Airbnb will be prohibiting one-night rentals over Halloween weekend as part of its ongoing effort to crack down on party houses and stop the spread of COVID-19 through large gatherings.
The action, announced Friday, will allow Airbnb to strengthen its hosts’ protection against parties amid concerns about a second wave of the pandemic, by prohibiting one-night reservations over the Halloween weekend in entire-home listings in the United States and in Canada.
Further, Airbnb says it will be bolstering its existing protections and technologies aimed at stopping as many large gatherings as possible that weekend.
Starting Friday, October 2, guests on Airbnb will not be able to make one-night bookings for entire-home listings on Friday, October 30, or Saturday, October 31, anywhere in Canada or the US.
“For previously booked reservations meeting the above criteria, Airbnb will cancel and reimburse the guests,” the release notes.
Airbnb said it will fully pay for guest reimbursements — meaning hosts who have confirmed bookings cancelled will still receive payment.
“The great majority of guests are respectful of our hosts’ homes and neighbours, and we understand that this initiative will disrupt many one-night reservations that might not have led to parties. This action is designed to help protect our hosts and the communities they live in. We will also be introducing additional measures to complement the two-night minimum in an effort to stop as many large gatherings as possible,” the company added.
Airbnb said it will also look more closely at two- and three-night reservations during Halloween by significantly expanding the radius of its technology that restricts certain local and last-minute bookings by guests. For example, a guest may be denied if they try to book a whole home close to their own home during that period and they don’t have a history of positive reviews on Airbnb.
In the lead up to Halloween, Airbnb said it will remind guests who are staying at places between October 28 and November 1, that parties are not allowed in listings.
If guests do throw a party, trained agents from Airbnb’s neighbourhood support line will be on call throughout the weekend to quickly respond to issues raised by neighbours.
Airbnb has since taken a series of steps to crack down on parties following a deadly shooting at an Airbnb in Orinda, California last Halloween. Last November, the tech giant started manually reviewing US and Canadian reservations to weed out suspicious rentals.