The news was shared in an extensive statement on Airbnb's official blog, revealing the decision was made in response to "various local, state and federal officials asking people not to travel to Washington, D.C." Guests who had previously made reservations will receive a full refund, and hosts will also have the money they would have earned from these reservations reimbursed at Airbnb's expense. HotelTonight, a subsidiary of Airbnb, will also cancel all reservations in the D.C. Metro area.
"Mayor Bowser, Governor Hogan and Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the inauguration," the company's statement reads. "Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the inauguration."
On Monday, Airbnb outlined a safety plan following the violent riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, announcing it would be banning anyone identified as involved in the criminal activity that took place. Additionally, more background and security checks will be added to the site, while anyone with plans to engage in further white supremacist or far-right violence will be reported to the authorities. After running through a list of named individuals who participated in the failed insurrection on the Capitol, the company added that it has since banned numerous people from the platform. The company was reviewing reservations in the D.C. Metro area prior to the announcement on Wednesday.
Airbnb has had a policy of banning any guests confirmed to be members of hate groups since the violent "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Due to the violence at the Capitol, the company confirmed its political action committee will no longer donate to any Republicans who voted against certifying the results of Joe Biden's election victory. During the 2020 election, Joe Biden was the biggest recipient of donations from Airbnb.