Vrbo launches technology to prevent party house bookings
United States: Expedia Group vacation rental brand Vrbo is rolling out new unauthorized event prevention technology that identifies potentially disruptive games before they happen.
The company estimates that, over a 12-month pilot phase, the system prevented more than 500 unauthorized event bookings in the United States. By doing so, Vrbo says its hosts saved about $2.5 million in party-related damages and minimized disruption to surrounding neighborhoods.
It represents one of many steps Vrbo is taking to educate and equip hosts for the large influx of visitors who will travel to Phoenix, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs on 12 February. Over the past year, Vrbo has used the Phoenix-area market to pilot its new program and, based on the results of the pilot, the technology will be rolled out nationwide and automatically applied to all Vrbo reservations. in the USA.
Philip Minardi, director of public affairs at Expedia Group, said, “As home to college bowling games, spring training, professional golf tournaments and this year’s Super Bowl, the Phoenix metro area is not is no stranger to hosting major sporting events. These events boost tourism and the local economy, but can understandably worry residents.
“Being a good neighbor in the communities where we operate is essential to maintaining a healthy market. Even though disruptive party houses are rare on Vrbo, addressing them remains a priority.
“By deploying this new solution and working closely with local hosts, Vrbo is preventing problematic behavior before it starts,” he added.
The technology works by generating a “risk score” for each booking based on several factors, including but not limited to length of stay, time to start of stay, number of guests booking , the number of beds from a list and the variety of other amenities and the weekday of the first night booked. Customer demographic information is not taken into account and Vrbo clarifies that it does not share personally identifiable information.
If the technology deems a booking to be high risk, the Vrbo host receives an email notifying them of the issue and allowing them to cancel the booking without any penalty.
Separately, customers who book also receive a pre-booking alert message reminding them of Vrbo’s policies against disruptive gatherings and similar nuisances. Vrbo does not block or cancel reservations – this decision can only be made by the host or the booking party.
Vrbo says less than 0.25% of weekend bookings in the United States have had holiday-related complaints in the past 12 months.
Policies and programs already in place to prevent misuse of Vrbo properties include:
- A no-tolerance policy for party houses. Vrbo says it will ban any guests who violate published house rules and breach their rental agreement by turning a rental into an unauthorized party house, as well as any host who knowingly allows such violations.
- Not allowing same-day bookings and offering hosts the option to turn off instant booking for short booking periods so they have plenty of time to review their guests.
- A nationwide partnership with remote noise monitoring company NoiseAware. Registered hosts receive real-time updates if there is a troublesome issue.
- stay neighbor is a web portal through which local authorities and neighbors can contact Vrbo customer service to help with nuisance complaints.
- A Partnership with Airbnb to expand the Community Integrity Program, an industry-wide collaboration that addresses community safety by sharing important information about problematic listings, bolstering action against repeat offenders.
- A full-time trust and safety team that continually improves ways to keep bad actors away from the Vrbo platform and prevent abuse of properties.
Plus, Vrbo has partnered with Arizonans for Responsible Tourism [AZRT]education platform Rent responsibly and digital transformation platform GovOS to help educate hosts about responsible rental practices and state compliance laws. The community alliance has created a regulatory resource center with compliance and licensing guidelines and is hosting a series of virtual and in-person educational events for hosts.
Linda Curry, President of Arizonans for Responsible Tourism and Vrbo Host, said, “AZRT is pleased to partner with Vrbo and other industry stakeholders to ensure Arizona hosts have resources they need to comply with new state laws and local regulations and minimize disruptive events around. the big game and other major events.
Meanwhile, Airbnb announced last June that its ban on parties on its listings would become a permanent policy after seeing a sharp drop in unauthorized gatherings since implementing temporary restrictions on parties and events on its listings globally in August 2020.
The company said the temporary ban had been shown to be “effective” in curbing reports of holiday disruptions and disruptions in its ads, with a 44% year-over-year drop in the rate of party reports since it sparked a positive response from the Airbnb host community, as well as local community leaders and elected officials.
Airbnb too collaborated with property watchdog Minut to support its Good Neighbor campaign, bringing together a series of measures and resources to help tackle anti-social behavior in short-term rentals, following previous successful trials in prague and Edinburgh.