Expedia Group’s vacation rental company Vrbo is rolling out its anti-party technology across the U.S. following a yearlong pilot that it says prevented hundreds of unauthorized event bookings.
The software generates what Vrbo calls a “risk score” for each booking request, based on factors such as the number of guests booking the property, how far in advance the reservation is requested, and the length of the stay. If the tech flags a booking as high risk, Vrbo will email the listing’s host to relay the concern and the host can cancel the booking. At the same time, guests will receive an alert reminding them about Vrbo’s policies against disruptive gatherings. (The company doesn’t block or cancel bookings automatically, which is a turn from how competitor Airbnb has been operating its own anti-party technology that bars high-risk guests from specific listings.)
“We believe empowering our hosts with timely information helps them make the best decisions for their properties,” a Vrbo spokesperson tells Fast Company.
Because of home-sharing platforms’ contactless nature, it can be difficult for hosts to monitor bookings or know whether unverified guests are coming onto the property.
Vrbo already implements a full ban on party houses (that is, homes listed essentially for throwing large parties). The company also doesn’t allow same-day bookings, and has a web portal for neighbors and officials to address nuisance complaints.
Vrbo says that within its pilot period, the new anti-party tech prevented more than 500 unauthorized events and saved hosts roughly $2.5 million in party-related damages. Fewer than 0.25% of all Vrbo weekend bookings in the U.S. ended up with party-related complaints, the company says.
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