Airbnb has blocked tens of thousands of revelers in COVID crackdown

Airbnb has blocked or redirected “potentially risky booking attempts” by more than 50,000 people in 15 US cities as part of a holiday crackdown on its properties during the pandemic. These include 7,000 in Dallas, 6,000 in San Diego, 5,100 in Charlotte, 3,500 in St. Louis, 3,000 in Columbus and 2,700 in New Orleans, said Ben Breit, chief of staff. communication on trust and security. The edge.

Denver Post reports that it has blocked 5,000 people from making reservations in Phoenix, 4,500 in Las Vegas, 4,500 in Seattle, 2,600 in Denver, 2,600 in Portland, 1,800 in Salt Lake City and 1,500 in Albuquerque. “Over the past year, this technology has blocked or redirected potentially risky reservation attempts by more than 2,000 people in Cincinnati,” the company said. WLWT5, while 3,800 were stranded in Austin, according to KXAN. The total number of blocked reservations may be higher, according to Airbnb, because each of those blocked people may have attempted to make more than one reservation.

The figures show the scale of Airbnb’s enforcement measures and follow a total global holiday ban introduced last year to prevent its rental properties from becoming an alternative to local bars and clubs forced to close due to the pandemic. “Instituting a global ban on parties and events is in the best interest of public health,” the company said at the time. The ban was an extension of existing rules banning dedicated “party houses”, which entered into force in 2019.

Breit described at Denver Post what types of reservations its system has automatically blocked in the United States since July of last year. “If you’re under 25 and don’t have a history of positive reviews, we won’t allow you to reserve a full listing of homes near you,” Breit said. However, other reservations that make less sense for party locations would still be allowed. Trying to rent in a remote city is acceptable, for example, as is renting a smaller location more locally. Airbnb now uses this particular system in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Spain.

The company believes its ban worked and said major events like Halloween and New Years Eve were “calm” as a result. In Denver in particular, Denver Post reports that complaints about short-term rental properties halved between January and May of this year compared to the same period in 2020, although it is not clear to what extent this can be attributed to the policies of ‘Airbnb versus more general drop due to pandemic.

Although vaccines continue to roll out across the world, Airbnb shows no signs of easing its rules and recently announced it will extend its holiday ban until the end of summer 2021. He explained why as part of his “summer of” responsible travel “in April when he cited warnings from public health experts about the lingering risks of mass gatherings.

The automatic blocking of suspicious party bookings is only part of the company’s crackdown. Other items include the provision of discounted noise-detection devices to hosts and a 24/7 neighborhood helpline in the United States, according to the company.

Correction July 6 at 3:49 am ET: Airbnb clarified that the initial numbers listed as reservations were actually the number of people who were blocked from making reservations, with one person making multiple attempts to make reservations.

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