Airbnb is testing new “anti-party technology” in the US and Canada as it attempts to enforce a global ban on house parties it made permanent earlier this year, the company has announced. The technology is designed to automatically catch the kinds of bookings that are likely to result in unauthorized parties, by looking at factors like a guests’ review history, the age of their account, the length of the stay they’re requesting, and whether they ‘re booking for a weekday or weekend.
The company says it’s been trialing similar technology in select areas of Australia since October 2021, where it saw a 35 percent drop in unauthorized parties. It’s also previously used a similar system in the US since July 2020 that has a more limited focus on guests under the age of 25. With this previous technology, younger guests were prevented from booking large houses nearby to where they live if they didn’t have a history of positive reviews. The latest rollout has a much broader focus, with no mention of a maximum age limit.
Airbnb has been trying to crack down on parties for years. In 2019 it said it would be banning “party houses” after five people died in a shooting at a Halloween party in an Airbnb rental in Orinda, California that over 100 people are thought to have been attending. In 2020 it announced a further crackdown, this time as a result of the COVID pandemic. The fear was that the closure of bars and clubs might encourage people to turn to Airbnb properties as an alternative at a time when social distancing was most vital. Although most social distancing rules have now been relaxed, Airbnb found that its party ban was a positive move for its business, and has decided to keep it in place.
Guests who are suspected and blocked from making bookings to host unauthorized parties may still be able to make an alternative booking via Airbnb, the company’s announcement post says. They may be able to book a private room rather than a whole house, for example, or book a hotel stay through the platform.
Airbnb previously said that it’s seen a 44 percent year-over-year drop in the amount of party reports after rolling out its party ban in August 2020. In total, it says it suspended the accounts of around 6,600 guests for violating its anti-party rules in 2021, compared to the roughly 150 million total users that Airbnb has on its platform.