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All Airbnb Washington D.C. Bookings Are Canceled for Inauguration Week

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 1/13/2021 Meredith Carey
a large body of water with buildings in the background: United States capitol on beautiful blue sky © ak_phuong United States capitol on beautiful blue sky

Shortly after announcing it would be banning hate group members and extremists who participated in last week's attack on the Capitol from its platform, Airbnb announced it would be canceling all rentals in the DMV area during inauguration week. As of today, the homesharing site is refunding all existing reservation for next week—including reservations booked on HotelTonight, which Airbnb acquired in 2019—and preventing any new Airbnb bookings in the Washington, D.C., area during that time frame.

Airbnb declined to share the exact dates of its new plan, or how far geographically the cancellations spread from the capital. The company did say in a statement that all guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full and hosts will be compensated for the unexpected loss of income as well. 

The move comes after a number of officials—including D.C.'s mayor and both Maryland and Virginia's governors—have released statements urging would-be travelers to watch the historic inauguration from home, amid both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and threats of violence in the capital. Local activist groups and D.C. residents have been urging hotels, Airbnb, and other homeshare platforms like VRBO to cancel bookings ahead of the inauguration as well, according to The DCist. Airbnb and HotelTonight are so far the only brands to enact this change. 

While this is by far the most sweeping cancellation, it's not the first time Airbnb has canceled home reservations around hate group and Proud Boy rallies. Starting in August 2017, ahead of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, the company canceled bookings and banned those who participated from using its platform. That has continued through the last three and a half years, most recently with the platform banning “numerous individuals” that had participated in the riot at the Capitol building on January 6, based on media and law enforcement sources. 


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