Airbnb Hosts More Likely to Reject the Disabled, a Study Finds.
Other users have reported similar bias, and a new Rutgers University study — based on more than 3,800 Airbnb lodging requests sent by the researchers — suggests it may be common: Travelers with disabilities are more likely to be rejected and less likely to receive preapproval, or temporary clearance, for a potential stay, the authors found.
Hosts granted preapproval to 75 percent of travelers who made no mention of a disability, according to the study.
Some of that disparity can be explained by hosts who followed up with questions for the travelers with disabilities, the researchers said, thus preventing the request from being classified as preapproved.
That, they said, raised concerns that businesses like Airbnb could exclude users with disabilities even as they expand access to services over all.
With more than three million listings, Airbnb has introduced new lodging options around the world, including many that meet the needs of people with disabilities.
“Discrimination of any kind on the Airbnb platform, including on the basis of ability, is abhorrent, a violation of our anti-discrimination policy and will result in permanent removal from our platform,” the company said in a statement.
The market capitalization of Hilton Hotels is nearly $22 billion.
That’s how people get left out of opportunities, especially people who are already marginalized.” Airbnb said that it has teamed with several disability organizations to better educate hosts and that it expects to release new accessibility listing and filtering features this summer.
Accomable, a listing platform designed by and for travelers with disabilities, has 1,100 listings in 60 countries.