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Airbnb Says They're Here to End the Party, Once and for All

The short-term rental company said new app features aim to identify ‘high-risk reservations’ to stop unwanted revelry.

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A gunman opened fire on partygoers at a Pittsburgh house back in April, killing two and wounding eight. The house had been listed on Airbnb.
A gunman opened fire on partygoers at a Pittsburgh house back in April, killing two and wounding eight. The house had been listed on Airbnb.
Photo: Jeff Swensen (Getty Images)

The short-term rental app Airbnb announced back in June they were making a partial prohibition on parties permanent. Now, they’re updating their software in the hopes it will nip any thoughts of backyard blowouts in the bud.

Airbnb announced in a late Tuesday blog post they were unleashing a software update for the U.S. and Canadian markets that they say will identify “potentially high-risk reservations,” namely those trying to book a full-home rental close to where they live. According to the company, the new systems track a user’s reviews and the amount of time they’ve been on the app when they try to book a full home rental, comparing that to the length of the supposed trip, distance to the listing, and whether it’s on a weekend or weekday. The short-term rental app said this helps pick out “bad actors” looking to throw unauthorized parties.

Airbnb said that the system has already been piloted in parts of Australia since October, 2021 where they saw a 35% drop in reported unauthorized parties. Though this is compared to the company’s previous posts from this year where they said their policies have reduced the total number of parties by 44%. They also suspended 6,600 guest accounts for trying to violate the party ban in 2021.

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For any unwanted parties that still go off, the app pointed to its neighborhood support phone line.

The company has had it out for parties for years now, especially after repeated incidents of injuries or deaths at parties hosted at listings on Airbnb. In 2019, a gunman killed five people at a Halloween party hosted at an Airbnb rental. In 2020, the short-term rental company put a hold on all partying across the globe. Though of course there have been more incidents of gun violence at Airbnb listings. This past April, a gunman injured 10 people and killed two at a Pittsburgh rental property.

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During the pandemic, the company went on a spree of party canceling across the U.S., claiming they squashed over 50,000 bookings. The company said that its earlier restrictions on parties did not just apply to guests, but to hosts as well, making any gathering of more than 16 people unauthorized based on Airbnb’s Party and Events policy. Under the app’s rules, people who host any sizable bash at one of these listed properties could have their accounts banned.

Airbnb had previously banned folks under 25 years of age with less than three positive reviews from booking entire home listings in their local area.