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Airbnb to test new tech that could prevent your reservation if it’s deemed ‘high-risk’

(NEXSTAR) – As Airbnb continues to crack down on partying at its rentals, the company says it is rolling out “new anti-party tools” in the U.S. and Canada intended to prevent some users from making reservations.

Earlier this summer, the home-rental website enacted strict anti-party measures for both Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. This kept any users that lacked positive reviews from booking an entire home listing for one-night reservations on either holiday weekend.

Then in June, Airbnb permanently banned parties at homes listed on its site for short-term rentals. In 2021 alone, more than 6,600 guests were suspended for related violations, according to Airbnb.

Airbnb’s new system aims to identify “potentially high-risk reservations and prevent those users from taking advantage of our platform.” A pilot program of a similar system has been conducted in Australia, where the company says it has seen a 35% drop in unauthorized parties since the program launched in October 2021.

The system will soon be permanent in Australia, and testing on the technology is now set to begin in the U.S. and Canada.

According to Airbnb, the system will look at multiple factors, including your history of – or lack of – positive reviews, how long you’ve been on Airbnb, how long your trip is, when during the week you plan to stay, how far away the listing is, and “many” additional aspects. Depending on the results, you may be prevented from making a reservation.

“The primary objective is attempting to reduce the ability of bad actors to throw unauthorized parties which negatively impact our Hosts, neighbors, and the communities we serve,” Airbnb said in a press release.

Those who are unable to book an entire home because of this new technology will be able to book a private room or a hotel stay through Airbnb, the company noted.

This new system is being referred to as “a more robust and sophisticated version” of Airbnb’s “under-25 system,” which focused on users under the age of 25 with no positive reviews trying to book local stays. However, Airbnb believes the new system will “have less of a blunt impact” on those that aren’t planning on throwing a party.

“While we are optimistic that this technology will have a positive impact for the safety of our community and our goal to reduce unauthorized parties — we want to be clear that no system is perfect,” Airbnb said. “We will communicate with transparency about the results of this testing phase and the next steps of our ban on parties.”

Airbnb began to crack down on parties in 2019 after a fatal shooting at a party at a house in California. At the time, the company prohibited advertising parties at Airbnb locations on social media.

The number of parties at Airbnb locations only increased during the pandemic, Airbnb said, as people moved gatherings from bars and clubs to rented homes. That led to a temporary ban in 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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