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Alternative Accommodations: Airbnb, Vrbo, Etc.

OGHS recognizes that domestic lodging options can vary greatly and there is no official Duke policy on this matter. However, when it comes to student housing during Duke-sponsored off-campus activities, OGHS discourages the use of alternative lodging services such as AirBnB or Vrbo.

There are several reasons behind this recommendation:

    • Safety Risks: Alternative options may not adhere to the same safety standards and regulations as established hotels. This could mean a lack of safety features such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and sprinkler systems, which are essential for ensuring the well-being of participants.
    • Liability Issues: Agreements with alternative lodging services often include provisions that relieve the property owner of any liability arising from their property. This shift in liability places a greater responsibility on Duke University for incidents or damages that occur during the participants’ stay, regardless of fault. It is crucial to consider the potential legal implications and associated risks.
    • Additional Risks: Depending on the circumstances, such as long-term stays or large group accommodations, using alternative lodging services can introduce additional risks. These risks may include exceeding the permitted guest capacity set by the property owner, inadequate emergency evacuation plans, or the potential for unauthorized events or parties that could disrupt the program’s goals and compromise participant safety.

OGHS recognizes that regulations and standards surrounding alternative lodging services can vary significantly. We advise program managers to carefully evaluate the risks and considerations outlined above when planning and coordinating lodging for student participants. By prioritizing the safety and well-being of participants, program managers can make informed decisions about suitable lodging options.

Recommendations for Alternative Lodging

In order to provide safe and suitable lodging for program participants, OGHS recommends considering the following alternative solutions.

    • Local Hotels: Research and establish partnerships with trusted hotels in the area where the program is taking place. Hotels typically adhere to rigorous safety standards and have experience accommodating group stays. Reach out to hotels to discuss rates, availability, and safety protocols.
    • Universities or Colleges: Explore the possibility of collaborating with universities or colleges in the program location. They may have options for short-term stays, such as dormitories or student apartments. Contact the respective institutions to inquire about availability and any specific requirements.
    • Engaging Housing Consultants: Consider seeking assistance from professional housing consultants who specialize in arranging accommodations for educational programs. These consultants have experience and knowledge in identifying safe and suitable housing options tailored to program needs.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding lodging options, please reach out to OGHS for further guidance by emailing