WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Airbnb announced it would cancel and block reservations in Washington, D.C. within the inauguration week.
- The company said the decision was in response to the reports it received from sources about the hate groups planning to disrupt the peace during that week.
- Airbnb has an existing policy since 2017 in dealing with guests connected to violent activities and hate groups.
On Wednesday, vacation rental online platform Airbnb said it would be stalling and revoking all bookings in the Washington, D.C., vicinity during the presidential inauguration week.
The move was in response to authorities from local, state, and federal governments urging the public not to visit Washington at that period. The decision was a couple of days after the company announced it was scrutinizing bookings in the zone anticipating the inauguration and said it will prevent any travelers linked with hate organizations or violent groups.
The San Francisco-centered firm also explained that users whose reservations are voided will get a full refund at Airbnb’s cost, hosts will also be refunded with the money they could’ve made from the canceled transactions. The company also said that it would cancel HotelTonight’s reservations, another service operated by Airbnb that offers last-minute packages at top-rated hotels will also be canceled.
Airbnb refused to comment on how many bookings will be canceled, however, during the Presidents’ Day weekend, the app records over 300 rentals in Washington.
In its corporate blog, the rental company said
“We are continuing our work to ensure hate group members are not part of the Airbnb community.”
Airbnb also noted it had known from law enforcement or media sources the identified personalities responsible for the unlawful activity at the Capitol, and it also verified if these people have Airbnb account. Through this process, they were able to identify many individuals connected with identified hate groups or involved with the violence at the Capitol building. The said people are now banned from using Airbnb.
The policy by Airbnb about guests having connections with hate groups has been implemented since 2017.
On Monday, the company also announced that it won’t support Republicans who voted against certifying the election outcomes the previous week, joining with other companies including AT&T, Walmart, and Marriott.
In the 2020 election, it was reported that Airbnb’s political donation reached $866,519, given various parties and candidates, as reported by Open Secrets. Democratic President-elect Joe Biden got the most of the donations by Airbnb.
Meanwhile, a hotel labor group on behalf of Washington’s 7,200 hotel workers recommended closures of its facilities to keep staff and the public safe.
On Wednesday, though, Marriott International announced that their Washington located hotels would be open before and during the inauguration.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the company said they had guests who are officially part of the inauguration, and they plan to keep the reservations.
Source: Yahoo News