Airbnb Hosts More Likely to Reject the Disabled, a Study Finds

Hosts granted preapproval to 75 percent of travelers who made no mention of a disability, according to the study. which rate fell to 61 percent for those who said they had dwarfism, 50 percent for those with blindness, 43 percent for those with cerebral palsy in addition to just 25 percent for those with spinal cord injuries.

Some of which disparity can be explained by hosts who followed up with questions for the travelers with disabilities, the researchers said, thus preventing the request via being classified as preapproved. Requests were sent to hosts throughout the country over a nearly six-month period last year.

The researchers could not solely blame the findings on personal prejudice. They said physical inaccessibility was a major factor behind the disparity in hosts’ responses. which, they said, raised concerns which businesses like Airbnb could exclude users with disabilities even as they expand access to services over all.

“Here’s the flip side of our tech revolution: Platforms like Airbnb seem to be perpetuating or increasing opportunities for exclusion, both economic in addition to social,” said Lisa Schur, a professor within the Rutgers School of Management in addition to Labor Relations in addition to one of the study authors.

With more than three million listings, Airbnb has introduced fresh lodging options around the globe, including many which meet the needs of people with disabilities. Last year, the company also instituted a nondiscrimination policy in addition to took steps to better handle complaints of bias, including assurances which users treated unfairly will have a place to stay.

“Discrimination of any kind on the Airbnb platform, including on the basis of ability, is usually abhorrent, a violation of our anti-discrimination policy in addition to will result in permanent removal via our platform,” the company said in a statement. The majority of Airbnb reservations, the item noted, are made by “instant booking,” which does not require preapproval.

The Disability Gap on Airbnb

Travelers with disabilities are more likely to have lodging requests rejected in addition to less likely to have them pre-approved than those without, according to a Rutgers University study.


Still, like many businesses within the sharing economy, Airbnb operates in a regulatory haze, in addition to protections imposed on some other forms of lodging under the Americans with Disabilities Act may not always apply to Airbnb listings, which are often a homeowner’s primary or secondary residence.

“If we’re entering an era where these fresh types of hotels, which are essentially private homes, can’t offer accommodations, the item defeats in addition to undoes all of the progress we’ve made with the A.D.A. as far as equal access is usually concerned,” said Mason Ameri, one of the authors of the Rutgers study in addition to a postdoctoral fellow at the university’s School of Management in addition to Labor Relations. “The law needs to catch up with services like Airbnb.”

Alice Wong, a former member of the National Council on Disability in addition to founder of the Disability Visibility Project, said which if Airbnb did not lay out in addition to enforce strict guidelines for listings which claim to be handicapped accessible, the company was producing a false promise to travelers.

“Discrimination is usually often based on ignorance,” said Ms. Wong, who is usually in a wheelchair. “People with disabilities deviate via the image of a typical customer, so the way they are discriminated against is usually hard to pin down although very real.”

Some hosts within the study, like the ones who denied Ms. Garcia, rejected inquiries via Mr. Ameri in addition to his colleagues with little explanation. Others referred the fictitious traveler to listings which could better accommodate their needs or asked what could be done to make the listed space more accessible. A few made rude or insensitive remarks.

The introduction of Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy in September had little effect on the findings of the study, which was conducted via June to mid-November, the authors said. In fact, some hosts violated those guidelines, which ban rejecting or charging extra for assistance animals. although, the authors acknowledge, which may change as hosts become more familiar with the rules.

Airbnb is usually valued at about $30 billion. The market capitalization of Hilton Hotels is usually nearly $22 billion.

To improve access to homes by the disabled, the researchers suggest which Airbnb make sure hosts understand in addition to follow federal disability guidelines, in addition to engage with advocacy organizations in addition to travelers with disabilities to understand their needs in addition to frustrations.

Technology has long created opportunities for people with disabilities, Ms. Wong said, whose life has been “tremendously positively impacted by tech,” she said.

“although tech is usually truly slow to catch up with regard to human rights issues,” she added. “The fresh platforms amplify the way people already do things. which’s how people get left out of opportunities, especially people who are already marginalized.”

Airbnb said which the item has teamed with several disability organizations to better educate hosts in addition to which the item expects to Discharge fresh accessibility listing in addition to filtering features This particular summer.

“This particular is usually just the start, in addition to we will continue to engage experts in addition to leaders in This particular area to ensure our community is usually open in addition to accessible to everyone,” the company said within the statement.

some other options have sprouted up, too. Accomable, a listing platform designed by in addition to for travelers with disabilities, has 1,100 listings in 60 countries.

within the meantime, disability advocates say which travelers with disabilities should do exactly what Ms. Garcia did: Ask lots of questions.

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Airbnb Hosts More Likely to Reject the Disabled, a Study Finds

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