Airbnb Cancels All DC Inaugural Bookings

Airbnb announced Wednesday that is cancelling all booked reservations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area during Inauguration week. The online rental site also will take no new reservations in the Capitol region during that week.

Airbnb implemented the ban in response to officials asking people not to travel to Washington for the Inauguration in the wake of last week’s siege on the Capitol, in addition to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Guests whose reservations are canceled will be refunded in full,” Airbnb said in a statement. “We also will reimburse hosts, at Airbnb’s expense, the money they would have earned from these cancelled reservations.”

On Monday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a joint statement on Inaugural planning, including a request to visitors to stay home.

“Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 59th Presidential Inauguration, including last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the extraordinary step of encouraging Americans not to come to Washington, DC and to instead participate virtually,” they said. 

Airbnb said they have cross-referenced names of individuals involved in criminal activity at the Capitol on January 6 with Airbnb account holders.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

As of noon Wednesday, would-be visitors could still book properties on VRBO.