If you had the bright idea to rent a massive house on Airbnb and have a blowout with all your friends when this pandemic is finally over, the vacation rental platform has news for you. This morning, Airbnb announced a global ban on parties and events at all listings that will remain in effect indefinitely.
The new ban means parties will now be prohibited on all future bookings. Guests may be legally pursued by Airbnb and barred from using the platform if they violate the new policy. Airbnb is currently working to identify a potential exception process for specialty and traditional hospitality venues listed on the platform.
You might think that the term "party" is up for interpretation, and you could get away with gathering a bunch of your friends together for a low-key hang without violating Airbnb's new ban. Not so, party people. Along with the ban, the company is also capping the occupancy of all listings at 16 people. That means even larger homes that can accommodate more than 16 guests will no longer be allowed to.
Groups smaller than 16 will be held to the no-party rule as well. "To be clear, we are not sanctioning smaller gatherings with this policy and all community members are expected to comply with local health restrictions on gatherings," Airbnb says in its announcement of the global party ban. "We will continue to enforce our party rules against groups of any size and will be taking action both on guests and listings if we receive reports from neighbours."
The ban might seem like a big, random bummer, but Airbnb has been working towards it for several months now. Plus, since it's rooted in public health concerns, the new restrictions are understandable. When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Airbnb removed the "event-friendly" search filter from its platform and all "parties and events allowed" House Rules from listings. It also introduced a new policy requiring all users to adhere to local COVID-19 public health mandates.
Since many of us can no longer depend on government mandates to keep us safe from the pandemic, Airbnb has taken its own strong stance. "In many large jurisdictions, public health mandates on gatherings have changed — and in some places swung back and forth in response to the changing rates of COVID cases — as have regulations on bars, clubs, and pubs," the company explains in its statement. "Some have chosen to take bar and club behaviour to homes, sometimes rented through our platform. We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible — we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behaviour does not belong on our platform."
Because Airbnb announced that this ban with remain in effect indefinitely, it may not be lifted even after the pandemic ends — whenever that may be. However, parties have long been restricted by the platform. Unauthorised parties have always been prohibited at Airbnb listings, and 73% of all listings globally already ban parties. That means the official global party ban probably won't be a huge adjustment for most Airbnb users.