Airbnb has announced a number of new rules relating to New Year’s Eve “as the world grapples with another COVID-19 wave”. In an announcement on the site, Airbnb justifies its new restrictions as a means of protecting both guests and hosts during the popular holiday period.
Despite Australia’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new rules from Airbnb apply to properties in Australia, just as they do to homes in North America (which saw 199,988 new cases on December 2 alone).
“We are announcing our plan to strengthen our hosts’ protection against unauthorized house parties and large gatherings over New Year’s Eve. This approach will be anchored by a two-night minimum in entire home listings for guests without a history of positive reviews in parts of North America, Western Europe and Australia,” Airbnb says, reiterating its mission to encourage positive travel and stop large gatherings.
To anyone who has booked an Airbnb for New Year’s Eve, these new rules could affect your upcoming stay. Best to read through thoroughly to avoid disappointment on the big night.
Global party ban
This is not new information — Airbnb announced a global party ban back in August, and the ban has not budged for NYE. The ban involves a strict 16-person occupancy cap in all listings. Unauthorised parties have always been banned, but gatherings of a more chill nature are acceptable at the host’s discretion.
Of course, this rule exists to protect the homes belonging to the hosts, but in NSW right now, the cap for visitors in your home sits at 50. So, if you’re planning to have a shindig bigger than 16 people, you’d do better to host your event at home.
From now, people hoping to make a booking for NYE in Australia — who do not have a history of positive reviews on Airbnb — will be prohibited from making one-night reservations in entire home listings on New Year’s Eve.
The only exception to this rule applies to those who have a history of positive reviews. These users will not be banned from making one-night reservations on December 31. In addition, people who already have one-night reservations booked will not see their reservations change.
It’s an interesting announcement to make now, considering most people who plan a NYE stay in an Airbnb would likely have booked months ago.
No party promise
All guests around the world with bookings over NYE must attest that they will not throw an unauthorized party. Should guests break these rules, Airbnb can pursue legal actions.
Support for hosts
Airbnb will provide extra support for hosts over the NYE period. Guidance will be provided to help hosts further reduce the likelihood of unauthorised parties, “including updating and proactively communicating their house rules to guests”.
A virtual command centre will also be accessible during NYE. Should hosts experience any issues, a trained safety agent is just a call away.
Airbnb says: “Our hosts are our partners in this mission – and we have carefully developed this New Year’s Eve initiative informed by their feedback along with a review of our data, systems and tools.
“We also know that the great majority of guests are respectful of our hosts’ neighbours, and that they treat their hosts’ homes as if they were their own homes. We believe this plan will help prevent large gatherings while supporting the type of safe, responsible travel that benefits guests, hosts and the neighbourhoods they call home.”