Airbnb and Minut launch noise detector pilot programme in Prague

Czechia: In line with the ongoing efforts to promote responsible tourism and travel recovery in the Czech Republic, Airbnb is collaborating with property monitoring company Minut to launch a number of measures to support hosts and guests in Prague.

Airbnb has announced that it is launching a six-month noise detector pilot programme for hosts and that it will provide guests with a dedicated ‘Good Neighbour Guide’ for visits to the Czech capital. 

In a bid to support hosts in their effort to “promote trust and safety in their homes and neighbourhoods”, Airbnb’s pilot programme in Prague enables hosts use to a noise monitoring sensor to detect, solve noise and nuisance concerns in their listing, and to help guests travel responsibly in local neighbourhoods.

Minut will provide the sensors, aiding Airbnb in its mission to identify new innovations for hosts.

Vladimir Beroun, public policy manager at Airbnb for CEE and CIS, said: “Airbnb is actively working with regulators and tourism organisations to promote responsible and sustainable tourism, support local hosts and boost the economy in the Czech Republic. The vast majority of hosts and guests on Airbnb are responsible travellers.

“We are committed to working together with the City of Prague to make home sharing work for everyone and the noise detector trial and the Good Neighbour Guide are just the latest steps we have taken to support local hosts and the communities in Prague,” he added.

Nils Mattisson, CEO and co-founder of Minut, said: “We are thrilled to be helping Hosts on Airbnb in Prague care for their communities. With travel returning, we should take the opportunity to bring it back better. Our pilot program will improve relations between guests, hosts and neighbors, making Prague a better place for travelers and residents alike.”

Minut says that it will be working with a select group of voluntary hosts in Prague who will install the device in their listing to detect potential noise disturbance and to inform guests about managing noise during their stay – all while respecting guest privacy as the devices simply monitor decibel levels and do not record or transmit anything other than actual noise levels.

Minut previously partnered with Airbnb in December 2019 for a three-month trial of its noise detection system in properties rented out in Edinburgh in Scotland via the rental platform.

The three-month trial, which coincided with the start of the peak Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations, was set up with the purpose of reassuring neighbours that visitors staying in short-term rental accommodation locally would not disrupt them.

Meanwhile, Airbnb has also announced that it will provide all hosts on its platform in Prague with a Good Neighbour Guide, which hosts can share with their guests.

The guide includes insightful tips to ensure guests can experience the best that Prague has to offer whilst also respecting the local community. It includes guidance on a range of topics, such as being mindful of nuisance and information about rubbish collection days, as well as reminders of the individual house rules set by hosts. 

Airbnb said that it was “actively working to invest in and continuously improve safety and trust on the platform”, having launched its Neighbourhood Support Line earlier this summer as part of its Summer of Responsible Travel plan.

The home-sharing platform, however, has faced mounting opposition in Prague in recent years.

The city’s mayor, Zdeněk Hřib, was seeking to limit Airbnb’s presence and combat perceived ‘overtourism’ in Prague last February when he told The Guardian: “In the past, you could limit the amount of tourists in the city simply by approving a certain number of hotels of certain capacity during the process of building permits. Now in Prague there is no possibility for the city to limit the accommodation capacity for tourists.”

At the same time pre-Covid, it was revealed that the number of listings on the site in Prague had jumped from 5,537 to over 13,000 in two years, and some local residents had complained about increased noise disturbances and soaring rental costs.

Since going public via an initial public offering [IPO] last December, Airbnb has pledged to work closely with governments and tourism organisations across the world, in particular across Central and Eastern Europe, including the Hungarian Tourism Agency, the City of Krakow and the City of Bratislava, to enhance its reputation among hosts and guests alike.