Airbnb has blocked customers in the U.S. and Canada from taking advantage of their short-term rental service for one-night stays at homes on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31. The decision is an effort to aid public health by attempting to stop parties and gatherings as they could potentially spread coronavirus.
Airbnb Takes Action
Parties have always been an issue for the short-term rental company, but concern has continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the newest action that the company has taken in an effort to curb parties from their rental properties. Earlier this August, Airbnb announced a global ban on events and parties at their properties. They also changed their occupancy cap worldwide to just 16 people. A few weeks later, the company switched policy and blocked its guests from being able to book homes in nearby vicinities in the U.S., Australia, and Canada.
Airbnb will move forward by reimbursing guests who have booked reservations that fit these criteria. To ensure that hosts will not lose any money, customers are being reimbursed directly.
Airbnb admits that not all properties were being booked for parties, but has committed to keeping their community of guests and hosts safe during the pandemic. The company’s spokesperson, Ben Breit, told USA Today that the company will also “bolster our existing protections and technologies aimed at stopping as many large gatherings as possible that weekend.”
The Future of Airbnb
Airbnb is taking action through the following methods:
- Increasing restrictions for two-night and three-night reservations that could have a higher risk for parties.
- Having guests who booked reservations between October 28 and November 1 acknowledge that they will not host parties or they will be banned from Airbnb for doing so.
- Increasing staffing and agents on the neighborhood support line during the weekend in case neighbors see a party next door.
In May, the company removed a few of the filters from their search engine including, “event friendly” and “parties and events allowed.” They also removed them from their property listings. In addition, they directed all guests to follow the COVID-19 public health laws that had been enacted.
In July after issues with house parties arose, the company chose to impose a restriction on guests who were under 25. Guests who had received a negative review or fewer than three positive reviews were also restricted from being able to book an entire home in their nearby vicinity.
While unauthorized parties have never been allowed on Airbnb, there have been major crackdowns with the pandemic. Since last November, the company has been slowly enforcing stricter limits with a ban on party house listings worldwide. They have also removed “listings that create persistent neighborhood nuisance” and conducted manual reviews of properties and reservations that were considered high-risk.