Airbnb Party Prevention: Keeping Your Rentals Safe and Sound
A 7-step plan for Airbnb property managers on how to prevent disruptive and damaging parties in their rentals
January 19, 2024
Airbnb may have introduced a global party ban in 2022, but that doesn’t mean your rentals are safe from disruptive guests.
In fact, more than a year later (in November 2023) one central London (UK) council said it was still receiving an “unprecedented” number of party reports from residents about disruptive short-term rentals. One resident complained that 200 people arrived at a single apartment and began partying after 11pm, with “loud music, shouting, and screaming.”
But unhappy neighbors are just one of the consequences of unauthorized gatherings. Parties increase the risk of property damage, may invalidate your insurance, and can even lead to your rentals being closed for good.
But unless you sit outside your properties 24/7, preventing parties can feel almost impossible. And what qualifies as a party at an Airbnb, anyway?
That’s where our Airbnb party prevention strategies and smart device monitors come in.
Here’s how to keep your rental safe, stop problems and parties before they start, and keep an eye and ear on your properties even if you’re miles away.
What does Airbnb consider a party?
A games night or a full-blown rave? Airbnb policy strictly prohibits “disruptive gatherings” of any size, including open-invite events (gatherings to which invitations are public.)
It defines “disruptive” as excessive noise, parking issues, littering, smoking, trespassing, or vandalism. It also bans listings that say “party house” or “party and event-friendly.”
Hosts and guests who violate these rules risk having their Airbnb listings, reservations, and/or profiles blocked, removed, or banned. Guests also have a duty to respect approved numbers, comply with designated quiet hours, and respect the house rules when it comes to inviting their own visitors or holding gatherings.
7 tips for preventing parties at your short-term rental
Despite the risks, parties at your short-term rental are not inevitable. With these effective measures, you can reduce the risk and deal with issues before they escalate.
1. Establish well-defined house rules
The best way to prevent parties is to make your rules clear before guests book.
Decide on your policies—such as no parties, no guests without permission, and no smoking—and state them clearly and fairly. They should align with Airbnb’s overall policies, but you can decide exactly what you will and won’t allow. Airbnb then lets you write your house rules and show them on your listings.
You can also decide what happens if guests break the rules. That way—whether a guest breaks a glass, or has a huge unauthorized party—you can refer to your rules, and prove they were communicated well in advance. Having set policies also makes it easier to enforce any consequences of rule-breaking without confrontation.
Making your expectations clear from the outset reduces the risk of problems, primarily because guests intending to hold a party are less likely to book with a host who has clear rules in the first place.
2. Check guest background profiles and backgrounds
Airbnb has its own verification system to check that guests are who they claim to be, and you can also take a look at their profile to see how legitimate they appear. If they’ve just created their account and have no history of positive reviews (or only have bad ones), and are only booking a last-minute, one-night stay, you may want to steer clear, ask questions, or proceed to cancellation.
Also, you can even use third-party tools like Autohost, Superhog, and Safely to run background checks on guests, verify if they have a criminal record, or if their credit card is stolen or has been flagged for fraud.
Once guests request to book (or after they’ve booked, if you have Instant Book), send them a message asking them an open-ended question, friendly inquiry, and/or a reminder of the rules.
If you notice any evasiveness, this may be a sign that they’re not intending to stick to your rules. If something seems off or you notice any “red flags,” you can cancel without penalty, and prevent potential problems before they even arise.
3. Clearly communicate expectations with guests
Once you’ve defined your policies, make them clear to guests and set their expectations throughout their booking journey. This means that everyone knows the rules and no one can claim they didn’t see them.
Mention the rules in your listing before they book, send a link in the email you send before they arrive, and remind them in the welcome or check-in message. Good guests will be happy to accept the rules in return for a comfortable and trouble-free stay.
You can use Minut’s Guest Connect to schedule templated messages to guests, which allows you to automate how you share key information, like parking details, access credentials, and house rules.
You don’t need to be confrontational or risk a bad impression. Just politely and professionally direct your guests to your party policies, and state that they’re there for everyone’s safety and enjoyment. You can wish your guests a great stay and offer excellent hospitality even as you remind them of your conditions.
For example: “During your stay, please be aware of these rules. Unfortunately, in the unlikely event that they are broken, we must ask you to vacate the property (but we hope we never have to!). Have a great stay.”
4. Review your listing description
Optimizing your Airbnb listing to avoid parties goes beyond house rules. From the title to the photos and description, you can position your property to attract your ideal guest and warn off a party-loving rule-breaker.
