What's driving the LGBTQI leader?
You’ve heard of Airbnb, but what about Misterb&b?
As the name implies, it’s the Airbnb rival that’s put the gay (and LGBTQI) community at its heart.
“Misterb&b envisions a world where travellers form a wide gay-friendly community … to share their experiences and make the most out of every gay scene,” founder Matthieu Jost told The Memo.
Founded in France in 2013, Misterb&b already has over 100,000 hosts in 135 countries. Earlier this year it raised $8.5m to expand even more.
As far as the booking experience goes, it works the same as Airbnb, with hosts advertising their spare rooms or apartments, and guests paying to stay somewhere more personable than a hotel.
But it’s this friendly element, in particular, that Jost says sets Misterb&b apart.
“Misterb&b allows you to connect to members of a gay community [and] our hosts can provide useful tips to enjoy your gaycation – nice bars, peculiar clubbing venues, places to go grab a bite or a drink, shopping areas.”
“This will let you explore a new city like a gay local.”
Jost also stresses how important it is that Misterb&b is safe space for LGBTQI travellers.
“Misterb&b doesn’t only guarantee accommodation … it means someone who cares will be there for you. And that someone will be a like-minded person, someone who will make you feel welcome without being judgemental.”
“You will feel as if you were travelling with friends, although you’re really making new ones.”
Although Airbnb is attempting to stamp out discrimination, homophobia is still all too common, and it’s easy to see why the LGBTQI community might appreciate a welcoming alternative.
Just last year a tourist visiting Texas to celebrate Pride was cancelled on by his host with the message: “No LGBT people, please. I do not support people who are against humanity.”
While it’s still not clear how much room for there is for competition in the rental marketplace, Misterb&b is in good company, alongside other inspiring alternatives.
Among the challenges he faces Jost must continue to raise more funding, navigate legal regulations, and build a truly global brand, he explains.
There’s also the fact we live in a sexually “overexposed” world, says the Frenchman, although he hopes this won’t be a problem for the Misterb&b community.
“We’re living in the 2.0 age, we’re overexposed, we can bring sexual or dating expectations [to] any social network or online community,” says Jost.
“On Misterb&b people may take advantage of that and pursue their own ends.”
Ultimately however, Misterb&b isn’t a sexuality-based platform, rather a sexuality-related one, “for everyone who identifies or shares the values and is acceptant towards the LGBTQI community”.
The dream for the future then? To be “the largest platform related to LGBTQI travel” obviously.
Where will your next ‘gaycation’ take you?