Airbnb Uses AI to Restrict Unauthorized New Year’s Eve Parties

Airbnb Uses AI to Restrict Unauthorized New Year’s Eve Parties

As New Year’s Eve approaches, Airbnb is taking a tough stance against unauthorized parties by leveraging AI to identify and restrict potentially high-risk bookings.

This is in response to the challenges posed by disruptive gatherings that violate the platform’s policies, particularly during the celebratory holiday season.

The US, UK, Canada, and France are among the seven countries where the AI technology will be implemented to examine and evaluate bookings and reservations.

No to “extravagant” parties

Last year alone, the number of Americans who were denied access to New Year’s Eve rentals reached roughly 63,550, who were suspected of throwing extravagant parties.

According to an article by Daily Mail, Naba Banerjee, the head of Trust and Safety at Airbnb, emphasized the company aims to enable positive experiences for users while preventing disruptive incidents.

“When it comes to how we use technology like AI, we’re focused on taking a thoughtful approach that aims to benefit hosts, guests, and neighborhoods,” said Banerjee.

“We’re optimistic these measures will help have a positive impact for the communities we serve.”

Also read: 2023: The Year Generative AI Shined Bright—and Cast a Shadow

How AI will review bookings

To combat the challenge during the holiday weekend, the AI system will review booking attempts for one, two, and three nights for entire home listings.

It will examine several variables, like the length of the guest’s planned stay, type of property, proximity to the listing, and last-minute bookings.

The purpose of the study, according to the company is to fish out reservations that may turn into parties.

According to the Daily Mail, the platform is activating AI and machine learning tech to assess hundreds of signals as well as to block any bookings seen as “potentially higher-risk for a party incident.”

Unfair profiling

However, users are concerned that profiling based on algorithms may cause potential discrimination as the technology has already been accused of biases.

Recently, Grammy award winner Fantasia Barrino accused Airbnb host of racial profiling, adding her family was kicked out of a Mooresville home over the weekend.

Airbnb however responded saying they do not condone any form of discrimination.

Mixed reactions

“When you’re spending that kind of money, for you to have rules and regulations seems kind of unfair, especially for them to start profiling people to decide who can come and who can’t,” Ken Kyles told CBS8.

“What algorithm, What AI, what parameters are they using?” questioned Jordan Germinaro who lives in San Diego, Carlifonia.

“Who is going to get rejected from renting, and if it is just going to be parties, or if they can use parties as an excuse to discriminate against certain guests?” he asked.

But Rian Chandler-Dovis said she was a bit divided on the issue because implementation of the policy would also “take away business from Airbnb hosts if the platform is blocking potential guests.”

“But I do understand and live in a residential neighborhood where sometimes people come in and have parties. It’s really no fun when you’re raising kids and they have school the next day,” she said.

But Airbnb maintains the plan to curb unauthorized New Year’s Eve parties is to ensure a positive user experience and prevent disruptive incidents.

Global party ban

Apart from the 63,000 guests blocked in the US last year, another 13,200 and 5,400 guests were blocked in the UK and Australia respectively over unauthorized partying. The crackdown on parties has resulted in a 73% reduction in rate of party reports in the UK.

In addition to AI and machine learning, Airbnb has implemented other measures to enforce its “global party ban” on New Year’s Eve. These include reservation screening, noise sensors for hosts, a neighborhood support line, and a 24-hour safety line.

The company initiated the party ban in August 2020 as a response to the shift in socializing patterns during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Last year, according to Daily Mail, the company decided to intensify the ban saying:

“We focus on trying to deter the very rare cases of Hosts who do not operate responsibly, or guests who try to throw unauthorized parties.”

Breaking the rules could lead to account suspension or permanent account removal, according to the company.


Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.