AirBnb is an incredibly popular option these days for travelers. Just so long as those travels are white.
Rohan Gilkes recently had an awful experience with an Airbnb user when trying to book a cabin in Idaho to visit his friend/colleague. He wrote about it on his Medium page. Here’s a little bit about Rohan from his official website.
I’m a startup entrepreneur , writer, and local brand builder. I’ve launched and grown several companies, generated millions in revenue, and along the way allowed thousands of people to peek over my shoulder to see what works and what doesn’t. What follows is the 80/20 approach to building a successful business.
Rohan seems like a pretty interesting and chill guy, based on what little I know about him. His hosts knew very little about him but Rohan was nice enough to provide the homeowners a short bio and photo. The photo at the top of this article is Rohan and a photo of the cabin he was trying to rent.
Here’s what happened next…
I booked this place on AirBNB for 5 days, July 1st to July 5th. Everything was set! As usual, I included a bit of info about myself on the airbnb listing to put the host at ease..
I’m actually going by myself, but I figured I would just add the possibility of another person so it wouldn’t feel extra weird
1st response: Dang! No luck, even though the dates were available all of a sudden, the host said she was going to use the place.
This wasn’t a big deal for Rohan. Since he works for himself, his time was pretty flexible, so he tried for another date.
After no response, this happened…
Suspicious as hell about the whole thing, Rohan asked a friend to try and book the same cabin for the original July 4th weekend. His friend is white.
Rohan did some online searching and discovered he’s not the only black person who’s experienced #airbnbwhileblack.
As for those who’ll claim “it’s their house, they can choose who they want to stay there”, I’ll reply “those are the things a person should consider BEFORE renting out their home” and I’ll also reply “how’s it feel to be racist?”
Rohan had a much more civilized response to those people.
For folks who are going to say, “well people have the right to refuse rentals in their homes”. True. To an extent. There are Fair Housing laws that may apply under certain circumstances (Number of homes they have for rent, etc.). Either way, if they have the right of refusal, I also have the right to tell my story.
As long as the money is green, the skin color shouldn’t matter. If you don’t want “certain people” renting your home, don’t put your home up for rent.