With all the recent issues & problems involving parties in short-term rentals, VRBO is taking steps to mitigate this by deploying what it calls a “new unauthorized event prevention technology.” FOX News is reporting that this new program was responsible for blocking over 500 event-related bookings in the first 12 months of being piloted in the U.S. According to the report, an algorithm examines length of stay, the timing ahead of a stay, the number of guests, number of beds, property amenities and the weekday of the first night’s stay. FOX says VRBO offered little details on how it determines the cost of nuisance partygoers, however they did claim that its first 500 blocked bookings saved an estimated $2.5 million in party-related damages. Indeed…Just in time for last weekend’s Super Bowl, too.
A recently introduced feature called CrowdControl measures the volume of wireless signals in and near the vacation rental. When it detects a growing crowd with cellphones in pockets, it sends the owner or manager an “elevated occupancy” alert. That’s a pretty clever and sneaky way to discover the presence of lots of people. There’s no information telling if putting guest phones in airplane mode would let partygoers trick the system.