Airbnb extends party ban but lifts 16-guest limit
The party is over for Airbnb guests – those who like to party, that is.
The online hosting market has set foot on the festivities once and for all, outright banning “disruptive parties and events.”
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The vacation rental company has issued a temporary holiday embargo in 2020 to better follow social distancing rules during the pandemic. The ban went so well that the company decided to make the ban permanent.
“Over time, the party ban has become much more than a public health measure,” Airbnb wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. “It turned into a fundamental community policy to support our hosts and their neighbors.”
“The temporary ban has proven effective, and today we officially codify the ban as our policy,” the company added.
Curiously, however, Airbnb is lifting its 16-person limit on stays.
So you can stay with more than 16 people, as long as the property allows it, but whatever you do: don’t. Discard. A party.
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Seriously, no party.
What exactly constitutes a party anyway?
Airbnb’s terms on what exactly constitutes a party remain somewhat murky.
In its announcement, the company singles out “disruptive parties and events…including open-invitation gatherings (those advertised on social media),” while “chronic party houses” are also permanently cut. Airbnb doesn’t specify directly in its listing, but we suspect it refers to notoriously prolific party spots.
When TPG pushed Airbnb on what exactly that means, Airbnb representatives said the company uses an array of “signals” to determine whether or not a party is violating the ban.
These “signals” include factors such as excessive noise, excessive clutter, excessive visitors, and parking that affects neighbors. Simply put, if what you’re doing is excessive, assume you can’t do it.
What is the background to the ban?
Historically, Airbnb has let hosts “use their best judgment” about whether their property was an appropriate place to host a party, according to the company. “[Then]at the end of 2019, we reinforced our measures to prohibit [parties] which had turned into neighborhood nuisances,” he said.
However, when the pandemic closed pubs and clubs around the world in the spring of 2020, Airbnb became an outlet for some pleasure-hungry sesh-goers on a mission to let loose.
As a result, society has seen a rash of lockdown-busting parties erupt on its watch.
“We were concerned about this because of both the disruptive nature of unauthorized parties and the risk that such gatherings could spread the virus,” Airbnb said. “As such, we have announced the banning of parties to our community as being in the best interest of public health.”
Following the ban, Airbnb said it saw a 44% year-over-year drop in party reports globally, a 49% drop in reports in Ireland and a 63% drop in the UK. We can’t confirm this, but it’s entirely possible that it will make Airbnb the most successful party poop in the history of socializing.
Can I still go with 10 friends for a festive gathering that is definitely not a birthday party?
When TPG asked Airbnb, the company said bands shouldn’t sit quietly in the living room playing Trivial Pursuit all weekend. Phew.
As long as you keep the noise to a respectful level, tidy up after yourself, and don’t dance naked in the street at 2am, you should be fine.
This is to prevent “disruptive” parties, according to the company. In other words, responsible and respectful groups of friends should always be welcome. Which can mean you can actually party? Just…quietly and respectfully. Without karaoke machine.
What if I want to take 20 family members to a castle for quiet, quiet bonding?
Airbnb has relaxed its cap of 16 people for exactly this reason. Just don’t make one party.
“Our recent summer outing introduces categories, which highlight several types of larger homes that, by definition, are able to comfortably and safely house more than 16 people – from castles in Europe to vineyards in the United States to large villas in seaside in the Caribbean,” he says.
These are some properties that “thrive in hosting multi-generational family trips and larger groups,” according to Airbnb. “Removing this cap is intended to allow these hosts to responsibly use the space in their homes while respecting our ban on disruptive parties.”
What is the punishment for people who break the rules?
Penalties for violating these new rules will be severe and demanding – you could even be banned from the site for life.
“In 2021, more than 6,600 guests were suspended from Airbnb for attempting to violate our party ban,” the company said. “In these cases, we also work to support our hosts with property damage protection through AirCover for Hosts.”
“Strong policies must be complemented by strong enforcement,” the company says. “We have introduced a number of anti-party measures in recent years to enforce our policy and try, to the best of our abilities, to stop both unauthorized parties and chronic party houses.”
These include prevention of anti-party reservationsspecial anti-party measures during the holidaysone 24 hours safety linea neighborhood support line and one partnership with Vrbo to share information about repeat “party house” offenders.
At the end of the line
We will absolutely never tolerate the holding of parties that could be described as “chronic” or disturbing. However, this decision appears to be a heavy-handed and subjective policy which we imagine will be quite difficult to enforce.
It also ignores the needs of millions of respectful revelers who just want to crack open a few bottles of prosecco, do some karaoke, and dance around a kitchen they don’t own without upsetting the whole area.
Given all of this, if you absolutely must party: please do so with respect.