Airbnb’s ban on booking spots for house parties prevented hundreds of spreader events across Kansas City — especially impactful over holiday weekends known disruptive behavior, the company said Friday.
First introduced in summer 2020 to prioritize public health in the early days of the pandemic, Airbnb’s ban included new tech systems on the short-term rental platform aimed at trying to block and stop potential unauthorized parties while promoting safe and responsible travel, said Lisa Cohen, a company spokesperson who released the Kansas City data.
“Most prominently, in 2020 we announced a new product that restricts guests under the age of 25 without a history of positive reviews from booking entire home listings in their local area under certain circumstances,” Cohen said. “These guests are still allowed to book private room listings, where generally the Host lives on site.”
Airbnb’s “Under-25” anti-party system blocked or redirected about 1,700 people in Kansas City from making local entire home bookings, she detailed.
Click here to read more about San Francisco-based tech giant Airbnb’s party and events policy.
“Additionally, we recognize that certain time periods are more likely to encourage attempts to throw unauthorized parties,” Cohen said. “To help enforce our party policy during events like the Fourth of July, Halloween and New Year’s Eve, we introduced new systems and rules to strengthen our Hosts’ protection against unauthorized parties over those weekends.”
The anchor of this plan for these weekends was a ban on one-night bookings in entire home listings for guests without a history of positive reviews, she said.
In Kansas City, such anti-party defenses impacted more than 350 gatherings on the Fourth of July; more than 400 at Halloween; and more than 900 on New Year’s Eve, according to Airbnb.
“We believe it worked,” Cohen added. “Those weekends were generally quiet, and these initiatives were well-received by our Host community.”
Most Airbnb guests treat homes and neighborhoods with respect, and the anti-party tech isn’t meant to discourage their use of the popular platform, she emphasized.
“These initiatives are about trying to find the needles in the haystacks and stop potentially disruptive parties in service to our Hosts and neighbors,” Cohen said. “We also know that not every one of these people impacted by these various technologies intended to throw a party. Initiatives like these also may impact prospective guests who have no intention of throwing a party but who simply haven’t yet earned that history of positive reviews on our platform. In the meantime, this is a tradeoff we’re willing to make in the interests of trust and safety.”