Dear Airbnb community,
At the heart of our mission is the idea that people are fundamentally good and every community is a place where you can belong. We don’t say this because it sounds nice. It’s the goal that everyone at Airbnb works towards every day – because we’ve all seen how when we live together, we better understand each other.
Discrimination is the opposite of belonging, and its existence on our platform jeopardizes this core mission. Bias and discrimination have no place on Airbnb, and we have zero tolerance for them. Unfortunately, we have been slow to address these problems, and for this I am sorry. I take responsibility for any pain or frustration this has caused members of our community. We will not only make this right; we will work to set an example that other companies can follow.
In June, we asked Laura Murphy, the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington D.C. Legislative Office, to review every aspect of the Airbnb platform, and to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to fight bias and discrimination. Thanks to Laura’s leadership, today we’re releasing a report that outlines the results of that process. You can read the full report here, but I’d like to highlight four changes that will impact the way our platform works:
Airbnb Community Commitment
Beginning November 1, everyone who uses Airbnb must agree to a stronger, more detailed nondiscrimination policy. We aren’t just asking you to check a box associated with a long legal document. We’re asking everyone to agree to something we’re calling the Airbnb Community Commitment, which says:
We believe that no matter who you are, where you are from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong in the Airbnb community. By joining this community, you commit to treat all fellow members of this community, regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age, with respect, and without judgment or bias.
We’ll be implementing a new policy called Open Doors. StartingOctober 1st, if a Guest anywhere in the world feels like they have been discriminated against in violation of our policy – in trying to book a listing, having a booking canceled, or in any other interaction with a host – we will find that Guest a similar place to stay if one is available on Airbnb, or if not, we will find them an alternative accommodation elsewhere. This program will also apply retroactively to any Guest who reported discrimination prior to today. All of these Guests will be offered booking assistance for their next trip.
We’ll increase the availability of Instant Book, which allows our hosts to offer their homes to be booked immediately without their prior approval of a specific guest. Instant Book makes booking easier for everyone, and our goal is to have 1 million listings bookable via Instant Book byJanuary 1st, 2017.
We are working with experts on bias, including Dr. Robert Livingston of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Dr. Peter Glick of Lawrence University, to make anti-bias training available to our community, and will be publicly acknowledging those who complete it.
These steps are just the beginning, not the end, of our efforts to combat bias and discrimination.
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. Every time you make someone else feel like they belong, that person feels accepted and safe to be themselves. While this may sound like a small act of kindness, we are a community of millions of people strong. Imagine what we can do together.
You shouldn't need to receive 'training' not to discriminate - sounds like there is something wrong with their recruitment policy if they have staff that discriminate 😞
I have an idea!!! - why don't all the people who want to feel discriminated against and who are excited and energized to CRY victimhood and point fingers at anyone who looks at them cross eyed, simply go reserve a lodging reservation somewhere they FEEL accepted! DUH!! And those of us hosting should book ONLY those we feel comfortable with! That is the VERY BEST WAY TO GET ALONG BECAUSE YOU WILL NEVER PLEASE ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME!! It is not rocket science!
An anti-discriminatory policy is a must, but I do not know how this particular policy will address it. It is far too broad brush an approach to do anything but penalize and discriminate against hosts. There would need to be massive changes to how the site functions and a team of people to oversee and follow up if discrimination is to be seriously and fairly addressed. That or Airbnb becomes a quasi Hotel chain and we hosts are franchisee's with no rights! This policy as it stands appears to be more about politicking for the sake of the business and not for the revenue earners (the hosts) nor for the stated Airbnb brand: hosts sharing their homes with guests.
"Instant Book makes booking easier for everyone"
Does it? How? For example what happens when people don't read the description or amenities? More common than not.
I have had people who book who have pets, who have children, who can't climb stairs, who have no verification, who are parties of 3 or more, etc. If they were all instant book I would have to decline, at present after 3 instances I would be fined, penalized, maybe my listing would disappear and with this new policy maybe I will be tagged as a discriminator and have the dates blocked. I've also had two scammers, verified by Airbnb standards, I cancelled them.
And, importantly what do Airbnb have to say to the Police about their advice for hosts, especially those who live in the homes they rent, - "Question/vet your guests before you accept"
They really seem to have an issue working out what they are, a booking service or a 'Best Western' type organisation.
I do not believe it is possible to straddle the middle, raises all sorts of conflicts.
They could make it what they brand it as - a platform for hosts to share their homes with guests.
Discrimination is insidious, for the most part. I do not know how this policy will address it at all. More out of the box thinking is needed. Airbnb is a new model and as such needs new perspectives, not ones that do for Hotels.
I think Airbnb should allow hosts to voice their concerns, send out a survey, have a post where hosts can comment on the changes.
Discrimination IS insidious - however for those who WANT to cry victim of it - EVERYTHING could be considered discrimination!
We ALL discriminate in the first 3 seconds we meet someone! It is a natural, instinctual and protective part of our nature! It is what makes us street smart, aware, wise! What is happening here is a few persons at the 'top' want to take away our rights as humans to do what comes natural by protecting ourselves. Soon we will all be walking zombies - just like the elite want us to be! This is not about protecting peoples rights - this is all about taking away people's rights!! (Go read the Georgia guidestones!)
I will never use instant book again (tried it once, ended up with people who didn't look at my description at all) however I have a suggestion for Airbnb.
Just as hosts work up to "superhost" perhaps a setting can be in place to allow instant book for guests who have worked up to "superguest." This would be those with excellent reviews, no cancellations etc..
For someone to throw a profile together and instanty room a place 10 feet from where a sleep with a shabby profile photo of a sunset, or their dog, doesn't sit well with me. That's another thing: profile photos need to be A PERSON! Not just any photo.
Maybe now it is time for Airbnb to split in two parts. Well, it is certainly big enough:
Airbnb Pro: A section for ''hotel managed'' kind of accommodation, this is where all the listings with a great many places are managed by one firm. Hotel rules apply.
Airbnb LiveLikeALocal: For individually managed accommodation. Slightly tweaked system required here to keep happy hosts.