Airbnb blocks 100,000 people from booking in ‘anti-party’ blitz

Airbnb blocks 100,000 people from booking in ‘anti-party’ blitz
In a bid to stop unauthorised parties in its rental houses, under-25s face restrictions on the booking platform

Airbnb has confirmed that some 100,000 people have been blocked from booking local rentals on its platform in the US, since its bid to curb “party house offenders”.

As coronavirus restrictions are easing in the US, Airbnb is doubling down on “reducing the number of unauthorised house parties”.

Airbnb shared with The Independent that it had blocked thousands of people in more than 18 cities around the US, including approximately 15,000 in Los Angeles, 10,000 in Chicago, 12,000 in Atlanta, 7,000 in Dallas, and 6,000 in San Diego.

The worldwide booking platform, which allows people to rent out their houses for visitors for overnight stays, has strengthened its commitment to communities and hosts by outlining how US guests under the age of 25 will be restricted from booking entire home listings in their local areas.

Parties can be a genuine nuisance to neighbourhood communities, but there can also be safety issues. The platform vowed to ban “party houses” following a deadly shooting at a Halloween party at a rental property in San Fransisco in 2019.

CEO Brian Chesky said Airbnb would screen “high-risk” reservations and would remove guests who fail to comply with its global “no party” policies.

The site has also made efforts to remove global listings with descriptions that appear to allow parties that go against Airbnb’s policy. In the UK, for example, the company removed 1,000 listings, and blocked 80,000 UK reservation attempts, to prevent anti-social behaviour.

As per the site’s regulations, “US guests under the age of 25 with less than three positive reviews are not able to book entire home listings that are close to where they live”.

The exception to this rule is if guests under the age of 25 have at least three positive reviews and no negative reviews, or are staying in a property long term – then they may book in their local area.

Guests under the age of 25 are still allowed to book private rooms and hotel rooms through Airbnb no matter where they live.

Airbnb also recently teamed up with competitor Vrbo, owned by Expedia Group, to address community safety. Both companies run programmes to address disruptive party houses, which are frequently reported on each platform.

“The challenge persists, as repeat offenders may be delisted by one platform, only to pop up on another,” said Airbnb in a statement. “One platform alone can’t solve this problem – it requires an industry-wide effort.”

Airbnb maintains that 99.95 per cent of stays with the platform go without any safety-related issues being reported.