WIRED Reporter looking to talk to hosts about Airbnb party ban

Then you’re overestimating your abilities in screening guests. Screening is important, but never foolproof. There are guests out there smarter than you, I, or other hosts. They will slip through your process and bad things will result. That’s not saying anyone here’s better or worse than another, just that no process is perfect, even if you do have your own super-duper-DNA-test-before-booking process. Folks will slip through if you do this long enough.

@jaquo are you implying age is a protected class? Or that other sectors like insurance, credit, or STR platforms like AirBnB do not already have formal, age-based differences in pricing or acceptance criteria in place already? There are plenty of sectors that have long accepted that age is an indicator of higher risk in the aggregate, but that doesn’t make them wrong. While I’d love to believe that I could host without any bookings coming in off the major platforms, we’re not quite there yet, thereby creating increasing compromises in platform-specific policies that have, as over have pointed out above, eroded host protections over time. If there are questions or criteria that other hosts have used and found particularly effective over time, please don’t be shy in sharing back here so others, myself included, can learn from your experience.

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No, you are assuming that all Airbnbs will eventually attract bad guests, which isn’t necessarily true. Most of my guests I barely need to screen because they have at least a few really good reviews, some have pages of them, and accompany their booking request with polite, informative messages. I’m not so smug as to think I could never get a bad guest, but that every Airbnb will eventually get them isn’t true. Unless of course you have proof to back that up.

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I live in a party city so know what it’s like to have STRs where remote hosts let parties go on unabated in their listings.

Can I ask how your guests are able to have multiple cars and visitors turning up at your properties without you being aware. Do you or your cohost not monitor CCTV at your property to help prevent parties starting up @clifhirtle

You are right vetting can only get you so far, but CCTV and noise monitors help monitor high risk guests so the first time you see a car/extra visitors turn up that are not on the booking you have an indication that it could be a problem rental.

You can then get in touch with the guest who books that they are under warning that any visitors not on the booking will lead to their booking being cancelled. If they don’t respond, then you get over there with your security.

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@Helsi yes to cameras in driveways under my control. No, to their use in condos or share space properties where parking is in a common area or cameras present a grey area or logistically impossible due to distance of parking areas from the home. Yes to noise monitors inside homes, but no/maybe(?) for larger outdoor spaces where noise is either harder to measure or assess objectively. I know Minut recently released their outdoor privacy-aware noise monitor and while that may work for something like a small deck or confined outdoor space there’s only so much you can do if your home’s in a city, noisy neighborhood, or doesn’t have a farm gate you can lock folks out with. Which, to that point, while appealing on face value for short term rentals or events, would likely be considered an unauthorized lockout and against the law in most states for a long term rental.

At the end of the day, we can all agree that there’s best practices like cameras, noise monitors, and signed rental contracts that can be deployed to keep our communities safe and homes protected. The point here is that none of this is foolproof and we’re all still playing the odds that someone that’s more aware of how the system works does not show up in our homes at some point.

If others have additional tips and techniques for minimizing the likelihood of bad actors showing up, again, all ears.


Absolutely there are no guarantees but as you say vigilant hosts who vet guests carefully and have monitoring systems at their listings are much more likely not to have parties at their listing as they can shut down parties before they start.

I didn’t imply anything. If you inferred from my comment that age is a protected class, I have no control over that.

My insurance company requires that at least one guest in any party is over eighteen. As long as I comply, they are happy and I am happy.

Which is what I’ve been doing here almost daily for several years. I hope I’ve been helpful to you and that you’ve learned valuable lessons.

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A single, blanket “policy” that is not well thought-out or based in actual science or statistical reality is going to fail to address the target issue well for a lot of affected listings. I think the technology available to ABB could be used well enough, but the broad strokes some of the “developers” paint unjustly affect many hosts negatively.

We have a 2 night minimum and we only accept up to 2 guests, so the current “ban” likely will never be an issue for us. But the broader concern–disruptive guests–isn’t limited to one-night rentals. Our listing is in the desert. With few structures, spread out with lots of space in between, sound travels FAR. When we’re doing a turnover in the early afternoon, I can often hear a neighbor on his property talking to someone as he walks about on his cell phone outside. I can follow his conversation. It would take 3-4 minutes of fast walking on a dirt road for me to get to his property line from the patio area of our listing where our guests would be hanging out. So the converse–our guests talking enthusiastically at night while enjoying the hot tub–could easily be disruptive to that neighbor. No party, no extra cars or secret guests. Just a married couple on vacation talking while soaking after a nice day of hiking in the National Park. Our cameras don’t pick up that activity. A noise sensor wouldn’t even detect abnormal noise. But the sound carries.

There’s a lot of nuance that needs to be accounted for if a system to prevent guests from “disruptiveness” is to be effective for a wide set of hosts or listings. City vs desert or forest. Studio apartments in complexes vs 8 bedroom homes on acreage with a large yard and pool. Age is a bit of a flimsy metric to predict potential disruption. I’ve been part of a party of 4 couples renting an Airbnb to celebrate a milestone birthday. We didn’t make a ruckus. But even 2 or 3 50-somethings can get rowdy and bother neighbors. What algorithm can accurately stem the disruption without alienating a big chunk of hosts or potential guests?

The approach Airbnb is taking is not going to be effective enough while at the same time, it disrupts the business of hosts AND guests who aren’t part of the problem.


because some of them are so stupid they use a photo of themselves drunk, smoking and clearly partying as their profile pic.


I’d love to see an opt-in choice where a guest can allow their name and photo (even their socials) to be shown during the booking process.


WHT the F%^& is API??? Please dont assume that all hosts understand.

