Ain’t no party like an Airbnb party

Airbnb has gone full Minority Report and says it plans to roll out “new anti-party technology” across the US and Canada, reinforcing a ban on fun it introduced in June.

The San-Francisco-based flats-for-hire group said on Tuesday that the “technology” — apparently piloted in Australia in October — would help to “identify potentially high-risk reservations and prevent those users from taking advantage of our platform”. 

The company’s blog post continued:

“For example, this system looks at factors 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. The primary objective is attempting to reduce the ability of bad actors to throw unauthorised parties which negatively impact our Hosts, neighbours, and the communities we serve.”

“Professional” Airbnb hosts have been moaning about parties for years. Sean Rakidzich — the internet’s “LEADING expert in Short Term Rentals and Airbnb Education” — told his followers in a 2020 YouTube video of how he’d beefed up his screening of potential renters and installed noise monitoring devices across his properties to prevent “party attempts”.

He also hired a security guard to keep out unwanted revellers. “I can achieve this because my business model, rental arbitrage, allows me to get batches of properties in the same area,” he said. “I have four town homes in Philadelphia that I put a person in front of”. 

Totally unrelatedly, Airbnb’s northern Europe general manager told the House of Lords in May there was “no evidence base that has drawn any link whatsoever between short-term accommodation and housing scarcity”. Quite a lot of people seem to disagree, and there’s no sign that Airbnb intends to crack down on the maturity transformationrental arbitrage” beloved by pros like Rakidzich. Why would it? The scourge of partying hurts their bottom line, and the housing crisis helps it.


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