Thursday 15 April 2021 3:47 pm

Airbnb blocks 80,000 UK bookings in party crackdown ahead of lockdown easing

Airbnb has rejected almost 80,000 bookings in the UK as the home-sharing firm attempts to clamp down on end-of-lockdown parties.

The company has made use of a feature first introduced in August last year which automatically prevents customers under the age of 25 reserving entire homes if they have fewer than three positive reviews.

Use of the restriction follows several incidents during lockdown in which hosts have seen their homes trashed in illegal gatherings.

An illegal Airbnb party in Brick Lane earlier this year descended into violence as police attempted to shut it down for violating lockdown restrictions, leaving three officers injured.

The party was slammed by Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), who called it “dangerous, irresponsible, and totally unacceptable”.

Over the past six months, Airbnb has removed or suspended more than 1,000 UK listings because their descriptions indicated that guests were allowed to hold parties, which is against the company’s policy.

Airbnb yesterday unveiled a new Summer of Responsible Travel initiative in a bid to clean up its reputation after a slew of large-scale lockdown parties.

The company said it would roll out a package of measures including allowing hosts to introduce “quiet hours”, occupancy limits, and stricter rules on pets and smoking. Airbnb has already placed a 16-person limit on gatherings under one household.

Airbnb director of public policy Patrick Robinson said: “While the overwhelming majority of guests are responsible neighbours, we are committed to tackling potential issues of anti-social behaviour on the Airbnb platform.

“Today’s measures mark another step towards ensuring that stays are mindful and considerate of the communities that hosts call home.”