Airbnb Host Activism

I have been a Superhost for about 6 years now and have had mostly wonderful guests. I live in a very blue part of California and am liberal in my political views. As I read about the extreme right-wing agendas that are taking root across the country, especially in the South and parts of the Midwest, I have periodically considered the idea of using my little Airbnb platform to protest; for example, refusing to host guests from states that have criminalized abortion. But this seems to go against Airbnb’s policy of inclusivity, and I doubt if it would even be legal. Ultimately, I always arrive at the conclusion that this would be counterproductive. But the thought keeps coming up every time I read of some new outrageous attack on women’s and LGBTQ rights. Just wondering if other hosts have ever considered engaging in some sort of activism on their Airbnb site(s). Or is this just the wrong place for that?


Perhaps you could post the rainbow flag on your listing and indicate that it’s a safe space and everyone is welcome. Those far right extremist folks will stay away from your listing. I think this would be more of a low key activism without getting penalized by Airbnb. Here in the east coast many restaurants display the rainbow flag. You can even display one in your garden. Here many classrooms display it also, not based on political views, but as a symbol of inclusion and equality.


Interesting, this thought has come up for me in reverse as a guest. I have an Airbnb booking in Austin TX US for the 2014 total solar eclipse. I actually told my 2 adult daughters let’s cancel if you think there is any possible chance you’d be pregnant. I can’t imagine the stress of a pregnancy medical emergency in that state. We’ll go to Buffalo instead.

The first line of my rules states “The host welcomes all and does not discriminate against any guest on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.” But I’m sure that’s seldom read as you have to click on “additional” on the site.

Although you could always have a chance as a host to initiate a dialogue. It’s when we relate to those different than us as human beings on an individual basis that perceptions change.

One of my discussion points on social safety net and government role is that we are not on opposite sides, we are on a continuum. Unless they’re a total off-the-grid prepper who thinks they’re their own sovereign state, most would agree that government should maintain roads, rather than citizens renting backhoes to construct their own portion or paying a toll to some private company every time they cross the street. Department of Defense and public schools are usually well accepted. I’m just further out on the continuum on topics such as healthcare, college and advanced vocational training, and housing. So we have something to discuss.


Absolutely the wrong place. I understand your reasons for wanting to make a difference but there are more effective ways of doing so.

As you say, it’s against Airbnb’s inclusivity policy and I imagine that other online rental sites would be the same.

I suspect that the only way you could do as you suggest is by using your own website and not a third party advertiser.


I agree with Ritz- make it clear who you welcome, not who you don’t welcome. The right-wing bible thumpers and gun nuts will hopefully stay away from listings which make it clear they welcome all.
There are plenty of lefties in red states. No need to punish them for something they are just as distressed about as you are.


How would you feel about hosts in Canada, Mexico and Europe refusing to host guests from countries that do not protect abortion rights and which allow civilians to wander around the streets armed with assault rifles.


I am like-minded. In my photos section I post a picture of what my front yard looks like. I have had many guests comment on this being the reason they booked. One lady coming from Florida said that she feels so much safer knowing someone with an Asian background would feel welcome.

It’s subtle but communicates the message well. And not only does it not discriminate, it shows our willingness to host to all (while offending Right Wing radicals without blatantly stating it.)


Many thanks to all who responded for your thoughtful and measured responses. I really love the idea of displaying something subtle, like a rainbow flag, to indicate inclusivity. I just found a beautiful little plaque on Etsy which I plan to display in my rental and in a photograph. I am grateful to be part of this community and appreciate your insights.


I saw this displayed in many store windows when I traveled to Spain. I remember that I wondered why it was in English and not in Spanish. Then I thought perhaps it was meant for American tourists and not Spaniards. I think Spaniards are more liberal than some Americans.


I love the first line of your rules and are adding that to my listings too!

We had guests staying once and we were in the space fixing the internet. My husband comes over and says quietly to me, “Wait for me downstairs please.” So I gave him a look and went downstairs. He finished, came down and said, “They were Republicans and making jokes about liberals. I know you wouldn’t have been able to keep your mouth shut, and they’re helping pay the mortgage.”


