Airbnb is trying to crack down on parties and events that promote crowds on properties listed on its platform, following protocols recommended by health organizations for social distancing for large gatherings, the company said in an article on its blog On thursday. They are imposing an occupancy limit of a maximum of 16 people, and platform tenants who do not follow these new rules run the risk of being banned from the platform or even responding in court.
With local efforts trying to curb new cases of coronavirus, many have implemented restrictions on the number of people allowed in bars, restaurants and businesses. Airbnb said it found that people were taking the parties normally held in bars and clubs to rented houses on its platform.
“We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible – we don't want that kind of business, and anyone involved in or allowing this behavior doesn't belong on our platform,” Airbnb uttered in its post on Thursday. The company says that while some of its host properties allow small gatherings like birthday parties or baby showers, 73 percent of its ads already prohibit parties.
Earlier this year, Airbnb updated its policies in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, removing its “event friendly” search filter and its “parties and events allowed” option.
Airbnb has made further updates to its policies due to the coronavirus pandemic, including flexibility in its booking fees and an “enhanced cleaning initiative” that took effect in May and includes a 24-hour vacancy period between bookings. Also in May, the company laid off about a quarter of its employees, somewhere around 1900 employees, citing mass cancellations of reservations amid requests to stay at home. Airbnb's business model has been severely affected around the world by the pandemic, forecasts say its 2020 turnover will be half of what was expected.