Cracking down on Hogmanay parties through Airbnb
To help support Hosts and to minimise neighbourhood disruption during Hogmanay Airbnb has banned one-night bookings in listings for guests without a history of positive reviews.
First piloted last year, these automated defences were effective against approximately 243,000 guests attempting to book globally ahead of New Year’s Eve 2020, including more than 18,000 guests in the UK, with approximately 350 in Edinburgh and 160 in Glasgow.
Since the beginning of November, guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb are prohibited from making one-night reservations in entire home and private room listings in the UK.
More stringent restrictions have also been deployed for two-night reservations that may pose a heightened risk for disruptive parties. For example, Airbnb will leverage and amplify its technology that restricts certain local and last-minute bookings by guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb. Guests with a history of positive reviews won’t face these restrictions.
Amanda Cupples, General Manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb highlights that “There are thousands of stays taking place across the UK each night with the overwhelming majority of guests being respectful of neighbours and delivering benefits to the local community. These additional proactive measures for Hogmanay will help to block reservations that we know from experience can pose a slightly higher risk, and help to ensure Hosts, their guests and communities can enjoy their end of year celebrations with added reassurance.”
The latest update to the restrictions follows the introduction of a series of measures by Airbnb to get tough on antisocial behaviour, including a global party ban that has become a foundational component of Airbnb’s approach to trust and safety, and has been embraced by the Host community.
Airbnb’s zero tolerance for antisocial behaviour has seen more than 1,000 UK listings removed or suspended from the platform as part of a crackdown on so-called ‘party houses’.
Emily van der Lely, Crimestoppers representative, said: “Crimestoppers believes that everyone has the right to feel safe, wherever they live. Our independent charity is proud to be a partner of the UK Trust and Safety Alliance and steps being taken to reduce crime during the Hogmanay celebrations and beyond. Sadly, antisocial behaviour, frequent neighbourhood disturbances and multiple ‘calling’ visitors can be a sign of something more sinister happening within a property. If you are ever concerned that a guest may be involved in any criminal activity, you can tell Crimestoppers, 100% anonymously 24/7, 365 days a year by freephone on 0800 555 111 or online through crimestoppers-uk.org.”
Since August last year, a pilot restriction in the UK has automatically prevented certain bookings by under 25-year-olds without a history of positive reviews. In just a one year period, this measure resulted in Airbnb blocking or redirecting potentially disruptive booking attempts from nearly 84,000 people in the UK.
Airbnb’s high risk reservation technology, which considers a number of factors in relation to certain reservations, including the date and duration of the booking, also launched in the UK this year to help combat parties and other neighbourhood disturbances before they start.
Cupples states “These measures to help block certain reservations build on our efforts to reinforce our global ban on disruptive parties, and will help us attempt to stop those that are set on breaking the rules.”
Back in February, Airbnb launched its Neighbourhood Support Line in the UK, providing neighbours with urgent concerns about a listing the ability to talk to someone directly at Airbnb. It also partnered with leading charity Crimestoppers to release a guide for Hosts on how to stay safe while hosting and spot signs of potentially suspicious activity from guests.
In a European first, Airbnb recently launched the UK Trust and Safety Alliance, a network of expert organisations that will work closely with Airbnb and provide information and guidance to Hosts and the Airbnb community. The Alliance is part of Airbnb’s ongoing effort to make hosted travel the safest form of travel in the UK.
Founding members of the Trust and Safety Alliance include the National Fire Chief’s Council, Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers, Get Safe Online, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and Race on the Agenda.