Airbnb Cancels All Washington DC Area Reservations During Inauguration & Bans Members

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Airbnb Cancels All Washington DC Area Reservations

Airbnb Cancels All Washington DC Area Reservations During Inauguration

In a surprising move, to me at least, Airbnb has canceled all reservations in the greater DC area during the upcoming inauguration.  This is after the events of last week when protestors stormed the Capital.  They will also block any new reservations from being made.

Airbnb has said all guests with canceled reservations will be refunded and all hosts will be paid the money they would have earned, out of Airbnb’s pocket.  That is the right move to make on their part, covering the hosts earnings, since this is at their request.  I was surprised they were willing to do it since they have not been the most customer friendly company in the past.

Banning Hate Group Members & People With Criminal Activity At The Capital

Here is where things take a turn to the weird, for me at least.  Airbnb has worked with law enforcement and the media to get names of hate group members and people that were involved with criminal activity at the Capitol Building.  They have, and will continue to, remove these individuals from the Airbnb platform.

A company performing an almost backdoor type of background check seems to be overstepping in my opinion.  If you wanted to force everyone to allow a background check to be performed before using the platform then that would be one thing. But they most likely don’t want to do that because so many people would just go to a competitor. I don’t know that this action plays out well for Airbnb but only time will tell.

Airbnb Cancels All Washington DC Area Reservations

Airbnb’s Full Statement

Here is Airbnb’s entire statement, which you can read here:

Today, in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., we are announcing that Airbnb will cancel reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the Inauguration week.  Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, D.C. area from being booked during that time by blocking such reservations.

Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full. We also will reimburse hosts, at Airbnb’s expense, the money they would have earned from these cancelled reservations. HotelTonight reservations also will be canceled.

Airbnb’s work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week. In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration. Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration.

We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community. As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on AirbnbThrough this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.

Airbnb Cancels All Washington DC Area Reservations – Final Thoughts

I feel for anyone that had a reservation and was looking forward to the upcoming stay.  Especially if their stay had nothing to do with the inauguration anyway. But there is no way for Airbnb to differentiate these stays so they decided to just cancel all of them.  I think it was a good move on their part to cover the hosts losses since that may be money they really need during these trying times.  I think they should offer the customers with canceled reservations a discount on a future booking as well.

Tracking people down and removing them from the program via backdoor channels seems like an overstep to me. It seems like there is too much potential for them to get it wrong but we shall see how it plays out.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Totally agree with this move on the part of Airbnb. Way too risky right now. The climate is ripe for more criminal activity of the type we saw last week. By the way, did you seriously call them, “protestors”? Lol. You and everyone else knows that mob of thugs weren’t “protestors”. They were domestic terrorists and the FBI is hunting them down, so we’re not talking minor criminal activity that they managed to pull off last week. Let’s call out people by the name they deserve, given their actions.

  2. Karen, no one would defend criminals. The truth is most of the people are actually Biden supporters. AirBNB basically said “letzsthrow out all 99% of good people so we can get the 1% bad people”. I understand why, but if you apply that logic elsewhere then everything will be cancelled. Good people wont be able to stay anywhere. Not sure it is really AirBNB’s role to do this.

  3. The people who stormed the Capitol deserve every single bad thing coming their way. They should all be heading to prison. And people who belong to known hate groups deserve to be cancelled. Screw those people. No pity.

  4. Crazy how it seems like just a few years ago we were worried about “terrorists” booking hotels around tourist hot spots and now it’s just American citizens we are worried about doing the same thing. Pretty depressing.

  5. While great for the listers, it does leave the guests?
    I would say 99% are good people and now they have to scramble at the last minute and pay up for a hotel. The DC area is very large so inevitably lots of people will be impacted. AirBNB should compensate them with a credit equal to the stay to offset additional costs.


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