Breaking: Airbnb and HotelTonight to block and cancel all Washington, DC bookings during inauguration

Jan 13, 2021

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that HotelTonight has also canceled all reservations.

Airbnb and its subsidiary HotelTonight will not allow those hoping to attend the inauguration in the Washington, D.C. metro area to use its services. The home-sharing service announced on Wednesday that in light of official guidance, it will cancel all existing reservations and prevent any new reservations in the Washington, D.C. metro area around the Jan. 20 inauguration date.

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“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,” Airbnb 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.”

Airbnb will refund those who had bookings in full. In addition, it said that it will reimburse hosts who had stays booked during the inauguration period.

The move follows growing concern from authorities about the safety of the inauguration event after a violent mob stormed the United States Capitol on Jan. 6. The FBI has warned that more attacks are planned.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, as well as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam have told visitors that they should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the inauguration.

Related: No-fly lists, security crackdown: Chaos in DC leads to big changes in travel ahead of inauguration

More than 10,000 National Guard troops will be deployed to the capital for the inauguration, with 5,000 more available, if needed.

With its announcement on Wednesday, Airbnb also said that it’s investigated whether individuals who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 have Airbnb accounts.

“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,” Airbnb said.

Airbnb has also clarified that there will be some exemptions for long-term stays and medical hardships.

On Tuesday, a number of travel brands — from Marriott to Hilton and Airbnb — condemned the violence at the Capitol. For Marriott, that also meant that it would be “pausing” donations of Republican members who voted against certifying the election — without saying when the donations would resume.

Related: Travel industry reconsiders political donations following Capitol siege

Featured photo by Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.




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