Yesterday, Airbnb announced that it will be canceling all reservations made in the D.C. Metro Area during inauguration week next week, including reservations made on the service's hotel booking site HotelTonight. The vacation home booking company will also proactively block any new reservations from being made in the area during that time.
Airbnb’s decision to cancel and block these bookings comes after several local, state, and federal officials urged people to avoid traveling to D.C. during inauguration week following last week’s deadly insurrection at the Capitol Building during the Senate’s election certification. On Monday, the FBI released warnings about armed protests that are planned at all 50 state capitols and again in Washington, D.C. in the week and days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
“We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration,” Airbnb said in a statement. “Airbnb’s work continues to be informed by inputs from our local host community as well as Washington, D.C. officials, Metro Police and Members of Congress throughout this week. In particular, Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration."
Additionally, the company confirmed that they are continuing their work to ensure that members of hate groups are banned from the Airbnb community. This includes expanding and enhancing their safety and trust protocols. Specifically, the site says they are working to identify and ban users who are confirmed to be involved with the criminal activity at the Capitol as well as running additional background checks when necessary. Through this work, Airbnb says they have already been able to identify “numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform.”
All canceled reservations will be 100 percent refunded. Airbnb says they will also be paying out hosts with the money they would have earned during the canceled stays.