US: Party Squasher, which claims to be a first-of-its-kind “occupancy people-counter”, has launched a party prevention program to help hosts and property managers protect their short-term rentals from parties.
The Party Squasher technology consists of a small sensor that connects to the cloud service in a property’s internet modem as well as a mobile app to allow hosts to monitor properties remotely. The sensor passively counts the mobile devices in and around a home, even if they are not connected to wifi, to deliver data on the number of mobile devices at a property.
Once connected, the sensor detects devices throughout an entire house, including front and backyards. Property owners are able to specify different occupancy alert thresholds for each property, and only get alerts if detection occupancy goes above that selected limit.
The Silicon Valley-based technology company, which is intent on creating a party-free environment in short-term rentals, says it has no microphones or cameras and does not collect or store personal data or track phone numbers, making it a privacy-friendly, GDPR-compliant monitor. The cloud service employs advanced cloud heuristics and analytics software, developed by wifi innovator BlueZoo Inc., and is protected by six US patents covering wifi access, privacy and network communications.
The initial sensor purchase of $249 includes a 12-month subscription for the cloud service.
Earlier this month, Airbnb announced it was blocking one-night reservations through its platform over Halloween in the United States and Canada, in order to prevent a repeat of a shooting incident last year that left five people dead at an unauthorised party in Orinda, California.
The temporary ban will apply to entire home listings in both countries and be in place over the Halloween weekend, between Friday 30 October and Saturday 31 October. Airbnb has also confirmed it will cancel any previously booked reservations over those dates and reimburse all affected guests in full, meaning hosts whose bookings have been annuled will still receive their payments.
Airbnb said at the time: “In the midst of a generational crisis, all of us have a role to play in protecting public health and slowing the spread of Covid-19. That includes platforms like Airbnb, and we are committed to doing our part in particular to try and stop large gatherings.”