Airbnb has been negotiating around the coronavirus pandemic with a moderate degree of success. In fact, the NY Times reported in September that home rentals have outperformed hotels in 27 global markets since COVID began (heck, it even got us to rent an Airbnb for the very first time!). They’re even generally outperforming most other travel-related companies (and I suspect that when they started this new rule, it helped them even more).
One problem Airbnb consistently has to deal with is people who rent houses for parties. In fact, just about a year ago, the FBI had to become involved in such a party when it went bad. Like, really, REALLY bad. Add potential COVID into the mix and each of those parties can now be a super spreader event ready to happen.
During the Halloween season this year, Airbnb put certain, temporary rules into place to help stop the issues they’ve had in the past, as well as the newer COVID problem.
Due to COVID-19, we’ve taken extra steps to prevent parties from happening at spaces booked on Airbnb. Among other actions, we’ve banned parties globally and put new restrictions in place for certain local and last-minute reservations in the U.S. and Canada.
To continue to strengthen hosts’ protection against parties, we won’t be allowing one-night reservations during the upcoming Halloween weekend for entire home listings in the U.S. or Canada. We’re also bolstering our existing protections and technologies designed to stop as many large gatherings as possible that weekend.
Welp, they’re apparently going to something similar this year, albeit not exactly the same. Airbnb says that users ‘without a history of positive reviews’ won’t be allowed to make one night bookings for New Year’s Eve – only two nights or more. They also plan on monitoring two-night reservations that ‘may pose heightened risk for parties.’
The new rules, which will be in effect in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Australia, France and Spain, don’t affect users who have positive reviews.
Here’s a link to all the rules for booking an Airbnb around or for New Year’s Eve.
The rules are temporary and only related to the holiday itself. However, I see this as a big win for Airbnb and its hosts, as well as its renters. Besides massively decreasing the chances of their rental homes becoming “party houses,’ it also decreases the chance of those parties becoming vectors for widespread COVID sharing.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary