Airbnb launches ‘screening program’ to stop guests throwing parties
Wednesday - 19/08/2020 10:19
Airbnb will roll out a string of new changes to their house-sharing platform following pressure to clamp down on out-of-control bookings.
Airbnb will roll out a string of new changes to their house-rental platform, as booking enquiries and reservations increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following similar measures in the US and Canada, Airbnb will launch an Australia-wide screening service that will crack down on unauthorised parties and protect neighbours from problematic guests staying at short-term listings.
Currently, in order to book an Airbnb property, users have to share their full name, provide an email address and confirmed phone number, write an introductory message about why the user is booking the listing and also agree to house rules.
The user also needs to provide payment information. After receiving this information, Airbnb then scores the reservation for any risk before submitting a confirmation.
After a successful trial period in Melbourne, Airbnb will now roll out a new revision of the enhanced reservation screening system across the country.
The system works to essentially stop parties before they begin by analysing the stay duration (a one-night stay would be a red flag) and the guest group size. The system will also look at the location of the rental in proximity to the user’s home address, and whether the booking falls over a significant holiday or long weekend.
Essentially, the system uses predictive analytics and machine learning to instantly evaluate signals that should be deemed a concern and investigated by the platform.
The system, which has been used in Melbourne for a pilot-period of two years, has prevented 1400 “high-risk bookings” from taking place at Airbnb properties.
The new system comes days after Airbnb in the UK, France and Spain Airbnb launched a new rule that stops users aged under 25 from booking entire homes in their local areas.
The new measure hopes to crack down on unauthorised parties and anti-social behaviour, after the platform in Europe banned all parties held without the host’s knowledge or permission and events from its listings in December 2019.
In Australia, unauthorised parties have always been banned under Airbnb’s company policy. But the platform has faced increasing pressure to clamp down on unauthorised events from taking place at listings.
Last month, police in Western Australia met Airbnb management after a party at a rental spiralled out of control.
Authorities were called to a property on St Kilda Road in Riverdale, near Perth, after a group of teens were found drunk and unconscious at a rental they’d booked on Airbnb. According to Metropolitan Region Acting Commander Tony Flack, the group of teenagers had cheated the Airbnb system by using a false ID and credit cards to make the booking.
Within the same month, dozens of people were fined at a property listed on Airbnb in Sydney, after throwing an illegal party in Schofields.
More than 60 people were found at the house, which had been rented online. The house is advertised on both Airbnb and Stayz – requiring guests have a minimum 2 night visit – with a strict no party policy.
Derek Nolan, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy, said the new measure not only hopes to stop unauthorised events from happening, but also boot problematic users off the house rental platform.
“While no system is perfect and able to prevent issues 100 per cent of the time, our team has worked diligently to ensure our high-risk reservation screening technology can give communities and hosts a high degree of confidence that we’re looking out for them,” he said.
“It’s critically important that every single person using our platform behaves in a manner that’s respectful of the neighbourhoods in which they’re staying. That’s non-negotiable for us. “Our ongoing ban on party houses is being enforced to take action against both guests who
misbehave and hosts who wilfully allow their homes to become chronic nuisances for
Under Airbnb’s Code of Conduct regarding parties and events, open-invite parties and events are prohibited in listings. This includes any party or event where the listing host has limited knowledge of the attendees, or that does not have a specific guest list, such as gatherings advertised on social media.
“Guests who hold such events will have their account removed, and hosts who violate this rule and allow guests to throw open-invite parties will be subject to account consequences,” it reads.
“We may also remove listings if we determine a host has authorised a party that violates this policy. In addition, if we receive reports that a listing is disrupting the surrounding community, we may request the host update their rules or suspend the listing.”