Perhaps - I’ve never had a photo of.a guest drunk/partying/smoking in six years of hosting and cohosting and now almost a thousand guests so I can’t believe it’s that common @gillian

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API is an extremely common term in the context of what georgy girl wrote. If you’d like to know what it is, try google. If you’d like to understand how it applies here, read posts regularly. Most hosts here will patiently explain, even though it’s been explained many times, if someone inquires in a kind, adult fashion.

Meanwhile, your use of all caps and GRAWLIX is extremely rude.



You’re so right to point this out.

Many guests would feel that they are not ‘noisy.’ In my opinion, what the listing or messaging needs to explain to them is what ‘noise’ is under the local noise ordinance.

Here, in part, it’s this:

“No person shall engage in persistent or repeated yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, singing, or the making of other loud noises between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in such a manner as to be plainly audible in any public place at a distance of 25 feet or more in any direction . . .”

Another part of the noise ordinance says: “No person shall make or cause or permit to be made or caused any music or sound . . . when the level of sound increases the broad band sound level, when measured at the property line of the establishment, by more than 10 dB(A) above ambient [sound levels].” Chapter 9 § 1A (e) (7).”

Note: A sound 10 dB(A) above the ambient level is generally perceived as twice as loud. You can download free sound level meters for your smart phones, such as the NIOSH sound level meter app for ios devices or Sound Meter for Android devices.

It doesn’t even need to be intelligible. That is, you don’t need to make out the words. If someone in a public place 25 feet away can hear that you’re talking that is the definition of a ‘loud noise.’

I’ve played with the NIOSH sound level meter app and it’s not hard by simply talking to create a sound of 10 dB(A) above the ambient level when the sound is generated near the property line.

Where I live I doubt that anyone would really be disturbed by talking that meets just these minimum noise levels, but it demonstrates how easy it is to inadvertently violate a noise ordinance.

My personal takeaways are that if I’m outside at night I need to know that if I’m not talking at a hushed level or playing music even at what I might feel is a pretty low level I’m probably violating the local noise ordinance.

If it’s a hot summer night and neighbors have their windows open, that sound might well carry and disturb them. So this is another example where ‘partying’ is just too vague. A person violating this noise ordinance might well be disturbing a neighbor and yet honestly say that they are not ‘partying.’

That’s why I think that ‘party’ should be defined, that noise in excess of the local noise ordinance should not only be prohibited but also spelled out, whether or not that is an element of partying.

I haven’t personally had any requests with photos like that and they may not be common, but I have definitely seen guest photos that would lead me to decline a booking. Half-naked, wasted at a party, selfie bikini shots, giving a finger to the camera, etc. One guy had a photo of himself brandishing a gun.

There was a guest post from a young woman who was having trouble being accepted for a long term booking with her dog. She sounded like a nice, responsible girl, and she sounded articulate and respectful in her post. But I suggested she change her profile photo, wearing something different from the little crop top with “Thug Love” emblazoned across it. (Perhaps that’s the name of some rap band or clothing brand, I don’t know)

If someone doesn’t understand the difference in how to present themselves when asking to be trusted to rent someone’s home, as opposed to what they might choose to post on Instagram or Tinder, they just don’t seem like a good bet as a guest. (I’ve also seen profile photos of women looking to be hired as co-hosts, that show them in what looks like a dress you’d wear to a nightclub- silver sparkly, skin-tight, and low cut with major cleavage, not exactly how most hosts would want their co-host to present themselves to guests)

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API, in this instance, stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s what allows, say, the Airbnb backend servers to communicate with a PMS (Property Management System) like OwnerRez in order to sync calendars, update pricing, and whatnot.

If you’re looking for a story, in addition to this one you should look here also:

I don’t think Airbnb’s policy is the right one but it’s kind of amazing that if someone has an Alexa device in a sleeping area that that is a violation of Airbnb policy.

And that violation is a big deal, because a guest asserting it could likely get a complete refund.

@Cyn I would love it if you would quietly direct Amanda to this sort of story…AirBnb withholding owner payouts, …instead of a another soundbite story regarding parties, and the wonderful AirBnb publicity machine. Just a personal thought.


The problem is that the media exists to make money. Sometimes they inform or educate but not at the expense of making money. A story about hosts not getting paid, especially “big rich absentee landlords who make a lot of money investing in party houses,”* isn’t going to sell.

*stereotype that causes people to hate Airbnb/STR


You might be right; I don’t know.

But what if the story is something like “What You Don’t Know about Airbnb CAN Hurt You.”

Maybe the story goes like this:

  1. Airbnb Doesn’t Really Care about Parties, Just Bad Press about Parties because if They Did . . .
  2. Airbnb Wants More Hosts But it Doesn’t Vet Them, So it’s Guest Beware!
  3. Airbnb Recruits More Hosts But it Withholds Thousands from Hosts to Make Money While Hosts Wait.
  4. Airbnb Says it Protects Hosts with AirCover but the Truth is Something Else; It Pays Pennies to the Dollar
  5. Heads Airbnb Wins, Tales Communities Lose: How Airbnb Hosts with 10-Plus Properties Are Destroying Communities and Increasing Rents
  6. How Safe Are Airbnb Homes? – Why Airbnb Doesn’t Care
  7. Why Airbnb Revamped Their Arbitration System and How it Plays the Game
  8. Heads in Beds; Why Airbnb Wants Hosts to Admit Guests in Their Home but Won’t Even Tell Hosts Their Name.

ALL: What Would You Add to the List? and/or How would You Edit the List?

Maybe Amanda could write an article that sells along these lines.


Nothing. Most of what you write is too long. This is for Wired, not The Economist or The Atlantic. Think Entertainment Tonight, not NPR. And if it weren’t for government funding, NPR wouldn’t exist.

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