Vrbo has announced the national deployment of new unauthorized event prevention technology that identifies potentially disruptive parties before they take place. During its 12-month pilot phase, it is estimated the system prevented over 500 unauthorized event bookings in the U.S. — saving Vrbo hosts roughly $2.5 million in party-related damages and minimizing disruptions to surrounding neighborhoods, according to a press release.
This technology is one of several measures Vrbo has taken to educate and equip hosts for the massive influx of visitors who will be traveling to Phoenix for the Super Bowl. Over the past year, Vrbo used the Phoenix-area market to pilot its new program. Because of its local success, the technology has been deployed nationally and is automatically applied to all Vrbo bookings in the U.S.
“As home to college bowl games, spring training, pro golf tournaments and this year’s Super Bowl, metro Phoenix is no stranger to hosting major sporting events. These events boost tourism and the local economy but can understandably cause concern among residents,” said Philip Minardi, director of Public Affairs at Expedia Group. “Being a good neighbor in the communities where we operate is essential to maintaining a healthy marketplace. Even though disruptive party houses are rare on Vrbo, addressing them is still a priority. By deploying this new solution and working closely with local hosts, Vrbo is preventing problematic behavior before it starts.”
How It Works
The technology generates a “risk score” for each booking based on multiple factors, including but not limited to the length of stay, lead time before the stay begins, number of guests who are booking, listing’s number of beds and variety of other amenities and weekday of first booked night. Guests’ demographic information is not considered and Vrbo does not share personally identifiable information.
If the technology deems a booking to be high-risk, the Vrbo host receives an email alerting them to this concern and enables them to cancel the booking, free of penalty. Separately, booking guests also receive an alert message prior to booking, reminding them of Vrbo policies against disruptive gatherings and similar nuisances. Vrbo does not block or cancel bookings — that decision can only be made by the host or booking party.
Additional Effective Measures
Over the past year, fewer than 0.25% of all Vrbo weekend bookings nationwide became the subject of party-related complaints. Policies and programs already in place to prevent improper use of Vrbo properties include:
- A no-tolerance policy for party houses. Vrbo will ban from booking any traveler who violates the published house rules and breaks their rental agreement by turning a rental into an unauthorized party house, as well as any host who knowingly allows such violations.
- Not allowing same-day bookings and providing the option for hosts to disable Instant Book for short booking windows so they have sufficient time to vet their guests.
- A nationwide partnership with remote noise-monitoring company, NoiseAware. Hosts who are enrolled receive real-time updates when there is a nuisance problem.
- Stay Neighborly is a first-of-its-kind web portal through which local officials and neighbors can contact Vrbo customer service to help address nuisance complaints.
- A partnership with Airbnb to develop the Community Integrity Program, an industry-wide collaboration that addresses community safety by sharing important information about problematic listings and strengthening action against repeat party-house offenders.
- A full-time trust and safety team that continually improves ways to keep bad actors off our platform and prevent abuse of properties.
In addition to deploying the technology, Vrbo teamed up with Arizonans for Responsible Tourism (AZRT), Rent Responsibly and GovOS to help educate hosts on responsible renting practices and compliance laws in the state. The community alliance created a regulatory resource center with compliance and permitting guidelines and is hosting a series of virtual and in-person educational events for hosts.
“Arizonans for Responsible Tourism (AZRT) is excited to collaborate with Vrbo and other industry stakeholders to ensure Arizona hosts have the resources they need to comply with new state laws and local regulations and minimize disruptive occurrences around the big game and other major events,” said Linda Curry, president of Arizonans for Responsible Tourism and Vrbo host.