Expedia, Vrbo Implement Enhanced Screening Process for Washington, D.C. Bookings Ahead of Inauguration
All bookings through Jan. 24 will be highly vetted and cross-referenced against local and federal government databases.
Travel booking site Expedia and home sharing site Vrbo will increase security on bookings around the Washington, D.C. area as well as all state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.
The companies, which are owned by the Expedia Group, announced on Monday that all bookings through Jan. 24 will be screened and cross-referenced against local and federal government databases "to ensure those identified as persons who pose a threat to homeland security, including individuals arrested in connection with the Capitol siege, are not booking on our platform."
Screenings will be performed multiple times per day.
Additionally, Vrbo will require anyone booking a property around a state capital or D.C. to re-verify their identity with a government-issued photo identification. Vrbo will then re-vet those reservations.
"We continue to support travel for individuals and families who are or plan to be in and around Washington, D.C. and all U.S. state capitals for legitimate and critical reasons — first responders, law enforcement, medical professionals, government officials, and others," the statement read. "If any of the above measures suggest that a reservation may be associated with malicious intent, our policy is to investigate, notify law enforcement, and cancel that reservation."
If a Vrbo reservation is cancelled through Jan. 24, the company said the guest will be refunded and the host will be paid in full.
The security crack down comes after Airbnb and HotelTonight cancelled all reservations around the nation's capital the week of the inauguration, and officials like D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser asked people not to come to Washington for the festivities.
It follows a deadly pro-Trump riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, which has led to lawmakers calling for those involved to be banned from flying, the Federal Aviation Administration enacting stricter consequences for unruly passengers, and stringent security protocols on airlines (like Alaska Airlines, which is requiring travelers on Washington, D.C. flights to remain seated for an hour after takeoff and an hour before landing).
Several major U.S. airlines have also momentarily banned passengers from checking firearms on flights to the D.C. area.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.