Airbnb Banning Party Houses
You may have seen in the news that Airbnb will be banning "party houses" after a tragic incident at a Halloween party in an Orinda Airbnb rental left five people dead. We asked several vacation rental hosts if they agreed with Airbnb's decision and the results were:
The majority of hosts did agree and stated that there is a need for Airbnb to grasp control of the growing problem of unwanted parties. However, some guests did not agree and stated that Airbnb is once again trying to control hosts too much and if hosts want to let guests have parties in their rental, they should be allowed to do so.
So what are the actions that Airbnb is planning on taking? In the days to follow the incident, Airbnb's CEO, Brian Chesky, tweeted the following:
Starting today, we are banning “party houses” and we are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct, including conduct that leads to the terrible events we saw in Orinda. Here is what we are doing:
First, we are expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by our risk detection technology.
Second, we are creating a dedicated “party house” rapid response team.
Third, we are taking immediate action against users who violate these enhanced guest policies, including removal.
I have directed Margaret Richardson from our Executive Team to oversee this new team and initiate a 10 day sprint to review and accelerate the development and implementation of these new safety initiatives.
We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable.
What Chesky is claiming is that Airbnb will now try to catch guests who are booking properties for parties. However, some hosts who own larger properties are concerned that this might hinder their ability to secure bookings from legitimate guests. The group that booked the property in Orinda claimed it was for a family reunion, which is a perfectly legitimate reason to book a large home. If the next group who is, in fact, booking for a family reunion, gets flagged and removed, Airbnb will be canceling potential revenue for the rental. Knowing guests' intentions before they arrive is next to impossible and hosts are skeptical how Airbnb plans to execute this part of their promise.
The second part of Chesky's claim is that Airbnb will have a dedicated "party house" rapid response customer support team. In theory, this is an amazing and progressive step for Airbnb, but hosts are claiming that it is "too little, too late". Many hosts have shared their "party house" customer support horror stories on Twitter in response to Chesky's post.
Some hosts claim that Airbnb ignored them completely after guests threw parties in their rental, leaving them to front the bill for damages. Other hosts shared stories of bad reviews being left after trying to confront their guests for parties and Airbnb taking no action to remove those reviews. This, in turn, resulted in the hosts not being able to secure future bookings.
It will be interesting to see if Airbnb is successful in ramping up their customer support on this issue, and hopefully they can prevent such a tragedy from reoccurring.
Some precautions that you, as a host, can take to prevent unwanted parties at your rental are:
- If you are renting a large property, stay on site or nearby and make sure that guests know you are there.
- Clearly state in your rental rules that parties will not be tolerated.
- Invest in a Party Squasher. These nifty devices keep track of how many mobile devices are inside your rental. If you see that the number is growing past what you are comfortable with, you can take action before a party gets out of control.
What are your thoughts on Airbnb and this matter? Comment below!