Published in El Pais, 6 October 2020.
Mansions are normally reserved for the wealthy but thanks to Airbnb you can pretend to be a millionaire for a night or two by renting out these enormous houses. Others have taken note that these places would be awesome to have a party, and many businesses have popped up who organize parties at these places for one night, promote on various social media platforms and charge a cover fee for admission.
Such parties have caught the ire of many local law officials and neighbours, (who would want a house constantly throwing parties in their neighbourhood?) and many have tried passing laws to ban them. Airbnb themselves have taken a lot of heat in the past for turning a blind eye for these borderline illegal activities. Now of course with a global pandemic going on they are finally starting to change their attitude.
All one-night reservations that take place on Halloween have been cancelled throughout North America to prevent people from hosting parties. Hosts will still receive payment for those nights. If you wish to reserve a place on Halloween you must now do so for more than one night for the reservation to be accepted and those who are deemed a high risk of throwing parties may still not be able to book a place even if their reservation is for multiple nights.
This type of action from a major corporation is certainly welcoming when many feel they are not doing enough. Many major retailers often only follow precautions after local legislators make it mandatory due to the cost in productivity and sanitization that goes with it. If more big companies take a proactive approach without waiting for the much slower moving government it could really help controlling the spread of the virus and push forward the economic that so many desperately need. Let us hope more who have the power are taking notice of Airbnb’s actions and that they follow suit.