Airbnb is getting tougher with a new anti-party crackdown

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Some guests say the filter assumed their situation unfairly

If you’re planning to rent an Airbnb residence anytime down the road and throw a party, you better look for someplace else. The company is rolling out measures across the country to help reduce the risk of disruptive and unauthorized parties – especially over major holidays like the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

By and large, most Airbnb renters are probably good guests and happy just to have a place to relax, but the company says it has been forced to act because lately, some guests have broken the rules. 

“Our anti-party system for the upcoming holiday weekends aims to help do this by taking steps to identify certain potentially higher-risk one-night and two-night booking attempts by guests of entire home listings, and preventing those bookings from being made,” the company wrote in a recent blog post.

“The system looks at factors relating to the guest’s account and their booking attempt that may indicate a higher risk for a disruptive or unauthorized party incident, like whether the guest has a history of positive reviews (or lack of positive reviews), the distance to the listing, whether the booking is last-minute, among other considerations.”

The filters guests have to get past

Depending on how you look at computer systems that analyze people and situations based on the information a person inputs when making a reservation, Airbnb’s anti-party filters don’t play around. The system will not only block home bookings that are identified as potentially higher-risk, but it tells guests right up front that if they break the rules, they may be subject to suspension or removal from the platform.  

Overall, Airbnb’s filters appear to be doing their job. The company says that since introducing its party ban in August 2020, it’s seen a global 55% year-over-two-year decrease in the rate of party reports. 

However, computers can be fallible.

Unfortunately, in situations where a system is constructed to “think” a certain way based on the information that’s imputed, the human on the other end who gets rejected has little immediate recourse.

There were a number of ConsumerAffairs reviewers who were stung by Airbnb’s anti-party filters in some rather befuddling ways.

“Traveling on business for the last 40 years, and with many more to go, I was thrilled to see Airbnb. My reviews are all 5-star excellent. This week, for no reason whatsoever, the Airbnb computer rudely informed me that I was booking for a party,” Joe of St. Albert Calif., wrote

“I'm an old guy who doesn't drink and is asleep by 9 pm nightly. I'm not sure how Airbnb thinks it's appropriate to offend people like that. Particularly as a regular business traveler, I can't deal with a flaky company whose computer algorithms override common sense.”

Another person who booked with Airbnb got rejected by the anti-party filter because they showed signs of a potential party. Alexis from Gainesville Fla., said she spent 40 minutes on the phone with Airbnb, only to be told that someone else would contact me in 24-48 hours. That time came and went, though, and so was the listing. 

“When I finally found somewhere else for us to go in a different city because the other was unavailable. I still got the same error message and nothing was resolved. They are still passing me around to other people. I will not use them in the future.”

Airbnb responsds

If an Airbnb guest would like to appeal this decision, they can do so by contacting the company. Here's more info.

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