Airbnb limits some New Year’s Eve bookings in bid to crack down on parties

Airbnb will crack down on New Year’s Eve house parties and other large gatherings at its short-term rentals in D.C. and other cities by limiting some one-night stays during the holiday.

In addition, the company said it will operate a “virtual command center to get ahead of any issues, along with trained safety agents on call throughout New Year’s Eve.”

Airbnb announced the steps Dec. 3 “as the world grapples with another COVID-19 wave,” the company said. The new rules apply at bookings throughout the U.S., UK, Canada, Mexico, Australia, France and Spain.

The ban on one-night stays is limited. Only guests who don’t have a history of positive reviews will be barred from booking one-night stays over the holiday.

In addition, all one-night reservations already booked will be able to go through as planned, “as our data has historically shown that one-night New Year’s Eve bookings made prior to now very rarely lead to unauthorized parties,” Airbnb said.

Airbnb’s New Year’s rules are less stringent than the ones the company rolled out for Halloween, when it canceled all one-night bookings to tamp down on partying.

The company said its New Year’s Eve plan was made after listening to the “host community” in the U.S. and Canada and aimed to allow “a pathway for guests who have demonstrated a commitment to being responsible travelers through their histories of positive reviews,”

In addition to limiting one-night stays, Airbnb said it will deploy “more stringent restrictions at one and two-night reservations that may pose heightened risk for parties.”

A statement on the company’s website said: “For example, we will leverage our technology that restricts certain local and last-minute bookings by guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb and also block reservations within an expanded radius.”

Also, all guests whose New Year’s Eve bookings are approved must agree that they won’t throw an unauthorized party and “they may be pursued legally by Airbnb” if they break the rules.

In August, the short-term rental company announced what it called a “global ban” on all parties at all bookings and a 16-person cap on guests for its larger residences.

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