VRBO Won’t Bar DC Inauguration Week Bookings

Days after Airbnb announced it would cancel all Washington, DC, reservations during Inauguration week, VRBO signaled that it would not follow its competitor’s lead.

In a blog post, VRBO instead said, “If you mistreat people, there’s no space for you on Vrbo. We reserve the right to remove anyone from our marketplace who violates these principles, and we are encouraging hosts to cancel bookings during this time if they believe a guest intends to violate these policies.”

VRBO noted that authorities have warned that there is a potential for violence and armed protests around the Inauguration following the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol.

“The safety of our guests and hosts is of the utmost importance to us. If you plan to travel during this time, please follow local governmental regulations and check the latest news for updates,” VRBO said.

On Wednesday, Airbnb announced 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.

Other sites also were allowing travelers to book rooms in the capital, including hotels.com and booking.com, among others.