Airbnb reveals underlying guest discrimination issues

A six-year initiative highlights the problems faced by black users
airbnb guests

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Airbnb has released key findings from an initiative launched six years ago delving into discrimination its customers face, uncovering racial bias towards those perceived to be Black.

What do the statistics say?

Launched after a civil rights audit in 2016, the data suggests that the booking success rate for Black customers is significantly lower than for other demographics – particularly white guests. The success rate for white guests was 94.1% vs. 91.4% for Black customers. Latino/Hispanic and Asian guests fell between the two figures. While the margins may seem small, consider that Airbnb has seen over a billion stays logged on its app.

What’s being done?

The company announced plans to help Black guests or anyone with a perceived bias against them. Airbnb already hides guest profile pictures from hosts until they have accepted a booking, resulting in a slight lessening gap for black users. No change was seen for Latino/Hispanic and Asian guests. 

To bolster the efforts, it will allow access to the instant book feature to around five million more guests, removing the need for approval in the first place for many. An emphasis is also being placed on getting more reviews. While it’s unclear how, the company is trying to ensure hosts always leave reviews, as they directly correlate to the booking success rate.

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