A new Airbnb report appears to confirm Black travelers' suspicions that home-sharing platforms racially discriminate, and details remedial steps it has implemented. The report focuses mainly on Airbnb's booking success rate, which quantifies how often guests are able to make the reservations they want. Past research indicates guests whom hosts perceive to be Black are more likely to have their booking requests turned down than are those perceived as white. Although Airbnb instituted nondiscrimination policies and other features to address this problem, guests perceived as white can book the desired rental 94.1 percent of the time, while those perceived as Black get their reservations 91.4 percent of the time. To correct this, Airbnb said it was testing changes to guest and host profile pages; allowing more people to use Instant Book feature, which lets individual users make reservations without being specifically approved by the host; permitting guests who are not the primary account holders to receive reviews in order to accrue more of them for guests of color; and fortifying its ability to audit reservation refusals. Airbnb's report is less specific about the platform's oversight for hosts and guests who exhibit bias after booking. The company has also developed an online guide, "How to Be an Even More Inclusive Host," that addresses issues like implicit bias.
New York Times (12/13/22) Sara Clemence
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