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Expedia blocks new Vrbo reservations in DC area ahead of inauguration

Melody Hahm
·West Coast Correspondent
·2 min read
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Vrbo, a vacation rental service, has announced it will block all new reservations a day before the U.S. presidential inauguration. Parent company Expedia (EXPE) made the call as local and federal law enforcement officials urge Americans not to attend the inauguration and 25,000 National Guard members descend upon D.C. to protect the nation’s capital.

This move follows Airbnb’s (ABNB) decision last Wednesday to block new reservations and cancel existing ones in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. But unlike Airbnb, Vrbo is not canceling all existing reservations. According to AirDNA, there are approximately 350 Vrbo listings in the D.C. area.

The home rental company (which also owns HomeAway) added more stringent requirements, including screening and cross-referencing all bookings through Jan. 24, 2021 against lists provided by government agencies to ensure those identified as persons who pose a threat to homeland security, including individuals arrested in connection with the Capitol siege, are not allowed to use the platform.

“In the event we cancel a reservation for security concerns, a host chooses to cancel a reservation, or a traveler decides to cancel a reservation, the guest will be refunded, and the host will be paid in full. This applies to the Washington, D.C. metro area and all U.S. state capitals through January 24, 2021,” according to a company spokesperson.

Consumers are still able to book hotels through Expedia, along with its other subsidiary platforms, including trivago, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Hotels.com, among others.

On Friday afternoon, Vrbo published a blog post saying “Vrbo does not tolerate acts of harassment, violence, or discrimination” and that it expects all members “to demonstrate respect and tolerance in all interactions with one another, both online and offline.”

Marriott (MAR), IntercontinentalHotelGroup (IHG), Hilton (HLT), and Hyatt (H) plan to remain open even as the demands for them to shut down get louder. Local boutique hotels like Capitol Hill Hotel, and The Avery Georgetown are still taking new reservations. Marriott and its subsidiaries alone, including Courtyard by Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Residence Inn, and Renaissance Hotels, have 198 properties in the D.C. area.

Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s West Coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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