So I am an Airbnb Host for 10 years and a Superhost for most of that time but have blocked off my Riverhouse for the season hence I lost the designation. As a guest this past March I traveled to Provo Utah and stayed at a lovely Airbnb bungalow with only one drawback. There was a large crucifix placed low over the bed. I was raised catholic and am still recovering but really felt this was a very ostentatious presentation in a rental home. So I removed the crucifix from over the bed and placed in on a shelf in the living room. Low and behold I had an issue when I left with an untruthful review which after much back and forth with the remote owner I had corrected but now realized that her cleaner probably objected to the “relocation” of the crucifix. I think being respectful of others and their sensibilities includes not imposing our beliefs on others. Thanks for this discussion. Cheers.


I thinkit depends somewhat on the nature of the listing and its location.
If it’s a shared home listing, while the hosts don’t need to put religious symbols in the guest room, they may have them in other parts of the house and as it’s their own home, they should be able to have objects they want.

And what I mean by location is, for instance, that you would be likely to see a picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe in most traditional Mexican homes. So it’s also matter of accepting the trappings of the culture outside of one’s own country.

But I can certainly understand removing the crucifix over your bed (I would have put it back before checking out, though) I used to property manage a small casita for the owners, who only came down once a year for a month or two- the rest of the time it was rented out. The owners were born-again Christians (good people- never talked about their beliefs or tried to convert anyone, non-judgemental and socially and politically liberal- they were absolutely horrified by Trump). She had been collecting crucifixes in Mexico- pottery, wood, metal, and hung them on the wall. They also had religious books and music CDs. I used to pack that stuff away in their storeroom when they left, just saying it was so no renters stole or broke any of it.


Oh very interesting- this was a stand alone and I was a bit surprised but it was in Provo, UT - home of Brigham Young University and predominantly Mormon but still :flushed:.
Thanks for you comment since I think you were right to remove the over the top religious symbols.

In a stand alone, I’d say it’s sort of pushing one’s religion on others. While a Mexican host who isn’t very worldly might not realize that crosses and pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe might be distasteful to some guests, it seems to me that Mormons in Utah would be well aware of that, but just don’t care.

And if a host is going to hang religious symbols over a guest bed, they should at least show that in the photo gallery.


Mormons do not use or display any crosses (because they believe that this symbolism focuses on the murder of Jesus rather than his resurrection), so the fact that this crucifix was in Provo is irrelevant because if you see a cross in a home, it’s definitely not a Mormon home. Have a look at Mormon churches and temples next time you drive by: you’ll never see a cross anywhere. And you’ll never see one in a Mormon home, and Mormons don’t wear cross jewellery. (But if you see someone wearing a ring that says “CTR” on it, you know they’re Mormon!).


I don’t use any signs because I welcome everyone whether they are right-wing bigots, COVID deniers, anti-vaxxers, LGBTQ, communists, socialists, and any other labeled people. I don’t care if they believe in funny but interesting stories (religion) or if they are heathens or infidels.

I made a lot of money off of anti-vaxxers and COVID deniers, as they were the ones traveling more in 2021. While other hosts were busy denying them, I was busy taking them and charging them rates 2-3x what I charge today.

If I started denying people based on how they are labeled, what would be the difference between me and them?

I feel it’s counterproductive if your goal is to make more money. I know that is not the goal for most Airbnb hosts, but it’s the most important goal for my Airbnb.


When I read about the crucifix over the bed I automatcally assumed they were Catholics. I grew up in a Catholic household and placing a crucifix over the bed was very common. In my home there were four beds and each bed had a crucifix on the wall.


And a compartment in the back containing holy water and candles in case the priest needed them to do last rites!


If a guest exhibits MAGAistic behavior I put the first $100 of their fee into a donation to Planned Parenthood.


Good for you. Maybe it lessened the amount of disposable income they had to donate to the “campaign” of DJT, which is, in fact, going to help pay his legal bills.