Parties at short-term rentals can cause property damage, parking and traffic issues, fights, and some very unhappy neighbors. Over the past several weeks Airbnb announced further crackdowns on parties as Christmas gatherings and New Years’ eve parties proliferated. Many of the parties were planned and advertised as ‘pop-up’ parties ahead of time, but with the specific property address only revealed hours before the actual event.
What have the large Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) done to address the problem? 2019 saw repeated high-profile violence and shootings at short-term rentals. Since that year, OTA operators began implementing policies to limit parties. Airbnb and Vrbo started by simply formally disallowing houses marketed as party houses. Going so far as banning thousands of suspect properties which actually punished property owners that were often victims themselves. As this strategy alone didn’t work, they rolled out more policies. OTAs tried raising the minimum age to rent and limiting single-night rentals to experienced, proven guests. None of these policies stopped the parties, and the industry’s reputation continues to suffer.
Most recently, Airbnb and Vrbo announced an information-sharing agreement. But, what do they actually communicate? Problem property owners, not problem guests, are shared via a third party. This latest tactic has many shortcomings, including time (it’s taken more than six months to get to just the recent pilot), lacking a standard enforcement mechanism, and again putting the blame on the property owner rather than the offending guests.
What are they missing
Taken together, the anti-party efforts from the OTAs are on the right track but are missing at least two key components: stronger guest screening and effective property monitoring. Party Squasher has partnered with guest screening companies that stop problem guests before they arrive, and of course, our patented, flagship monitoring solutions have proven effective for many years over thousands of properties.
Parties continue to be a huge problem in the short-term rental business, and Airbnb strategies continue to miss the mark. In addition to policies, better tools are the answer. Better property monitoring solutions such as Party Squasher can detect and notify when large gatherings are just starting. Now you can take action and problems avoided. If you have a short-term rental business and have not tried Party Squasher yet, we invite you to give us a try. Just because Airbnb misses the mark doesn’t mean you have to!
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