A day after announcing it’s taking formal steps to issue an initial public offering, Airbnb is doing some housekeeping. The home-sharing network decided on Thursday that it’s had enough of all these stories about irresponsible patrons throwing parties in a pandemic, and it’s implementing a worldwide ban on large gatherings at rental properties.
In a statement, Airbnb wrote that it will now cap occupancy at all of its listings at 16 people. The company emphasised that unauthorised parties have always been banned, but owners had the option to allow them. According to the release, “73 per cent of our listings globally already ban parties in their House Rules,” but a surge in events being held in violation of local covid-19 restrictions has forced the company to step in and impose its own restrictions.
As the pandemic has pushed various regions to shut down nightclubs, bars, and other places that people gather to get wasted, a lot of people have taken to putting together their own DIY party destinations through Airbnb. In July, a party in New Jersey attended by 700 people was broken up by police. A handyman who reportedly tried to break up an Airbnb party in Cincinnati was shot by one of the attendees this week. And the company has had to resort to suing its own customers over the dangerous events.
Airbnb was expected to make its big move to go public back in the spring, but the coronavirus briefly murdered the vacation and travel industry. Business has been better in recent months, and it appears the company is at least more confident that the current climate could make a successful public listing possible. Today’s ban likely represents an attempt to calm any investor jitters over any liability issues coming down the pipeline.