Ahead of Super Bowl 2023, Vrbo hits back at party house bookings

With Super Bowl LVII will take place on February 12vacation rental company Vrbo is implement new technology that prevents tenants from turning houses into party housesthe company announced on Monday.

Vrbo said it was pilot testing technology in Phoenix that identifies and prevents reservations that would be used for house parties. So far, the Expedia-owned company says it has stopped 500 “unauthorized event bookings” from taking place, saving hosts $2.5 million in party-related damages.

“While disruptive party houses are rare on Vrbo, addressing them remains a priority,” Philip Minardi, director of public affairs at Expedia Group, said in a press release. “By deploying this new solution and working closely with local hosts, Vrbo is preventing problematic behavior before it starts.”

Vrbo referenced its press release when asked to comment.

The technology works by generating a “risk score” for each booking based on length of stay, time to start of stay and number of guests. It also looks at hosts and the number of beds and other amenities they can provide. If Vrbo considers the reservation to be high risk, it will notify the host and offer to cancel the reservation, free of charge. Potential guests are then emailed Vrbo’s policies regarding disruptive gatherings.

Vrbo said customer demographics are not taken into account and it does not share personally identifiable information.

As online bed and breakfast rental companies, such as Airbnb, have grown in popularity, so have stories of people booking houses to host large parties. Vrbo, like Airbnb, allows owners to rent out their properties for short periods. Next to a 2019 Halloween party shooting in California left five dead, Airbnb said it was taking steps to prevent house parties. At the end of 2022, he had launched his own anti-party technology in the United States, Canada and Australia and said it plans to roll out the technology globally by this spring.

Short-term homestay rentals are big business. When Airbnb went public, it reached a $100 billion valuationalthough this figure has since fallen.

Vrbo has partnered with Airbnb in 2021 to develop a community integrity program that shares important information about problematic listings and warns repeat offenders. The company also said it has a zero-tolerance policy for party houses and will ban both hosts and guests who knowingly turn a house into a party house.

Super Bowl LVII will see the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

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