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’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 Airbnb. Through 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.