As vaccination rolls out and people make plans to see friends they hadn’t seen during most of 2020 due to the pandemic, Airbnb unveiled a series of rules that will prevent partying in its hosts’ properties this summer.
The “Summer of Responsible Travel” plan, which the short-term rental company unveiled Monday, is banning one-night rentals and last-minute bookings from guests who do not have a history of positive reviews over Fourth of July weekend. The holiday, which is both a historic day of large gatherings and the date that many see as an unofficial reopening date for the country, has been specifically targeted to prevent large gatherings.
“We’ve learned that July 4 is being pegged as the ‘reopening’ date in the U.S., which is great for the country as well as for the Airbnb community,” Airbnb said in a statement. “We also know that public health and safety experts are still saying mass gatherings should not happen. That’s why we’re introducing new rules aimed at helping to prevent unauthorized parties over the 4th of July, similar to the successful initiatives implemented during Halloween and New Year’s Eve.”
Other efforts include giving Superhosts discounts on noise-detection technology from smart home monitoring system Minut, increasing its support staff and expanding its Neighborhood Support Line (including making it available for 24 hours a day and in Spanish) for hosts who need to communicate with Airbnb. House rules will be made more visible on bookings while more guidance will be released specifically having to do with pool and fire safety.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out in the United States in March, Airbnb has regularly made efforts to prevent the platform for being used for parties that could spread the virus — it issued a global party ban in August and has regularly blocked rule violators from the platform. But the pandemic and global curb on travel has had a profound effect on the company as well. After going public as a company in December, the company announced that it lost almost $700 million in revenue.
“As the July 4 weekend approaches, we are deploying more stringent restrictions on one and two-night reservations that may pose heightened risk for parties,” Airbnb said. “For example, we will leverage our technology that restricts certain local and last-minute bookings by guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb and also block reservations within an expanded radius.”