‘Misterbnb’ offers a community alternative to ‘Airbnb’ for the gay travelerEntertainment News, Online Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Monday, June 30th, 2014
Almost six years ago, two of the three Airbnb founders, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, found themselves unable to pay their rent on a pricey San Francisco loft. But instead of downsizing, they cleared out their living room, threw down a few air mattresses and provided home-cooked breakfasts to the various travelers looking for a cheap place to stay in a saturated market. And, thus, an idea was born. As of October 2013, Airbnb has served 9 million guests since its founding in August 2008. It took four years to reach 4 million alone, and it only took less than a year to reach 9 million.
Ironically, for Misterbnb founder Matthieu Jost, it was that similar sense of crisis that led to opportunity. Jost and his boyfriend had rented an overnight room in Barcelona. Unfortunately, the hosts did not like the idea of two men sleeping in the same bed. When Jost returned home to Paris, he immediately went to work on Misterbnb, something of a gay alternative to Airbnb, and has seen nothing but growth in his business since.
The idea itself is nothing new. People with homes, rooms, condos – even boats and castles – advertise their dwellings for short term stays for far less than what most people could expect to pay in a hotel. As a precautionary measure, reviews are posted by former habitants and there is ample opportunity for hosts and guests alike to get to know each other before a decision is reached.
But for the gay traveler, often times the hosts are straight (and gay-friendly) but have little sense of the community vibe, the best clubs or any other gay amenities in their neck of the woods. Misterbnb addresses that issue because the hosts are members of the LGBT community and understand better than their straight counterparts what to anticipate from their guests.
According to Forbes.com, “Since [its inception], Misterbnb has grown to 8,000-plus room, apartment and home rental properties in 65 countries, and added neighborhood guides and a smartphone app. Paris has the most listings (700), followed by Barcelona (375) and New York and London (160 each), down to single properties in Nepal and the Philippines. Average cost: about $70 per night.
Here in San Diego, there are a handful of listings on Misterbnb which include a co-share downtown, a cottage in North Park, a small studio in Hillcrest and a few other listings. Average price per night: about $75.
As an added benefit for Jost, female travelers, who he says are 10 percent of his business, find the idea of living with men who have no sexual interest in them extremely appealing. “For women, the best-selling point of Misterbnb is safety,” says Adélaïde Kauffman, a 25-year-old customer service manager from Paris. She and a friend booked a room in a Barcelona apartment through Misterbnb last summer. “We felt better knowing that the hosts were not interested in women and that we wouldn’t have any problem with them.”
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=49042