19 Aug 2022 By theguardian
Tourism Africa introduces
Airbnb says it will deploy "anti-party technology" in an effort to crack down on guests who trash houses they have booked with massive bashes.
The technology, which has been trialled in Australia, will look at "factors like history of positive reviews (or lack of positive reviews), length of time the guest has been on Airbnb, length of the trip, distance to the listing, weekend vs weekday, among many others" to determine whether a particular booking was likely to be intended for hosting a party, the company said. It will initially be used in the US and Canada, and will continue to operate in Australia.
"The primary objective is attempting to reduce the ability of bad actors to throw unauthorised parties which negatively impact our hosts, neighbours, and the communities we serve," Airbnb said in a statement. "It's integral to our commitment to our host community - who respect their neighbours and want no part of the property damage and other issues that may come with unauthorised or disruptive parties."
Until the Covid pandemic, Airbnb allowed hosts voluntarily to let their properties out for the purpose of throwing house parties, although the company has always banned guests from throwing parties against the wishes of the property owner. "Historically, we allowed hosts to use their best judgment and authorise parties when appropriate for their home and neighbourhood," the company said earlier this year.
In 2019, a new rule banned "open-invite" parties - those advertised on social media - and allowed hosts to be ejected from the platform for letting "chronic party houses" that became nuisances in their wider neighbourhoods. In 2020, however, the company saw a rise in house party bookings as bars and clubs closed and implemented other restrictions, and in August that year it instituted a "temporary" ban on all parties and events, which became permanent in June 2022.
Since October 2021, Airbnb has been trialling its "anti-party technology" in Australia. "We have seen a 35% drop in incidents of unauthorised parties in the areas of Australia where this pilot has been in effect," the company says. A similar, but blunter, approach was trialled in North America, which simply banned guests aged under 25 without positive reviews from booking local venues.
If people suspect that a house in their neighbourhood is being rented by someone who has circumvented the anti-party technology to host an illegal get-together, Airbnb provides a Neighbourhood Support helpline they can contact.
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