hosts by Vrbo. Noise Aware is a device that monitors the volume, or audio volume, in the rental property.

The host or property owner receives a “ping” on their smartphone if the audio volume in the house exceeds a certain level, explained Tim Rosolio, Vacation Rental Success Partner at Vrbo. He says the device costs around $150, which the host pays for. Rosolio operates a vacation rental itself on the Vrbo platform. When he received a ping, he simply texted the guest, and got a quick apology and a lower volume.

Nair says wild parties get a lot of press but are a tiny fraction of Vrba’s business. “Most people are reasonable travelers.” Nair says Vrbo favors families and large groups, over couples and individuals. “We ask our hosts to set rules, like a maximum number of people, to use products like Noise Aware, to have a Ring device.”

The idea is to maintain a family-friendly environment and keep movies like Project X on the TV screen, without happening live in the house.

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