“It’s definitely geared, as are most things in the LGBTQ spectrum, toward cisgender gay men,” said Ben Chung, a 22-year-old linguistics student at Lund University in Sweden who identifies as a gay man. “Definitely a smaller fraction of the hosts are women. But friends who aren’t gay men have stayed with me on double bookings have enjoyed it too.”
Chung has used misterb&b in Athens, Rome, Bologna, Valencia, and Barcelona, and is about to use it on a trip to Lisbon. He’s found the service to be responsive in terms of customer support, and a useful tool to have regardless of where he’s headed. “It’s supposed to be someone’s home, right?” Chung said about feeling welcomed as a gay traveler. “So now, there aren’t gonna be any awkward conversations. I don’t have to tone anything down.”
He’s experienced a few minor hiccups, and in Barcelona was once hosted by a self-described history-enthusiast who turned out to have a Spanish-language copy of Mein Kampf in the guest room, but says his overall experience has been positive. Chung mentioned the Barcelona incident to misterb&b in his outgoing host feedback, and said that while he did have to follow up, the company did eventually contact the host and reviewed the listing.
Airbnb is undeniably successful from a business standpoint, so much so that hotel chains are starting to emulate it. But failures of Airbnb stand out as especially stark, and even moreso as people make travel plans for Pride month. Some of the raddest Pride celebrations are in Red states, as are some of the most historic, like the one in Salt Lake City. And for queer travelers especially, connecting with friendly and receptive locals is a key part of not just feeling safe, but actually enjoying the trip. The group of gay men Veith met showed him around Mission Dolores Park and some local clubs, along with Chinese New Year celebrations.
“They’re guys that I haven’t really been in touch with since, but I’d definitely reach out to if I ever went back,” Veith said. “I definitely feel like I made some friends.”
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