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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Throwing a party at Detroit Airbnbs could get you banned —  or worse

Posted By on Tue, May 5, 2020 at 1:12 PM

click to enlarge Party for one, anyone? - SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Shutterstock.com
  • Party for one, anyone?

Don't plan on throwing a rager at a Detroit Airbnb any time soon.

The lodging site issued a stern warning Tuesday against throwing parties or events at their listed properties, even those that were previously labeled as “event-friendly,” a search filter that has since been disabled.



Normally, Airbnb allows its registered hosts to make the call as to whether guests are able to throw gatherings on their properties. However, due to various state-mandated social distancing restrictions and bans of large gatherings — including Michigan's stay at home order and closure of non-essential businesses through the end of May — Airbnb has been forced to amend its policies on events, going as far as to working alongside local police to enforce these changes.

“We want to be very clear — not only will we ban guests who attempt to throw an unauthorized party in a Detroit Airbnb listing, we will be cooperating with Detroit Police in any investigations relating to parties and violations of public health mandates, consistent with our Terms of Service,” a press release reads.

In 2018, ravers broke a Detroit Airbnb record when 1,700 guests were hosted in Detroit rentals over the Memorial Day weekend for Movement, earning local hosts a collective $238,000. This year's Movement has been rescheduled to September, and Memorial Day weekend follows the expiration of Gov. Whitmer's extended stay-at-home order through May 15.

Since March, when the travel industry came to a grinding halt, Airbnb's valuation has dropped by 16%, from $31 billion to $26 billion with a projected 52% loss of the company's total annual revenue. However, the company launched a $250 million relief initiative to assist hosts impacted by cancellations, offering hosts 25% of what the host would have been paid for a cancellation.

The strict no-party policy follows Airbnb's new enhanced cleaning initiative, an opt-in program for hosts willing to adhere to new cleaning and sanitation protocol, which would force hosts to create a 24-hour window between bookings. Those hosts would have access to cleaning guidelines and COVID-19 prevention methods, all of which must be followed before allowing guests to rent their space. For hosts that don't want to opt-in to the new program, they can create a booking buffer. However, those properties will have an automatic 72-hour block between reservations.

Airbnb has also changed up another one of its features. The company expanded its “experience” offerings — a feature that would, in a pre-COVID-19 universe, allow users to purchase travel experiences, like drone photoshoots, wine tastings, and guided tours — to now include online experiences. The feature gives hosts the opportunity to provide virtual Zoom experiences for a set fee, like, for example, discovering the meditative art of forest bathing, goal setting with an Olympic gold medalist, learning to collage, how to propagate plants, the secrets of sourdough bread, or virtually meet the animals of Chernobyl.

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