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As travel came to a standstill, Airbnb suffered excessively. Are you planning a party in your Airbnb rental? Here's why you shouldn't.

Planning a party in your Airbnb rental? Here’s why you can’t

Owing to the global pandemic, there have been few companies that weathered the storm, and fewer still who grew because of it. For most of the companies, however, navigating the pandemic has been a real challenge. It’s easy to see why that’s been the case. 

For businesses in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industries, for example, the struggle to sustain is very real. They’re being presented with two options – either find a creative way to survive by pivoting to an adjacent consumer need or shut shop. For global giants like Airbnb, the shift looks different.

What challenge is Airbnb facing?

As travel came to a standstill, Airbnb suffered excessively. Bookings froze, sales dried up, forcing the company to fire a quarter of its employees. For the Airbnb rentals’ hosts too, it’s a catch-22 situation. On one hand, they’re afraid of hosting strangers & travelers – not that there are many travelers to host – but on the other hand, they are suffering a huge financial blow, too. 

At the same time, it presented good news for remote Airbnb properties as people are flocking towards safety, which, as per its 2020 definition, is any place with no human population for miles. No wonder distant getaways have become a hot commodity in the past few months. It probably also helped that most of us are now working remotely.

But when all’s said & done, the onus to maintain cleanliness & hygiene still falls on the company. Which is why Airbnb has now banned house parties & gatherings.

Planning a house party? Airbnb is not your house

Up until recently, lockdown parties were being hosted at Airbnb rental properties. This forced the UK’s Bed and Breakfast Association to issue public criticism against the company’s nonchalant attitude towards the pandemic. 

The association’s chairman David Weston was quoted as saying, “While B&Bs and guest houses have been closed since 23 March, it seems these giant platforms have allowed bookings to be made and enabled the so-called ‘lockdown parties’, which have put guests, hosts, neighbours, and communities at risk.”

Realizing that the association is right in its apprehensions & that the booking company certainly can’t afford a bad name at this moment – much less the blame of putting communities at risk – Airbnb responded with a ban. 

Citing public health interest, the ban that Airbnb has introduced limits the occupancy of rentals to 16 people, with a few exceptions on some venues. The exact words in the company statement said, “Instituting a global ban on parties and events is in the best interest of public health.”

Actions in defiance to have consequences

The company is also extending legal consequences for those who break these rules, including the hosts & the guests. It added that 73% of the properties listed have explicitly banned parties, with some exceptions.

These exceptions relate to some hosts who have allowed parties on a small scale – think baby showers or birthday celebrations. Such festivities also need to be authorized – no unauthorized celebration is allowed.

Do you meet the rental eligibility?

These aren’t the only restrictions Airbnb has implemented to deal with the menace of the coronavirus. Earlier, the company’s portal had removed the “event friendly” & “parties and events allowed” search filters. The company even prevented people under the age of 25 from booking entire homes in the UK, Canada, and the US. 

Airbnb’s not afraid to call a spade a spade. They’ve acknowledged that some guests create a nuisance in the rental properties.  The company’s take on this? “We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible – we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform.”

Not the first ban

This isn’t the first time Airbnb has played spoilsport to the wild plans of the party-fanatics. Previously, Airbnb cracked down on parties as the rowdy nature of these parties made these rental neighborhoods a magnet for community complaints. 

In another instance, the company banned the use of rental properties as party houses when a deadly shooting occurred at a Halloween party in November in California.

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