Airbnb bans parties at sites listed on its platform in COVID-19 fight

In Summary

• The new rules include a cap on occupancy at 16, with hosts or guests who try to skirt the rules facing a ban from Airbnb's community and even legal action, the company said on Thursday.

•"Instituting a global ban on parties and events is in the best interest of public health," Airbnb said in a statement, adding that the ban applies to all future bookings.

A screenshot of Airbnb website of Kwale homes and apartments
A screenshot of Airbnb website of Kwale homes and apartments
Image: COURTESY

No more parties and events in homes listed on Airbnb, the short-term home rental company said on Thursday as it tries to enforce strict social-distancing norms to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rules include a cap on occupancy at 16, with hosts or guests who try to skirt the rules facing a ban from Airbnb's community and even legal action, the company said on Thursday.

"Instituting a global ban on parties and events is in the best interest of public health," Airbnb said in a statement, adding that the ban applies to all future bookings.

Airbnb said 73% of its listings globally already ban parties in their house rules, while some hosts allow small parties such as baby showers or birthday parties.

Last year, Airbnb began imposing much stricter limits, starting with a global ban on "party houses" or listings that create persistent neighborhood nuisance.

Airbnb has also updated its policies in light of the pandemic, removing both the "event friendly" search filter and "parties and events allowed" house rules.The global ban comes a day after Airbnb said it filed confidentially for an initial public offering with U.S. regulators, setting the stage for one of 2020's marquee stock market debuts.

The potential IPO underscores a rebound in parts of the travel industry, which was battered this year by restrictions and shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

San Francisco-based Airbnb said in July that customers had booked more than 1 million nights in a single day for the first time since March 3, in part as U.S. travelers shy away from hotels and prefer to drive to local vacation rentals.