These Airbnb Alternatives Provide Safe Spaces For Black Travelers, LGBT Tourists, And Others

JAMIE DEKLIN has a long history of booking short term rentals. The actor learned the ins and outs while touring with a Broadway show. “I traveled with two dogs, so I would check Vrbo for places that allow it,” she said. Later, after she and her husband had children, their priorities changed. They had no problem finding fancy vacation homes to rent, but those with high chairs, childproof bedrooms, and shatterproof dishes were much harder to find. Seven years ago, Kid & Coe, a New York-based family travel platform, began offering homes and hotels where parents and children could relax in comfortable, child-friendly accommodations. “They understand the reality of traveling with children,” Ms. Deklin said.

“We realized that discrimination was a problem and we wanted to come up with a solution. “

Kid & Coe is part of a new generation of short-term rental sites targeting travelers who have found that established sites like Airbnb don’t always reflect their needs. Niche rental companies such as Noirbnb (black and ethnically diverse travelers), Golightly (female-only hostess) and Fabstayz (LGBT) each promise a welcome with open arms to those who fear a cool welcome or even rejection due to skin color, gender identity or sexual orientation. While each company’s customer focus differs, these platforms share one mission: to create comfortable colocation options for their respective communities.

The well-equipped play area at Fox Hollow Residence in Woodstock, NY, a home available for rent through Kid & Coe.


Photo:

Jenny Gorenstein

“We realized that discrimination was a problem … and we wanted to come up with a solution,” said Stefan Grant, who started Noirbnb in 2016 after neighbors called the police on him in an Atlanta Airbnb. last year and that his social media posts about it went viral. . Ultimately, he said, creating a community of like-minded hosts and guests “that’s what it is.” He makes sure to be inclusive: “People from all walks of life come to us,” Grant said. “A misconception is that Noirbnb is… only blacks. We welcome people of all races, ethnicities and genders.

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An Airbnb spokesperson said the company “is committed to building a world where people from all walks of life can belong.” We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind on our platform, and to date we have removed 1.4 million users who have refused to accept our community engagement.

For these new platforms, hospitality is key, said Robert Geller, founder of FabStayz, a Florida-based LGBT-focused travel platform. “Safety is different for an LGBT traveler,” he said. A seasoned traveler and former Airbnb superhost, Mr. Geller knows that being confronted with a “coming-out experience” upon arrival at a rental is stressful. “We wanted to eliminate that – traveling is bad enough on the nerves. ”

A two bedroom guesthouse in the British Virgin Islands, one of the listings on Noirbnb.


Photo:

Blackbnb

Like Noirbnb and FabStayz, Golightly, based in Austin, Texas, has a motto of “a security mission.” “I have found that some people like me feel more secure in a network of trust,” said founder Victoria O’Connell, a longtime short-term rental host whose London apartment was vandalized by a man who created a fake profile to hire him for a party. The problem, says O’Connell, is hiring out to complete strangers. “The whole system is anonymous; you search thousands of sites without really knowing who you’re renting from or who you’re renting from, ”said Ms. O’Connell, who started the travel club for female roommates and invite-only rentals. workspaces. Those who are already part of the network recommend new members, but applications are also accepted. Personal interactions are essential. “I want people to know each other, it’s a piece of protection,” Ms. O’Connell said. The formula seems to be working: After a slow start in January 2020 due to the pandemic, Golightly is now listed in 85 countries.

A palace suite in Malta, offered by Golightly.


Photo:

J. Bianchi

Kid & Coe, which offers toy rentals around the world but owns the lion’s share of its properties in the United States and Western Europe, also emphasizes due diligence. Potential hosts complete an application and pay an upfront fee of $ 100; Kid & Coe verifies properties are child friendly and asks new guests to upload ID (passport, driver’s license). “Parents want to disconnect from their lives, and comfort and safety are essential,” said Kid & Coe General Manager Caitlin Ramsdale. Ms. Deklin, the actress, finds peace of mind in the way Kid & Coe scrupulously checks guests and hosts and makes sure every property lives up to its photos. “When you travel with children,” she said, “you want to know that you are in a situation that is good for them. ”

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