Airbnb is offering discounts on 'anti-party' surveillance tech

Monitor the sound, quell the neighbors’ fury.

Airbnb’s now got a dedicated “party prevention” page on its website where it’s offering hosts the chance to buy discounted sensors that’ll alert them if there’s protracted noise in their property. Airbnb promises these anti-party devices don’t record audio, but merely monitor decibel levels, and won’t be triggered by slamming doors or other non-party sounds. It’s encouraging that Airbnb is taking steps to address one of the big complaints property owners have about using the platform. It’s less encouraging that, as per the last line of the copy on the website, “Airbnb does not endorse any of these devices.”

Three devices to choose from — Buyers can choose from three devices, each with their own pros and cons. First up, there’s the $99 Minut (down from the usual $150 price). It’s free for a single listing, or $8 month for multiple listings, and it’s available in most markets, aside from Africa, South America, and Russia. In addition to monitoring noise levels, Minut can monitor temperature, motion and humidity and doubles as an alarm.

Then there’s the NoiseAware which costs $149 (usually $199) that’s only available for U.S. and Canadian properties. It requires a subscription that costs $10 a month or $99 for a year. Airbnb says over 700,000 of its listings already use NoiseAware.

The cheapest of the lot and the one with the largest discount and broadest support is the $39 Roomonitor. It requires a subscription ($8.50 a month) but works anywhere in the world and usually costs $165. Airbnb says the discounts will continue until supplies of the devices run out.

Creepy but also practical — Is it weird that Airbnb is selling monitoring gear? A little. Would I buy one if I had a property that had previously been used for parties and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again? Probably. It’d be good if Airbnb actually backed the hardware it’s promoting, but I understand its reluctance given the last thing it needs is tech support queries from buyers down the line.