Airbnb is piloting new anti-party technology in the United States and Canada as part of its ongoing efforts to fend off users looking to book a home for hosting large, unapproved gatherings.
The vacation rental company tells fast business the new technology aims to identify “potentially high-risk bookings”. Airbnb will consider factors such as a user’s positive review history and history with the service, the duration of the reservation requested, the distance between their home and the reservation, and whether it is booked for a weekend or a weekday.
Short-term rental platforms, like Airbnb and Vrbo, have long struggled with unauthorized parties that occur during bookings. The new technology is intended to flag and prevent suspicious reservations from being sent to the host for approval, so owners can approve reservations without fear of property damage or noise complaints. People who weren’t able to book an entire listing due to the new system will still be able to book a single room in an entire residence, as the host is more likely to be on-site or in a hotel room.
“As we get more bookings and reservations, we look at how things are changing, how our metrics are changing,” says Naba Banerjee, Global head of Airbnb’s products, operations, and strategy for trust and safety. “[W]We’re trying to look at the rate of security incidents, and we’re trying to make sure that we’re launching solutions that are constantly trying to work on that rate.
Airbnb has been testing the technology in Australia since October 2021 and claims to have seen a 35% drop in unauthorized parties in areas where the pilot was in effect. The security tool has been rolled out nationwide in Australia and will now be tested in the United States and Canada.
The latest update builds on the company’s “under 25” system, which prevents users under 25 from booking entire properties near their place of residence until they have at least three positive reviews. The company said in a statement that the new system is intended to prevent more users looking for a party from booking, “while having less impact on customers who are not trying to organize a party. “.
In 2019, Airbnb announced a ban on party homes (homes that are essentially listed for the sole purpose of hosting events) and announced a slew of security features, after five people were killed in a shooting that took place. took place in an Airbnb. In August 2020, as the pandemic spread across the world, society issued a total ban on parties.
Violence erupted again in April when two minors were shot and killed at a large party at an Airbnb rental. And in June, the company announced it was codifying its global ban on “disruptive parties and events,” which includes invitational gatherings. Airbnb said at the time that since implementing the party ban in August 2020, it has seen a 44% year-over-year drop in party reporting. In 2021, more than 6,600 guests were suspended from the platform for attempting to violate the party ban, the company added.
Yet the hands-off nature of home rental company platforms can make it extremely difficult to keep track of parties. Often the listing owner will not be onsite at the property, so guests will check in remotely and often have the freedom to invite whomever they wish.
“We are, ultimately, an open market, we connect with the real world and we are often a mirror of society. And no solution is 100% perfect,” says Banerjee.