SAN ANTONIO — Shelley Galbraith’s Airbnb in the historic King William district is rarely vacant.
“Being downtown has its own vibe,” she said.
At night, that vibe is calm and quiet.
“When it’s too loud in your neighborhood and there’s a party and it’s out of control, you call the police,” Galbraith said.
Airbnb is cracking down on summer parties by extending its party ban for the July 4th holiday, a popular day for folks to gather together.
“The vast majority of our hosts, even before we instituted that ban, were already prohibiting parties in their own house rules, whether it’s In Texas or really throughout the country,” said Ben Breit of Airbnb. “The vast majority of our hosts, they don’t want property damage. They don’t want to annoy their neighbors. They want safe, responsible travelers who are coming to San Antonio for the right reasons.
The antiparty policy started to stop the spread of COVID. The vacation rental platform decided to extend the strategy because of its success.
Airbnb said the antiparty policy stopped about 1000 bookings in San Antonio July 4, 2021 but hosts said they are not losing any business because holidays are so popular, rentals rebook quickly.
“I’ve not had anyone say, oh my gosh, that safety security policy that weeds out those bad guests is really bad for business. I’m losing business because of it,” Galbraith said.
One and two-night bookings will be restricted for July 4. You will not be able to book a one-night reservation if you have a history of negative reviews or no reviews. Local, last-minute two-night bookings by guests with negative reviews or no reviews will also be rejected.
“We acknowledge probably a few of them or even a meaningful amount were just trying to make a regular booking and they just don’t happen to have that history of positive reviews just yet,” Breit said. “Maybe they’re new to the platform, don’t have any reviews. We acknowledge that there’s a tradeoff there. That’s a tradeoff we’re willing to make. We’re really prioritizing trust and safety right now and support both for our hosts and their neighbors.”
Plus, all other guests will need to opt-in to an agreement not to hold a party when they book. Rule breakers face consequences:
“That could start with a ban from our platform but it could also end with affirmative legal action. We’ve done that in a number of cases, including Texas,” Breit said. “We brought legal action against guests who have broken those rules and thrown unauthorized parties.”
The anti-party policy will not stop every party, so Airbnb has a neighborhood hotline to report violations. Hosts said the policy helps reduce problems.
“It gives more protection than we have without some kind of policy like that because we don’t know the history of the guests that we’re getting when they try to book with us,” Galbraith said.
Summer reservations for Galbraith are filling up. The July 4th weekend is already booked for her location.