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Vrbo, Expedia tighten security measures for inauguration week

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Vrbo, Expedia tighten security measures for inauguration week


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As the U.S. Marine Band was rehearsing for Joe Biden’s inauguration, they were evacuated from the Capitol building for an ‘external security threat.’

USA TODAY

Expedia announced it is tightening security measures for all new and existing lodging and air bookings for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

All new measures will be executed through Jan. 24 around Washington, D.C. and all U.S. state capitals, the company announced Monday. The elevated and emergency security procedures include screening and cross-referencing multiple times a day for lodging made through Expedia and Vrbo, its home-rental platform.

People identified as a threat to homeland security, including individuals arrested in connection with the Capitol siege, will not be able to book with Expedia. 

Other booking giants, including Airbnb and subsidiary HotelTonight, have said they are canceling all booked reservations in the Washington, D.C., metro area during inauguration week.

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Previously, Vrbo said it would leave decisions about canceling bookings up to its hosts.

“These recent events underscore the importance of increasing collaboration between the travel industry and government entities,” Expedia said its statement Monday. “Expedia Group has already begun conversations with industry partners and organizations on how we can promote greater engagement, alignment and information sharing between the travel industry and government authorities to ensure a safe travel environment in any future security emergency.”

The new rules also require travelers to reconfirm their identity via copies of government-issued photo identification for bookings around the Washington, D.C. area or any U.S. state capital. Guests must provide this information before their check-in time or their reservation will be canceled. 

Expedia also is asking guests currently staying in a Vrbo property “to provide this information expediently.”

Guests who choose to cancel their reservation where the new measures are taking place will be refunded, and the host will be paid in full, the company said. 

Third-party security firms who work with local, state, and federal government and information security services will perform the checks on reservations and forward their findings to law enforcement when warranted, the company said.

Hotels are also emphasizing COVID-19 mandates and enhancing security measures after the Capitol riots. 

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Contributing: Morgan Hines, USA TODAY

Follow Coral Murphy on Twitter @CoralMerfi

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/hotels/2021/01/18/inauguration-week-vrbo-expedia-security-measures/4203630001/





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