When the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, we enacted our extenuating circumstances policy. This was not a business decision, but a public health decision. Travelers should not have to choose between safety and money – and we believe our responsibility was to do all we could to prioritize safety. And we did this based on the direction of government officials and public health experts.
Meanwhile, thousands of hosts have stepped up to support COVID-19 relief workers with accommodation. Others are helping disrupted travelers and catering to new local and long term accommodation needs. We have been working to keep our community well informed with specific guidance on enhanced cleaning standards and have reminded everyone to adhere to local rules on social distancing and shelter in place.
The overwhelming majority of our hosts and guests are responsible citizens and understand that homes are a place for safety and shelter in this pandemic. Today we are announcing new rules to help them navigate this confusing period and demonstrate respect for collective public health efforts.
As public health guidance is still evolving, we will not allow listing titles that could be interpreted as exploiting the pandemic, such as marketing around escaping COVID-19. Additionally, we do not feel it’s appropriate to market COVID-19 related discounts or promote a listing as being well stocked on limited resources such as hand sanitizer or toilet paper.
As such, we are prohibiting listing titles that reference “COVID,” “coronavirus,” or “quarantine” moving forward. This guidance has been communicated to hosts, and the majority have made corrections.
It will be a continual process to identify and address impacted listings, and we encourage our community to report any issues to help us take action in this regard. Moving forward, we will also automate these restrictions as a preventative measure.
As a resource to our hosts, we’ve published tips on appropriate ways to address the current situation in their listings — such as outlining their cleaning procedures or noting if their home is good for staycations or working from home. In addition, we’ve published guidance on what to do if you’re a guest or host who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has been confirmed to have it.
Parties and Events
During normal times, we fully empower our hosts to set House Rules on events and parties that are appropriate for their communities, and we will restore that discretion once the COVID-19 crisis subsides. However, for the time being, we are banning hosts from authorizing parties in regions where current public health mandates prohibit events and gatherings. Violating this new rule will result in severe consequences, including suspension and possibly full removal from the platform.
Additionally, we have reinforced this policy by temporarily disabling the “event-friendly” search filter, which is typically used so that guests can seek out venues for responsible parties and gatherings in normal times. We are also in the process of temporarily removing the “parties and events allowed” rule from the House Rules of any listings that formerly authorized parties, and we expect that work to be finished within the next 24 hours.
And, of course, we continue our rigorous work to prevent and address unauthorized parties, which have always been forbidden and reflect particularly serious abuses of our rules during this public health crisis.