Online short-term rental marketplace Vrbo is trying to root out football fans who want to rent homes over the Super Bowl weekend to throw unauthorised parties.
Vrbo is attempting to help property managers detect bookers who may be looking to host an event by tracking factors like length of stay and number of guests, the division of Seattle-based Expedia Group Inc said in a statement on Jan 30. If a Vrbo booking is deemed high risk, the host receives an email alert and can cancel the guests’ booking penalty-free. Guests are also sent an alert reminding them of the company’s no-parties policy. Vrbo won’t cancel or block any bookings, leaving that for hosts or guests to do.
Vacation rental companies gearing up for an influx of visitors to Phoenix for the football game on Feb 12 have already taken steps to prevent parties. Airbnb Inc has reached out to local law enforcement agencies ahead of the Super Bowl and ran a forum for hosts, according to a statement. The company formally banned parties last summer and took steps last month to prevent New Year’s Eve bashes.
“Even though disruptive party houses are rare on Vrbo, addressing them is still a priority,” said Philip Minardi, director of public affairs at Expedia Group. “By deploying this new solution and working closely with local hosts, Vrbo is preventing problematic behavior before it starts.”
On Vrbo, demographic information of prospective renters is not considered, and fewer than 0.25% of all weekend bookings nationwide received party-related complaints over the past year, the company said.
The greater Phoenix metro area has seen 48% more nights booked over the Super Bowl Sunday weekend than on the same weekend last year, according to industry data provider AirDNA. Football fans are likely to face steep rates to stay in Phoenix for the game. The average rental for Feb 12 costs US$747, up 83% from the same night a year ago. – Bloomberg