Many small businesses are struggling as the coronavirus pandemic continues, which is leading some Airbnb hosts to bend the rules and get creative with their listings. Per the New York Post, in hopes of gaining more business, many in the UK are listing their properties as “COVID-19 retreats,” and are using terms in their posts like “perfect for isolating in the countryside.” They add that in doing this, “listings would be going against coronavirus regulations in the area that prohibit holiday accommodations for essential workers who need to self-isolate.”
Nigel Huddleston, Tourism Minister for the UK, made a statement about this, saying, “Our advice is clear. Essential travel does not include holidays, leisure travel and visits to second homes– and people must remain in their primary residence. It is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for some property owners to be marketing themselves as ‘isolation retreats.'”
On the Airbnb website, the company has specific policies during the coronavirus outbreak. They read, “As public health guidance is still evolving, we will not allow listing titles that could be interpreted as exploiting the pandemic, such as marketing around escaping COVID-19. Additionally, we do not feel it’s appropriate to market COVID-19 related discounts or promote a listing as being well stocked on limited resources such as hand sanitizer or toilet paper.”
Airbnb also adds that any posts with “COVID,” “coronavirus,” or “quarantine” have been prohibited.