Airbnb really wants to shut down parties in its rentals. On Tuesday, the company announced the deployment of “anti-party tools” that it claims will help identify users who are likely to throw a party and prevent them from renting a property.
Airbnb is launching the tools in the US and Canada, it said. The tools use an algorithm that flags “potentially high-risk reservations” by looking at user characteristics 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.”
“This anti-party technology is designed to prevent a reservation attempt from going through,” Airbnb said. “Guests who are unable to make entire home bookings due to this system will still be able to book a private room (where the Host is more likely to be physically on site) or a hotel room through Airbnb.”
Airbnb has earned scorn and even lawsuits due to hosting sites with a reputation for turning into large gatherings that range from annoyingly loud to destructive. Some of these parties have even culminated in deadly violence. The latter includes a widely publicized 2019 shooting at an Airbnb party in Orinda, California, that left five dead.
Later that year, Airbnb banned properties meant for parties. In 2020, it announced age-based restrictions that prevented people under 25 from renting local homes unless they had at least three positive and zero negative reviews or planned a long-term stay.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb issued a temporary ban on parties at rental properties but made the ban permanent on June 28, citing “feedback from the longstanding and trusted members of our global Host community.”
Airbnb hasn’t directly pointed to shootings on Airbnb properties as the reason for its war on parties. Instead, it referenced “a commitment to our Host community—who respect their neighbors and want no part of the property damage and other issues that may come with unauthorized or disruptive parties.”
The company has been piloting the algorithm in Australia since October and claimed that there has been a 35 percent drop in the number of unauthorized parties reported since. The figure shows that Airbnb still has a long way to go before it can guarantee renters won’t throw parties while the host is out of town. And some of the factors Airbnb is relying on may not have any relevance to the potential for partying, depending on the renter.
In June, Airbnb said that it suspended more than 6,600 people from its platform for trying to party.
This story has been updated to correct the location of Orinda, California.