Travel is coming back. As vaccines roll out, one of the first things many people will be doing this summer is looking to travel with families and loved ones. Many of these travelers will be staying in homes because whole homes are considered to be the safer way to travel and because homes best support travel that brings family and friends together. While experts like the CDC have already recognized that some short-term rentals may offer a safer travel experience relative to hotels, without the risk of common spaces like lobbies or dining halls, we are committed to doing even more to serve our community.
As people begin to make plans to reconnect with friends and family, Airbnb is launching the Summer of Responsible Travel, an 8-point plan to help hosts, guests and communities they call home stay safer. The Summer of Responsible Travel plan includes new tools to help travelers and hosts stay healthier, systems to crack down on bad behavior and more help for people if some part of their trip doesn’t go as planned.
Key components of the Summer of Responsible Travel plan include:
- Tough new rules to ban parties and help prevent events that may disturb neighbors
- Over 50% increase in Community Support staff on call 24 hours a day to help travelers in need
The Summer of Responsible Travel plan puts public health first, promotes responsible travel, and gives Airbnb Hosts, guests, and neighbors the peace of mind that comes with knowing we’ll work hard to help ensure they have an incredible and positive experience.
Putting public health first
Last year, we announced a global ban on parties in the interest of public health, and that ban remains in effect. To enforce that policy during higher-risk events like Halloween and New Year’s Eve, we introduced new systems and rules to strengthen our Hosts’ protection against unauthorized parties.
We believe it worked. Those weekends were quiet, and these initiatives were well-received by our Host community. Meanwhile, we’ve learned that July 4 is being pegged as the “reopening” date in the US, which is great for the country as well as for the Airbnb community. We also know that public health and safety experts are still saying mass gatherings should not happen. That’s why we’re introducing new rules aimed at helping to prevent unauthorized parties over the 4th of July, similar to the successful initiatives implemented during Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
4th of July
Effective today, guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb will be prohibited from making one night reservations in entire home listings in the United States during July 4th weekend.
Guests who have a history of positive reviews on Airbnb or who already booked their one-night reservation will not be subject to this restriction.
As the July 4 weekend approaches, we are deploying more stringent restrictions on one and two-night reservations that may pose heightened risk for parties. For example, we will leverage our technology that restricts certain local and last-minute bookings by guests without a history of positive reviews on Airbnb and also block reservations within an expanded radius.
Noise detection devices
For Superhosts concerned about parties, we will be helping to facilitate discounts for noise detection devices from Minut. Through research and feedback from our Host community, we have found that this type of technology – which flags if decibel levels reach a certain level – helps with identifying parties and getting ahead of issues, while respecting privacy (as the devices do not record or transmit anything other than actual noise levels).
Though this technology is privacy-oriented, we still require Hosts to disclose the presence of these devices on their listing pages in advance of reservations.
In 2019, our CEO Brian Chesky announced the launch of the Neighborhood Support Line, a 24/7 US hotline which makes it possible for neighbors to flag issues to our trained agents in real-time – such as a party in progress. This hotline has helped us enforce our party ban and played a big role in enforcing our policies banning “party houses” throughout the US in places like Los Angeles, Florida, Texas and more.
We’ll be elevating the Neighborhood Support Line to additional languages – namely Spanish – so that neighbors for whom English is not their first language can easily get in touch with us with any issues.
Health Safety Practices
While we’re encouraged by the progress being made against the virus, Airbnb’s COVID-19 Safety Practices – which include wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and, for hosts and their teams, abiding by our five-step enhanced cleaning – remains a top priority. That’s why we’ll continue to require all Hosts and guests to commit to the process.
Peace of mind for everyone in the Airbnb community
More travelers are hitting the road. We’re getting ready by expanding our Community Support team and helping to ensure that Hosts and Guests have the tools they need to facilitate safe and memorable experiences this summer.
Enhanced Community Support
We’re in the process of elevating our frontline Community Support staff by over 50 percent to try and ensure we can provide the best possible service to our Host and guest community as travel demand surges. This hiring is taking place on a global scale, to support our community throughout the world and maintain 24/7 service.
Amplifying House Rules
Even prior to our global party ban, the great majority of our Hosts took measures to prohibit parties and events in their own listing House Rules. These House Rules often have other important guidelines – such as quiet hours, occupancy limits, rules on pets and smoking, and much more.
Based upon feedback from our Hosts, we’ve updated our product to elevate where House Rules appear on our listings pages, as well as on the booking confirmation page and confirmation email guests receive to remind them of their Host’s expectations before they arrive. This helps communicate those important rules loud and clear while aligning expectations between Hosts and guests to try to ensure respectful treatment of properties and neighbors during stays.
This comes in addition to our standard host support services – including up to $1 million in property damage protection and up to $1 million in Host Protection Insurance on every booking for qualified Hosts.
Many families will want to make the most of Summer and pursue homes with private pools. We’ll be communicating to our US Hosts pool safety tips from the UPSC’s “Pool Safely” campaign, including guidance about pool fences.
Unfortunately, West Coast residents and travelers should be ready for seasonal fire danger. We’ll be sending important guidance to our western Hosts to help them prepare their guests to take necessary precautions.
This plan adds to an extensive list of programs built to prioritize the health and safety of our community during the ongoing pandemic, ranging from the Enhanced Cleaning initiative, Health and Safety Mandate, a forthcoming health and safety attestation, bans on parties and gatherings, crackdowns on party houses, updates to our standards and enforcement, as well as a series of policies and tools to support Hosts and guests with flexibility, bookings and refunds during this challenging period.