Airbnb cancels all bookings for DC during Inauguration week

Jonathan Shieber
·2-min read
The Airbnb Inc. and HotelTonight logos are displayed on Apple Inc. products in an arranged photograph taken in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Friday, March 8, 2019. Airbnb Inc. agreed to buy HotelTonight, its biggest acquisition yet, in a move to increase hotel listings on the site ahead of an eventual initial public offering for the home-sharing startup. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Airbnb won't be hosting anyone in Washington DC during the week of the Presidential Inauguration, the company said in a statement.

Brian Chesky took to Twitter to confirm the company's move on Wednesday even as lawmakers in the nation's Capitol were moving ahead with a historic vote to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time.

The move to make the blanket ban and effectively shutter Airbnb's in and around DC ahead of the Inauguration came after the company had committed to review guest bookings in an attempt to ensure that no one associated with last week's riot at the Capitol used the service to return during the lead up to the Inauguration.

"Today, in response to various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C., we are announcing that Airbnb will cancel reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area during the Inauguration week," the company said in a statement. "Additionally, we will prevent any new reservations in the Washington, D.C. area from being booked during that time by blocking such reservations."

Guests whose reservations had been canceled are receiving a full refund, and the company said it would reimburse hosts for the money they would have earned from the canceled reservations. The company said that HotelTonight reservations also will be canceled.

"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," the company said. "Additionally, 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 has also been assisting the law enforcement in their investigations into what happened at the Capitol last week.

"As we’ve learned through media or law enforcement sources the names of individuals confirmed to have been responsible for the violent criminal activity at the United States Capitol on January 6, we’ve investigated whether the named individuals have an account on Airbnb," the company said. "Through this work, we have identified numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol Building, and they have been banned from Airbnb’s platform."