For example, use words like “cozy” or “relaxing” in the title to set the mood. You can also paint a picture in your description to show your ideal guest what they could be doing during their stay—from “snuggling up with a book” or “lounging by the pool,” or “getting a restful night’s sleep after a day exploring the city.”
Your photos can follow suit, and highlight details that a party-goer is unlikely to look for, such as a great coffee machine, bright working space with desk, a guide to daytime city attractions, or kid-friendly chairs. This shows that even if your property is an entire home, and big enough for a party, it’s not the right place for one.
5. Have a set of eyes on your units
Despite setting all the expectations up front, you still can’t always be sure about what’s really going on at your properties. This is where having a trusted neighbor or assistant close by can be a good idea.
A neighbor can keep an eye on your guests and alert you to what’s happening, so you can take action if necessary. It doesn’t need to be invasive or secret—in fact, you can even let the guest know that someone local is close by and ready to help if they have an emergency or an urgent question.
Communicating with your neighbors also means that you can help keep you both on good terms. Be sure to let them know that you are running a vacation rental, but that you are against parties and disruption, and that you’ll work with local residents to prevent them. Happy neighbors are more likely to support you and your business.
Of course, this isn’t the same as keeping a constant eye on your rental—nor is it foolproof or scalable—but it might give extra peace of mind in case a situation appears to be escalating.
6. Use a noise monitoring tool
Neighbors may have the best intentions, but it’s unreasonable to expect them to keep watch 24/7, know what’s happening behind closed doors, or manage your rental guests themselves.
That’s why it makes sense to have an indoor noise monitoring tool, so you can know for sure if guests are being loud and causing disruption, and can communicate with them directly.
Noise monitors are perfectly legal devices that don’t listen in, speak to, or record your guests. Instead, they monitor decibel levels over time, and only begin to work if decibels stay above a given level for a set amount of time. If the threshold is exceeded, you can send guests an alert.
For example, a decibel monitor won’t alert anyone about an accidentally slammed door, an isolated high-pitched laugh, or a normal-volume conversation. But it will kick in if music is played on high, if shouting continues, or if loud noise persists for longer than, say, five or 10 minutes.
Minut lets you set your chosen decibel threshold and the duration of noise permitted, and also allows you to customize messages that you send guests in the event of an alert.
7. Use an occupancy monitoring tool
Noise isn’t the only problem for rental hosts. Having too many people in your home—particularly people whose name and details aren’t on the booking—is a security risk and opens your property up to damage.
It’s reasonable to want to know who’s in your home so you can check backgrounds and keep a paper trail in case of problems. Squeezing 10 people into a home designed for two presents a higher risk of injury and damage, and may even invalidate any insurance in case of injury.
Plus, in a remote property, asking a neighbor to keep an eye out for large groups may not be practical.
In this case, occupancy monitoring is an ideal solution. Just like noise monitors, occupancy monitors don’t record, listen in, film, or broadcast. Instead, they check the number of devices connected to your WiFi router to work out how many people are inside. They then alert you if the number is clearly more than permitted.
These are perfect for detecting parties, because they might not notice if there are three people inside rather than two, but they’ll pick up on a gathering suddenly occurring during the night.
Again, you can set your own terms for alerts, and customize messages to politely remind guests of the rules if needed, following up with reminders about your policies on unauthorized visitors.
Pro tip: Deter would-be partiers by mentioning your monitoring devices on your listings. Position them as non-intrusive tools that keep everyone safe, and be open and transparent about how they work. This will reassure responsible guests, and ensure rule-breakers will go elsewhere. Find out more
From horror to harmony: Protect your rentals with smart monitors
Horror stories of huge parties and disruptive guests are enough to scare any Airbnb host and property manager, but with a few effective tweaks, you can reduce the risk and protect your rentals.
Making your house rules clear, verifying guests before they book, and communicating your expectations upfront are a great place to start. Optimizing your listings to attract your ideal guests (and deter rulebreakers) can also pay off, as can asking a neighbor to keep an eye and ear out for trouble.
But setting up smart monitoring devices, such as noise and occupancy monitors, is the next level in keeping your properties safe. Devices like Minut—which are discreet, effective, and easy to set up—let you prevent and de-escalate unauthorized gatherings, without appearing to be “anti-party” (aka. the “fun police”) or prompting a slew of negative reviews.
Plus, it’s easy to manage from a single dashboard, so you can protect your property, reassure your neighbors, attract your ideal guests, and deter problem partiers in a few taps or clicks.
With Minut, you (and your neighbors!) can sleep easy—knowing that if your rentals ever do hit the headlines, it’ll be for good reasons, and good reasons alone.