Airbnb demands identity verification for UK bookings - and tests anti-party tech

Both hosts and holidaymakers will now be subject to more checks  (Airbnb)
Both hosts and holidaymakers will now be subject to more checks (Airbnb)

Booking stays on Airbnb just got a little more complicated, as you will now need to verify your identity to complete your order.

This change landed on November 16 and affects stays in the UK and 35 other destinations, including the US, Australia, France, and Germany. It’s likely to apply to your next Airbnb booking, in other words.

Airbnb says it will ask for “your legal name, address, phone number, and other contact details. We may also ask for a photo of your Government ID and/or a selfie”.

The Airbnb wording is a little vague, and Airbnb says that name, address, and “other personal information” may be “sufficient for us to verify your identity”. However, there’s a chance you may need to upload photos of your driving licence or passport, and more, as forms of identity may need to be “government issued”, so ID cards for clubs or universities won’t be accepted.

Airbnb says these details will not be shared with hosts, only your verification status. However, it may request a selfie as an additional layer of identification.

We tried logging into our Airbnb account and, while there was a “government ID” already attached to it, the entry now says; “We’re unable to confirm this ID belongs to you. You may remove it and try again or continue by taking a picture of yourself”.

You may find a similar message when you next try to make an Airbnb booking, so sorting this out ahead of shopping around for diminishing New Year’s stays in London is recommended. This level of identification also applies to hosts, not just guests.

Airbnb’s party-free future

Airbnb has also introduced anti-party tech in the US and Canada, according to Fast Company. It assesses bookings based on the history of the person making the request, as well as its duration, the distance from where they live, and which part of the week the booking sits.

This tech has been piloted in Australia since October 2021, and has now been rolled out nationwide over there. While it is yet to come to the UK, this is the obvious next step for Airbnb.

Airbnb temporarily banned parties in August 2020, as part of its attempts to avoid exacerbating the spread of covid-19. This ban became permanent in June 2022, after the change saw a 44 per cent drop in party reports.