Airbnb Inc. and Expedia Group Inc.’s Vrbo have started sharing information about chronic party houses in a bid to increase user safety across the short-term rental platforms.
The effort, called the Community Integrity Program, is the first of its kind in the industry and was officially launched in the U.S. on Friday after months of discussions between the two companies, who otherwise compete for hosts and guests on their sites.
The pilot program aims to “prioritize safety” of short-term rental users and the communities in which they operate and root out “chronic offenders,” according to a joint statement. The companies are both willing to explore expanding the program to include dangerous listings or properties they’ve banned after violent crimes have occurred there, according to previous interviews with the chief executives of both Airbnb and Expedia.
“We will assess any potential changes to the program as we generate insight and learnings from the pilot,” an Airbnb spokesman said on Friday.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported a series of stories about violent crimes that have occurred inside Airbnb rentals and the company’s trust and safety team that works to protect victims. The stories highlighted how Airbnb has paid millions of dollars in settlements to individuals who have been raped or injured during stays booked on its platform. In some cases, the company has banned a host or a listing after a tragedy has occurred and the same property has popped up on Expedia, or another short-term rental platform, because the companies don’t share information on these incidents.
Airbnb and Expedia said they have been in discussions with other short-term rental platforms about joining the program and they “hope to welcome additional partners in the near future.”
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