Airbnb has discovered methods to discourage massive gatherings over the vacations

That secret party house tantrum you were hoping for on New Years Eve? Don’t even think about booking it on Airbnb.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the short-term rental website restricted listings to prevent large gatherings of the kind that health officials urge people to avoid. This includes introducing a worldwide ban on all parties and events until further notice and restricting the booking of entire homes by users under the age of 25 in the areas where they live. This has resulted in more than 770,000 blocked reservation attempts in the US and Canada, according to a spokeswoman.

Over the Halloween weekend, Airbnb banned reservations for one night on lists for entire houses to cut down on parties. A similar (if somewhat more relaxed) measure will be implemented for New Year’s Eve, which prohibits guests without positive reviews from reserving a night for entire houses.

Guests who have received positive reviews in the past are not subject to the rule, and those who have booked a New Year’s Eve night before December 3 can also act on their plans.

Given tight travel restrictions around the world and the fact that people are tired of not socializing, many have turned to short term rental sites to get out of their homes and hang out with friends.

The companies have worked with city, county, and state officials to try to contain such gatherings, but it can be challenging. The Los Angeles Police Department has responded to numerous complaints about party houses since the spring, including one in May that saw more than 100 people partying on a property in the Hollywood Hills.

Airbnb has a wealth of user data that is used to analyze and predict guest behavior and has implemented “high risk detection systems” that flag potentially problematic reservations – such as bookings for large groups – for manual review.

The technology examines attributes such as the length of a user’s stay, whether he or she has received positive reviews in the past, the size of the listing, and the number of nights on the reservation. The San Francisco-based company said it identified and canceled around 9,000 high-risk reservations in the US and Canada.

In September, Airbnb launched an initiative to prevent guests in their hometowns from booking homes on extremely short notice. This resulted in more than 170,000 reservation attempts being blocked in the US and Canada. Legal action has also been taken against guests and party organizers, including in Sacramento and Glendora.

Airbnb users who have been banned from booking reservations have expressed their frustration on social media.

“I’m 2 hours from home in another state and need to book a last minute Airbnb. That won’t let me because I run the risk of having a party. One hour of support and you can’t overwrite it, ”tweeted user Michael Fisk in October. “Tell me to get a hotel – I’m a 4 year old superhost.”

“So Airbnb won’t let me book ‘last minute’ spots even though I have good guest reviews because I’m under 25,” tweeted another in August.

Guests who have made vacation reservations but want to withdraw because of COVID concerns or new shutdown rules may find the host and company less sympathetic than expected: Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy does not apply to reservations made after March 14th for COVID- were made. related reasons other than actual illness. The rationale: When COVID was declared a global pandemic, “its consequences were no longer unexpected, including the risk of continued or new travel and movement restrictions,” the company said.

However, if an Airbnb host or guest is currently suffering from COVID-19, it is “Always Covered”.

Airbnb went public this month, and its stocks more than doubled on their trading debut in one of the biggest rallies on the first day of all time. Founded in 2008, the company is currently valued at $ 97.5 billion.

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