As people plan New Year Eve parties amid surge in Covid cases globally, the home rental service Airbnb has announced major changes in its online booking platform to deter “unauthorized” parties.
“As the world grapples with another Covid-19 wave, today we are announcing our plan to strengthen our hosts’ protection against unauthorized house parties and large gatherings over New Year’s Eve,” the company said in a statement.
“This approach will be anchored by a two-night minimum in entire home listings for guests without a history of positive reviews in parts of North America, Western Europe and Australia”.
The changes will take effect in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Australia, France and Spain.
In these countries, guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb will be prohibited from making one night reservations in entire home listings on New Year’s Eve.
“Guests who have a history of positive reviews on Airbnb will not be subject to this restriction,” the company said in the update on Thursday.
Airbnb said that it will allow already booked one-night reservations to go through as planned.
“Our data has historically shown that one-night New Year’s Eve bookings made prior to now very rarely lead to unauthorized parties”.
Airbnb said it “will leverage technology that restricts certain local and last-minute bookings by guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb and also block reservations within an expanded radius”.
Hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, Airbnb saw its gross booking revenue (GBV) nosediving by 39 per cent to reach 18 billion, while generating sales worth $2.5 billion (down 32 per cent year-on-year) in the nine months that ended in September 30.
The company which filed for an initial public offering (IPO) last month, said that its business will continue to be affected as Covid-19 continues to spread.