Airbnb launches “anti-party technology” in US and Canada

Airbnb announced Tuesday that it will use new technology to deter customers in the US 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 a plethora of 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 reduce 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 San Francisco-based 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 noted that 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.

The company has been under pressure to prevent guests from hosting large gatherings at Airbnb rentals since five people were killed at a Halloween party in Northern California in 2019. The party, which had over 100 guests, was held at a mansion rented through Airbnb.

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.

Airbnb says they hope for similar success as they begin testing the system in the US and Canada.

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