Airbnb: A Platform to End Discriminatory Bias

Discrimination is a dominate conversation point for the analysis of America’s current social structure. While this year has seen an unprecedented amount of discussion on police brutality and how the government handles equal rights discrimination cases in regards to racism, an outpouring of the conversation has trickled into the economy as well. The perception of a given business’ values and stance on equal right holds weight in their ability to relate with consumers on a personal level. The intimacy and transparency large companies hold with customers is something that’s crafted with great diligence. This level of intimacy is of huge importance to the owner-based lodging outlet, Airbnb.

Earlier this year, the company embarked on a vetting process, joining forces with Laura Murphy, the former head of the American Civil Liberties airbnbUnion’s Washington D.C. Legislative Office, to ensure that their organization was doing everything in its power to ensure that its values and standards of non-discriminatory commerce were being upheld by its community. While the organization itself demonstrates their want to embrace people from all walks of life, they acknowledge that it’s become increasingly difficult to track the tendencies and actions of location owners using the site. In an open letter to Airbnb’s hosts and guests, CEO & Co-Founder Brian Chesky addressed the reasoning behind the company’s efforts to combat bias and discrimination.

“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,” explained Chesky. “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.”

In addition to an outline of what the company learned from analysis of internal and external practices, the company introduced plans to have their hosts and guests agree to a more strict set of guidelines called the Airbnb Community Commitment.

The new community commitment will become an active policy on November 1st of this year, and states: “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.”

In addition to a new policy the organization has taken additional actions to combat instances of discrimination, both at the time of their occurrence and after the fact, to ensure a decrease in instances by proving a new “Open Door policy,” where guests that feel they’ve been discriminated can be assisted with support and compensation and plan to make anti-bias training available to its members.

Efforts to evolve our communities to a cooperative ecosystem of acceptance reach far beyond politics in the year 2016. Brands are moving forward and using their platforms as an opportunity to have social dynamic conversations with the world around them. Actions like that of Airbnb are a step in the direction of bringing the sometimes seemingly impossible end goal of social harmony in both our everyday lives and the way we conduct business.

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Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell

Adam Lansdell is a Grand Valley State University alumnus, and currently a Communications Specialist with M3 Group of Lansing. With a passion for all things creative it comes as no surprise that he’s also a musician, movie buff and graphic designer. Adam spends his down time biking, and spending too much of his personal income on concert tickets or vinyl records.

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