Last year Airbnb said it had declared war against "party houses". It appears to be losing.
In 2020 the company culled 100,000 properties from the platform including 300 in New Zealand which it had deemed "problem listings." Vetting measures were also put in place to block last-minute bookings for large groups from under-age guests.
None of these were able to prevent the gathering of over 80 guests at a Christchurch Airbnb this weekend, where 16-year old Zion Purukamu was fatally stabbed.
Following the violent spree in which three teenagers were stabbed at a rented property in Fendalton, the company's security measures are again under scrutiny.
The rental company grew to 4 million properties listed worldwide on its site in a little over ten years. It is a growth helped by the app's frictionless and speedy ability to connect travellers with rooms around the world. However, at times the rentals website appeared to be growing faster than their 'hands-off' brand of customer service would handle.
In 2019, a shooting left five dead after a Halloween party at an Orinda, California Airbnb property. The company responded by saying that they would be banning house parties with immediate effect.
"Party houses" were their number one enemy.
Three days after the shooting, co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky gave his website 10 days to develop "new safety initiatives" to tackle the problem.
"We must do better, and we will," he concluded a heartfelt thread on Twitter.
Part of these measures last year saw a ban on users under 25 with fewer than 3 positive reviews from making bookings for houses on the Airbnb website in the US and Canada. Airbnb did not set a date for when these age restrictions would be applied in New Zealand.
However, it is against the website's New Zealand Terms of Service for "anyone under the age of 18 to create an account to travel or Host."
Derek Nolan, Head of Public Policy for Airbnb in New Zealand and Australia said the company "were shocked and saddened to hear about this reported tragedy and our hearts go out to the victim's family and friends at this difficult time."
The company said it was ready to assist the New Zealand police with their investigations and had already suspended the account of the guest associated with the booking.
Nolan said that safety remained a "top priority" and they were "devastated to hear of incidents such as these".
However there have so far been no new measures or reviews of the security announced following the incident on Friday night.
Neither has there been any sign of pumping the breaks. Airbnb continues in growth mode.
With a global ratio of 250 Airbnb users per every room available on the platform, the website says there's still room for more properties. In May, it simplified the sign-up process for hosts in New Zealand.
The onboarding process was streamlined to just 10 steps to "make it as easy as possible to bring supply onto the platform", New Zealand area manager Susan Wheeldon told the Herald.
This push for growth sits uneasily alongside the company's priority for safety.
"We are devastated to hear of incidents such as these, on the very rare occasions they do occur, and take them extremely seriously," said Nolan.
In a separate press release last year regarding house party crackdowns, the company said that "99.95 per cent of trips on Airbnb have no safety-related issues reported."