Black travelers can now make lodging arrangements without fearing racial discrimination thanks to a new website called Noirbnb.
The famous house and rental sharing site, Airbnb, has faced controversy over claims by patrons of color who attempted to rent accommodations but say they faced discrimination.
Noirbnb was created in response to these reports—and its founder personally experiencing racial discrimination on Airbnb. “Noirbnb has been in the works since around November 2015,” said Stefan Grant, co-founder and CEO of Noirbnb, which is based in New York. “The initial concept came to me a little after I had an experience with discrimination using Airbnb.”
“We made our official announcement in June of 2016 and have been building the platform, securing partnerships, and putting our team together,” Grant said, who works alongside co-founder and COO Jide Ehimike, and a team of about 12 other people.
In July 2016, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was hired to help create an anti-discrimination policy for Airbnb. Grant hopes Noirbnb offsets any racist issues present on Airbnb and can benefit the Black community.
“Noirbnb’s goal is to build a safer, more diverse, and more welcoming platform for home sharing and finding new experiences,” Grant said. “We want to provide a solution to the current discrimination many Black people of color face while taking part in the sharing economy.”
Noirbnb.com features travel stories, blogs, and allows visitors to become travel ambassadors, so they can document their trip and even earn money when getting others to sign up and join.
“We benefit the Black community in a variety of ways,” Grant said. “We not only provide a safer home-sharing alternative, we create a true online community where users can not only rent and share space, but they can also plan trips together, connect with other Black businesses, learn about Black travel, news, culture art, music, creatives, entrepreneurs . . . and everything in between. Noirbnb aims to truly be a digital hub and one-stop shop for the Black community.”
Since its launch, Noirbnb has formed lucrative relationships and grown into an international company. “We currently have thousands of hosts with multiple properties around the world. We’re also acquiring new properties every day. Upon our full launch, we’ve also secured partnerships with a variety of other hosts on other platforms and will be listing their spaces on Noirbnb,” Grant said.
With its growth, Noirbnb is able to make money in multiple ways.
“Our primary revenue stream derives from transactions between guests and hosts. We also provide rentals for venues and event spaces. In addition to events, merchandise, and other partnerships we also have a variety of other features we’ll be integrating into the platform,” Grant said.
Noirbnb is not the only competitor to Airbnb that seeks to welcome people of color. Formed around the same time in 2016, Innclusive offers a similar alternative to Airbnb.
Grant said his company seeks to help Black establishments in local communities, including in Washington, D.C.
“The benefit to local businesses and markets is that while we connect people with different spaces, we also highlight local restaurants, places to shop, bookstores, hair salons, and things of the like,” he said. “Nationally our goal is to create a database of businesses to not only raise awareness but also drive revenue.”