Airbnb: Perceived Black guests have more trouble securing bookings

Airbnb logo displayed on a phone screen and a map of Krakow are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on August 17, 2021. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A report from Airbnb revealed that guests, perceived to be Black, had more trouble booking stays compared to other racial groups.

The online rental booking company said its research showed all perceived racial groups had a 90% chance of securing a place after clicking the "Reserve" button, which is called the booking success rate. 

However, perceived white guests had a 94.1% success rate, whereas perceived Black guests had a 91.4% success rate. It was the widest gap measured among the different racial groups that also included Asian, Latino, and "Other/Unknown."

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The study — part of the company’s "Project Lighthouse" initiative — was a follow-up to its 2016 civil rights audit to help combat any discrimination. A 2019 follow-up was also conducted. 

"Airbnb is built on trust, and we will continue to innovate and design new products and initiatives that increase acceptance and combat bias," Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said on the company’s website. "Important insights, including data generated through Project Lighthouse, will drive our work to make Airbnb a place where everyone feels welcome. We can’t do this work alone, and our partners have given us incredibly valuable feedback. I’m deeply grateful for their insight."

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Airbnb has come under fire for discrimination. In 2019, an Airbnb host was been banned from the home-sharing platform after she was filmed using racially offensive language while speaking to a group of black guests. The New York Times also profiled a Black family who said she and her family faced discrimination from a host when they booked a place in New Orleans in July 2021. 

Prior to the launch of Project Lighthouse, Airbnb users had to agree to a non-discrimination policy. With the initiative, the company also says it will investigate instances of discrimination and help users find another place to stay in those circumstances.

The company said it has taken steps to prevent discrimination between hosts and potential guests. Hosts can only see a guest’s profile after they have accepted a reservation. Guests also have the option of "Instant Book" in which they can secure a reservation without the host’s approval. 

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The company also encourages hosts to leave more reviews for their guests, which could help the guests secure future bookings. The company found that guests perceived to be Black or Latino/Hispanic had fewer reviews than guests perceived to be white or Asian.

Also, Airbnb leaders say they will conduct more audits and analyses after a host rejects a potential guest.

The company has also launched an internal team and guidelines to offer resources to hosts to eliminate discrimination. 

FOX News contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.