Niche home-sharing sites roll out welcome mat for minorities

Business
Hadi Shakuur

In Aug. 2, 2019, photo, Hadi Shakuur, CEO and founder of Muzbnb, a home-sharing site for Muslims, poses for a photograph in Washington. Alternative home-sharing sites, such as Muzbnb, have been cropping up as bigger companies like Airbnb, Booking.com and VRBO continue to face persistent problems of discrimination. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A handful of home-sharing services are trying to ease fears of discrimination by catering to specific minority groups.

Their approach has carved out a thriving niche in the market. Muzbnb is a site for Muslims. Misterb&b serves gay travelers. Innclusive and Noirbnb cater to black customers. There are also home-sharing sites for Mormons, Christians and women.

Anyone is welcome to use the sites. Some hosts list on both niche sites and the bigger competitors.

One executive calls the services “digital Green Books,” a reference to the guide that black motorists once used to find welcoming hotels.

The dominant home-sharing brands — Airbnb, Booking.com and VRBO — have more than 14 million listings between them. All three have software and staff dedicated to rooting out bias and responding to complaints.

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