Updated: Dec 25, 2019
What!!! REALLY Erika!!! Yes really. No one has time for this. I can book a hotel and keep it moving. Well for those of you who are interested in booking an Airbnb this is for you.
Racism exist in any sector as we all know. There is a thing call housing discrimination. And some Airbnb hosts, aren’t short of it.
You book and get denied or your booking is cancelled days later after booking. Or cancelled a day or two before arrival.
In the midst of the cancellation, the host sends you a message ….
“I’m sorry, but my place isn’t available for those dates. I made a mistake on my availability calendar."
The host refunds all of your money, but several days later, you find the same listing available for the same dates you requested.
Now please understand there are plenty Airbnb hosts who kindly and graciously host people of color without a second thought. So do not let the ones who do not, prevent you from using this service.
Of course report them and keep it moving. Airbnb has a Nondiscrimination Policy in place.
5 Tips How to Book an Airbnb While Black
1. Reviews Reviews Reviews
Prior to booking, scour through the reviews for diversity. I scan for faces of color and work my way back up to the other reviews. If one of the Black guest gave a good review, this can be a good indicator that the host has no issues hosting people of color and other ethnicities.
Now, I'm not saying all reviews are honest in the general stance of ALL reviews, but do your due diligence in deciphering them. Keep in mind you have some unpleasing people out there and no matter what you do they are habitual complainers.
How many reviews from Black guests? It all depends on you, and your comforter level. I can view one and be okay, especially if the Black guest gave a good review.
I also look for the level of customer service and friendly demeanor the host gave to his/her Black guests vs. their White guests.
Depending on the the type of Airbnb booking. There are hosts who do not live the home or live in different cities, but have caretakers to prepare the unit. These reviews may be more so directed towards the accommodations and communication between the hosts and guests. Some hosts are hands off, but do extend the olive branch of assistance if needed.
2. No Black Reviews
Yes, you will come across Airbnb’s which you are dying to book, but no reviews from Blacks. This does not mean the host isn’t willing to host Blacks. Maybe none have booked, there are very few reviews or bookings in general, or very few have traveled to the city on your radar. Plus new Airbnb’s popup every day.
But also take in consideration the demographics of the city on your radar.
Let say Bismarck, North Dakota. Now looking at the demographics chart of the 2017 US Census Bureau, Bismarck is 91% White and 1.6% Black. It’s a city/state that is on the off-beaten path.
Yes I know the demographics chart is population based, but it’s not a popular vacation spot for Blacks. Subjective I know, but the average Black person isn’t flocking to Bismarck, ND to vacation. Most of us would ask. What’s there? Well natural beauty to be exact.
How to handle no Black reviews. Prior to booking, message the host to get the feel of them. Ask a couple general questions, which may relate to their place or the area. I like to ask about parking and other means of public transportation close.
Read through the entire listing before you send a question in which they may have already answered.
If you do not get a good vibe in their response, then move on.
I have been lucky enough to book 5 Airbnb’s with no Black reviews. Completed all 5 with no issues.
However, do not let no Black reviews steer you away from booking.
3. Automated Host Cancellation
Now this depends on how many reviews and automated host cancellations. It’s not all about the color of the person on this one, but I do check to see if anyone Black was cancelled.
Any automated cancellations after 2 is usually my threshold to move on, but as I stated. It all depends on how many guest reviews, then how long ago the automated cancellation happened.
The host does have the opportunity to write a public response in regards to the automated cancellation.
But this does not go without saying. If the host cancels, Airbnb imposes penalties.
4. Book a Superhost
A Superhost earned this status for a reason. And believe you me they want to keep it. Superhost have to have 0% cancellations by honoring every reservation unless there is an extenuating circumstance, 4.8% of being highly rated by guests, and a couple other things to reach and keep this status. They want their listings to be shown in the top searches to generate more revenue.
5. Instant Book
No prior approval needed from the host. Book and go. No explanation needed. A good indicator your trip won't be cancelled.
Airbnb isn’t for everyone and after reading this, and it steers any newbies away. Then no sweat, hotels may be your better choice.
The Girl Behind the Camera