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Airbnb Revisits Discrimination Policy

New policies help move guests who feel discriminated against and increases training.

Airbnb is working to make booking a private residence a friendlier – and fairer – process, after reports surfaced of discrimination among hosts using the service. In a blog post, the company announced the release of a new non-discrimination policy.

The 13-page report, completed by Laura Murphy and Associates, outlines the process Airbnb took to review their anti-discrimination policy, before writing a new one entirely. The company outlined the hosting and booking process, investigated their own policies and considered their partnerships in building the new overall policy.

Among the changes is a new “Open Doors” policy available to all travelers who book with Airbnb starting October 1. If a traveler feels they have been discriminated against in violation of their policies, staff members will work with guests to find new accommodations, either with Airbnb or through other means. In addition, those travelers will be offered staff assistance in booking their next Airbnb stay.

In addition, the company is hoping to increase their instant booking availability to one million properties before the end of the year. Instant booking allows for a guest to have their booking confirmed without prior approval of a host. Finally, Airbnb will also make anti-bias training available for all community members, with recognition of those who complete the training.

“While we as a company have been slow on this issue, I am now asking you the community to help us lead the way forward,” Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky wrote in an e-mail. “Every time you make someone else feel like they belong, that person feels accepted and safe to be themselves.”

The changes come after instances of discrimination were found throughout the Airbnb system. In December 2015, a group of Harvard professors discovered guests with distinctive African-American names were 16 percent less likely to be accepted by their Airbnb host. In May 2016, an Airbnb guest filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for alleged discrimination.

[Photo: Airbnb]

Comments are Closed.
NoleATL September 13, 2016

Not sure I agree that they should be able to "rent to whom they please", but if they are not going to rent to someone, it needs to be specifically stated in their property description... the first sentence.

JackE September 11, 2016

Perhaps, but the law is the law.

cynosura September 9, 2016

I've been turned down by a few Airbnb hosts. It didn't bother me a bit. These are peoples' private homes, not public hotels. They should have a right to rent to whom they please, forever what reason.