How Airbnb is tackling Arizona vacation rental parties
Notice: Big parties in vacation rentals can put public health at risk. Here’s what Airbnb is doing to stop them.
Arizona communities have struggled for months with the many challenges posed by the relentless pandemic and its impact on our daily lives.
Arizona’s hospitality industry – including hotels and vacation rentals – provides valuable services to the community, ranging from providing accommodations for first responders to simply being able to get people out of their homes and to travel in a safe and socially distant manner.
However, with nightclubs and bars closed or operating at reduced capacity, a new public health challenge has arisen – large groups taking their parties to venues such as hotels and vacation rentals. From a 300-person party at a Paradise Valley vacation rental to a shootout related to a Phoenix hotel party, some continue to ignore the realities of this pandemic and act without regard for their fellow Arizona citizens.
While I cannot speak for the entire Arizona hospitality industry, I can say on behalf of Airbnb that we have heard from the Arizona host community, neighbors and elected officials. , and that we want to be very clear: we have zero tolerance for this behavior. It is not only irresponsible, but downright dangerous.
What Airbnb is doing to end the holidays
We have taken a number of steps to address this issue head-on. More recently we announced a worldwide ban on parties and events on Airbnb ads and occupancy capped at 16 people. To enforce this rule, we’ve put in place important consequences for hosts or guests who violate it – including bans from our community and even legal action.
In Arizona in particular, we have suspended or removed more than 50 listings in 12 cities that received complaints or violate our party and event policies. This action was aimed at the small minority of hosts who accommodated irresponsibly during this public health crisis, and was facilitated in part by neighbors who used our 24/7 neighborhood helpline to register their concerns.
We take these concerns very seriously and are committed to ensuring that their voices are translated into action.
In addition, we restricts certain guests under 25 without a history of positive reviews by locally booking entire property listings. We have also banned overnight bookings over the Halloween weekend in entire North American real estate listings.
While online platforms can implement technological defenses to stop gatherings, it works best by supplementing the vigilance of people on the ground. There are steps the Arizona vacation rental host community and hotel staff can take to identify parties in advance and stop them before they begin, including:
4 things hosts can do too
Set clear expectations: By outlining specific expectations (like quiet hours and smoking or pet rules, for example), hosts, vacation rental property managers, and hotel staff can ensure that guests are aware of the rules before booking.
Get to know your guest in advance: Before accepting a reservation, vacation rental hosts can connect with their customers to learn more about what’s bringing them to town, what their plans are, and answer their questions. Hosts can also read their reviews of previous trips, and it is always helpful to greet guests on accommodation in person when checking in.
Tell your guests about the neighborhood, and with your neighbors about your accommodation: It is important to communicate openly with your guests that they can stay in a residential area, and not in a hotel area. Likewise, it is always a good idea to communicate with your neighbors about your accommodation, so that there are no surprises when guests arrive for check-in.
Define the booking conditions: Whether it’s creating a new listing or changing rules for an existing listing, vacation rental hosts can set requirements on things like minimum nights or maximum group sizes.
There is still work to be done, but we are steadfast in our efforts to protect public health. We are committed to working together as partners with local municipalities, neighbors and community leaders across the state as we continue our work to quell parties and large gatherings.
John Choi is director of public policy for Airbnb, Arizona.