Airbnb suspends new UK bookings until at least 18 April

Airbnb has blocked UK properties from accepting new bookings for the coming days unless they are for key workers.

It comes after the accommodation website was criticised for advertising properties as suitable for guests to use to self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm said it had stopped properties from receiving new bookings until at least 18 April.

An exception will be made for its initiative that offers free stays for NHS staff and paid or subsidised stays for other key workers exempt from the government’s travel restrictions.

Last week, Airbnb blocked private room bookings and temporarily removed the ability for whole properties to be instantly booked.



Its director of public policy, Patrick Robinson, said: “Hosts across the UK are playing a vital role in housing NHS and other medical staff as they continue their critical work. We’ve also heard from hosts who want to help others follow the rules and keep people safe during these unprecedented times.

“Restricting bookings on Airbnb to key workers and other essential stays will allow hosts to continue supporting frontline workers while following government guidance.”

Earlier this week it emerged the site was listing properties advertised as places to self-isolate. They included a house in Edinburgh described as being “the perfect place to isolate yourself from the coronavirus”.

In response, the UK tourism minister, Nigel Huddleston, said it was “incredibly irresponsible and dangerous for some property owners to be marketing themselves as ‘isolation retreats”’.

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