With certain areas of the country, and globally, seeing spikes in the COVID-19 statistics, Airbnb this morning made a major announcement regarding the holding of parties in their properties. The international company issued the following press release:
Today we’re announcing a global ban on all parties and events at Airbnb listings, including a cap on occupancy at 16. This party ban applies to all future bookings on Airbnb and it will remain in effect indefinitely until further notice.
How we got here
Unauthorized parties have always been prohibited at Airbnb listings. In fact 73 percent of our listings globally already ban parties in their House Rules, and the vast majority of our guests behave in manners that show respect for House Rules and for neighbors. We’ve historically allowed hosts to use their best judgment and authorize small parties – such as baby showers or birthday parties – if they’re appropriate for their home and their neighborhood.
Last year, we began imposing much stricter limits – starting with a global ban on “party houses” – meaning, listings that create persistent neighborhood nuisance. We also launched a 24/7 neighborhood support hotline in the U.S. and Canada – with plans for global expansion – to communicate directly with neighbors and help us effectively enforce the party house ban. This complemented new initiatives to stop unauthorized parties – such as manual review of high-risk reservations, as well as restrictions on allowing guests under the age of 25 without a history of positive reviews to book entire home listings locally.
When the pandemic was declared, and social distancing became an important element in promoting public health and responsible travel, we updated our policies. We started by removing both the “event-friendly” search filter from our platform as well as “parties and events allowed” House Rules from any event-friendly listings. Most importantly, we introduced a new policy requiring all users to adhere to local COVID-19 public health mandates. At the time, most local governments were imposing strict limits on gatherings, which effectively created a form-fitting, patchwork ban on parties and events.
However, in many large jurisdictions, public health mandates on gatherings have changed – and in some places swung back and forth in response to the changing rates of COVID cases – as have regulations on bars, clubs and pubs. Some have chosen to take bar and club behavior to homes, sometimes rented through our platform. We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible – we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform.
Based on these developments, instituting a global ban on parties and events is in the best interest of public health.
Here’s how the ban will work
- Parties are now prohibited on all future bookings
- Occupancy at Airbnb listings will be capped at 16 people. This is primarily relevant to larger homes that we previously allowed to list as able to accommodate 16+ people.
- We are currently scoping a potential exception process for specialty and traditional hospitality venues (i.e. boutique hotels)
- Guests will be informed about Airbnb’s party rules and informed that they may be legally pursued by Airbnb if they violate our policy. This work is currently being operationalized and will be rolled out in the near future.
Here’s what’s next
We are currently in the process of communicating this new policy to our global community. We are partners with our hosts on this important issue and we both feel the pain when an unauthorized party occurs during an Airbnb reservation. We believe having a simpler, global policy will allow us to better support the vast majority of hosts who already ban parties in their homes.
We acknowledge that there will always be those who attempt to break the rules. This is why we’ve implemented steep consequences for hosts or guests who try to skirt them – including bans from our community and even legal action.
We also understand that 16 is not a magic number, and issues can occur with groups of any size. To be clear, we are not sanctioning smaller gatherings with this policy and all community members are expected to comply with local health restrictions on gatherings. We are capping guests at 16 in these large properties as one step amongst several, all designed to mitigate any efforts to misuse an Airbnb for a party. We will continue to enforce our party rules against groups of any size and will be taking action both on guests and listings if we receive reports from neighbors.