Airbnb starts testing anti-party tech in the US and Canada

The company will look for signs of 'potentially high-risk reservations.'

Dado Ruvic / reuters

Airbnb is starting to test anti-party technology in the US and Canada. It announced a permanent ban on all parties and events at host properties worldwide back in June. Airbnb brought in such rules on a temporary basis after the COVID-19 pandemic hit to abide by social distancing restrictions.

The company began trialing similar tech in Australia last October. Airbnb says it was able to reduce the number of unauthorized parties in areas where it was using the tools by 35 percent. It's now rolling out the system more broadly in that country.

The anti-party tools look at several factors to detect "potentially high-risk reservations." They consider elements such as how long the prospective guest has had an Airbnb account, how far away the listing is from where they're based and their history of positive reviews. The system will also bear in mind the length of the trip and whether someone is trying to make a booking during the week or over the weekend.

It may, for instance, flag a planned stay of one or two nights over a weekend in the same city where the guest lives. Airbnb says that users who are precluded from staying at an entire home because of these measures can still book a hotel room or a private room. The host is more likely to be at the property in the latter case.

The company says it's trying to tackle unauthorized parties to the best of its ability. This system builds on tools that had a narrower focus on guests aged under 25, particularly those who wanted to stay nearby and didn't have positive reviews. Airbnb notes that the tools can't entirely prevent parties from taking place at listings. It has a tip line for neighbors to contact staff if they believe a party is taking place at a nearby host property or they have other concerns.

"We anticipate that this new system will help prevent more bad actors on our platform while having less of a blunt impact on guests who are not trying to throw a party," Airbnb wrote in a blog post. "While we are consistently willing to make trade-offs in the interests of building trust, our goal is to make these systems as precise and fair as possible to support our hosts and guests." Looking ahead, the company says it will detail the results of the test in the US and Canada and reveal other measures it plans to take to stamp out unauthorized parties.