Airbnb. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Airbnb has enacted stricter booking policies in Arizona and across the U.S. in an attempt to tamp down on New Year’s Eve parties and gatherings due the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
Beginning Dec. 3, users “without a history of positive reviews” on the platform will no longer be allowed to make single-day reservations for New Year’s Eve, the company announced.
The online vacation rental marketplace, valued at $18 billion in August, allows users to rent out their rooms or even list their entire homes as short-term rentals. While the platform is traditionally used for out-of-town stays, users will sometimes reserve rentals in-town just for partying.
The New Year’s Eve restrictions do not apply to users with positive reviews, or reservations processed before Dec. 3. Airbnb also announced they will also be scrutinizing two-night reservations “that may pose heightened risk for parties.”
Restrictions apply to reservations made in the Unites States and “parts of North America, Western Europe and Australia.”
Airbnb has a five-star rating system used by both guests and hosts to measure the quality of the rental and guest behavior. The company did not immediately clarify the lowest rating a user may have before they are subject to restrictions.
“This plan marks the latest of a number of recent changes to our platform to meet this specific public health moment,” the company said.
After bars and nightclubs were shuttered due to COVID-19 restrictions, an increasing number of partiers turned to Airbnb as a venue, according to reporting by Bloomberg.
In May, as Arizona’s stay-at-home order was about to end, Airbnb announced it still banned parties and would work with local police if parties happened in Airbnb properties.
In August, Airbnb announced a “global ban on all parties and events” at properties rented through the site, in response to COVID-19 concerns. However, the site still allows reservations of 15 people or less.
Over the summer, Airbnb purged or suspended at least 50 “party houses” across Arizona that had previously received complaints or violated the company’s rules. The company also placed restrictions on certain guests under 25 looking to make reservations locally.
The platform enacted similar anti-partying restrictions over Halloween weekend, banning single-night reservations on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 in the U.S. and Canada. The company said they considered the new rules successful in tamping down on partying.
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or on Twitter @Mkayackley.
Read or Share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2020/12/03/airbnb-restricts-new-years-eve-reservations-stop-partying/3817171001/