Airbnb says it will use new technology to deter customers in the U.S. and Canada from using the rental service to throw parties.
Short-term rental services like Airbnb and Vrbo have struggled to prevent large, unapproved gatherings from taking place at their bookings, creating problems for neighbors and hosts.
In August 2020, Airbnb implemented a temporary "party-ban," which placed a ban on all parties, and also set an occupancy limit of 16. Parties at Airbnb listings became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic due to safety measures and restrictions at bars, clubs and restaurants.
In June, Airbnb made the "party-ban" permanent, but lifted the 16-person occupancy limit. The decision to keep the party ban in place was based on feedback from Airbnb's host community. Airbnb stated that the party ban of 2020 initially aimed to decrease neighborhood nuisance, while also slowing the spread of COVID-19. The new rule resulted in 6,600 users being banned from the platform in 2021 alone.
Airbnb said the new technology aims to prevent problematic guests from submitting their requests at all, seemingly ending the party before it even starts.
The company said it will now look at the history of positive reviews (or lack thereof), length of time the guest has been on Airbnb, length of the trip, distance to the listing, weekend vs. weekday, and other factors.
The system was designed to prevent hosts from receiving reservation requests from customers who do not fit the newly implemented criteria. Guests who are not able to book entire homes will still be able to book single rooms, where the host is more likely to be physically on site.
Airbnb also said the technology is a "more robust and sophisticated version" of its "under-25 system," which focuses on guests under the age of 25 who try and book locally, but who do not have positive reviews.
A similar variation of the "anti-party technology" had been piloted in Australia since October 2021 and had proven to be effective. Airbnb reported a 35% decrease in "unauthorized" parties in areas of Australia where the system is used.