My Airbnb is in a very diverse neighborhood, both socio-economically and racially. There’s a marina with million dollar boats and a nice waterfront restaurant that’s one of the fanciest places in the city. There are also people who are homeless. I’ve never been panhandled-the city has a pretty strict law about that. Next door is housing for low-income senior citizens so there are quite a few people who pass by in wheel chairs. Racially, the neighborhood is quite diverse, with a substantial African American population. The city as a whole is about one third black. Personally I love the diversity-it’s one thing that drew me to the neighborhood along with the ability to walk to shops and restaurants. Crime of course is everywhere -I’m not naive. But the area just doesn’t feel unsafe to me and I’ve not so far had problems with break-ins or anything of that nature. In fact, I’ve walked my 20-pound dog there at 4 am when she demanded to go out.
Recently I have attracted a group of guests who leave comments that I feel are veiled in racism. They say it’s “not the best neighborhood.” It’s not “safe.” This week I got a message from a young couple on their honeymoon who left right after checking in because it wasn’t “safe.” I feel like many of these comments are thinly veiled racism and classism as they all come from white people who appear to be middle class. Several guests have also been unhappy that the house was old!
I am very upfront about the nature of the home and the area. In fact the headline of my listing mentions the phrase “historic home.” The listing itself describes the home’s long history. The listing also details the nature of the neighborhood, mentioning the racial and socio-economic diversity in quite a bit of detail.
Here’s my question-how can I stop attracting people who clearly don’t read the ad and then end up expecting modern, open floor plan homes in a white, well-to-do neighborhood with few people with disabilities? I’m already very upfront in my listing. Does anyone else have experience with this? I’d love to hear some suggestions.