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Airbnb Newstalk

Has anyone here ever booked accommodation using Airbnb?

Is anyone here over 25?

Airbnb have piloted a programme in Canada which prevents users under the age of 25 from booking a whole property, of any size, in their local area. It essentially means that if I was from Vancouver and 22 years old looking to book a full apartment in Vancouver, I would not be able to. They have implemented this policy to restrict some bookings which were for “party houses”.

The reason for the pilot is a shooting two weeks ago in Toronto at Airnbnb location where three people were killed, one apparently by suicide and two others were injured. All were attending a party, but the incident spilled out into hallways and multiple floors which was concerning for the permanent residents of the building.

In October 2019, five were left dead and four injured after a shooting during a house party near San Francisco.

An Airbnb spokesman did not say whether they planned on introducing this policy to other markets such as the US or Europe. He placed great emphasis on it being a pilot and the restriction does not prevent under 25’s looking to book a home at a location which is not in their local area. It also allows for certain users with an “established record of positive reviews” to be exempt.

Airbnb have faced intense scrutiny from the Canadian people and globally for such issues being directly linked with the company. Safety and trust in Airbnb continue to be a blemish on the company’s record as it prepares for its stock market flotation, expected later this year. It is privately valued at 30 billion dollars but incidents like this hurt its value. Airbnb must eliminate violent incidents, or they risk being placed under strict regulations which could hurt their business.

Last month, Airbnb stated it would invest 150 million dollars in additional funds into safety initiatives. This includes noise detectors that can alert hosts if there is a disturbance and a 24-hour hotline for upset neighbours. They also expressed their intention to tie staff bonuses to progress on safety.

2 months ago, Airbnb pledged to verify every property listing they have worldwide to check they are accurate. They have approximately 7 million properties listed.

To relate this article back to management, I felt there is ethical issues in companies like Airbnb and Uber who use the internet as a platform and act as a medium for these services. As of now, they cannot truly verify Airbnb customers or listings and are forced to impose harsh measures such as this policy.

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Written by: Jack O’ Doherty

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