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My rental is a historic home in a diverse neighborhood. How can I stop attracting racist and classist guests who are looking for new construction?!

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.

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My homes are all over the century and I am sooo over people expecting everything in brand new condition!
Yes - the windows are wonky - it’s old!
Yes - the floors have a slight roll - it’s old!
It has the highest heritage rating in my area, if you don’t like old - DONT BOOK IT!

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Post pictures of your “lively neighborhood”, maybe a park with old guys playing chess, and kids playing (with approval of parents, of course), and a montage of local food & drink storefronts & signs, street festivals. If it’s a historic house, add a picture of the historic outside! Make sure that your photos have a mix of folks from different ethnicities that approximates your neighborhood. Make sure that a multicultural photo is your listing’s second photo. The bigots, ignorant, and timid will then avoid booking.

If I’m in a city, a neighborhood like yours is right where I’d like to stay.

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This issue has been discussed at length on here before @RHK

Probably worth you looking at advice in previous discussions.

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So would I. It sounds wonderfully vibrant and socially integrated.

I think I would follow up in my welcome message by reiterating the areas diversity and the historic provenance of the OP’s house, adding that we like to ensure that our guests are happy with what/where they are staying.

This year, I’ve successfully avoided cat haters/wonky house loathers/entire place expectancies/narrow road complainers by reiterating everything in my welcome message that has been problematic in the past.

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Truthfully I don’t think describing your place as an Historic Home gives the impression of a diverse neighborhood.

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I agree with @Lynick4442Historic Home conjures up a completely different impression and set of expectations than Old House In A Diverse Neighborhood (which is what you really have and what people see) – no matter how well maintained the home or how nice the neighborhood really is.

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I live in city that is 80% Hispanic and it’s also the largest bi-national urban area in the world: El Paso and our sister city of Juarez. People call it “diverse” but it’s really just not majority white. I love it and that is a big part of the reason I stayed here in adulthood.

Due to this I’ve occasionally had some people ask about safety. I had one ask if the water was safe to drink. Another asked about bullets coming over from Mexico. But that’s out of over 700 people. My house is nice but my neighborhood is modest. I suggest using pictures to communicate more information about your listing and your values:

I have this sign pictured in my listing:

People don’t read but I suspect they are more likely to look at the pictures. Stating your beliefs and values helps people with different values choose a different place. For example I’ve seen listings where the owner’s Christian beliefs are prominently mentioned. Crosses and inspirational art (Bible verse stuff) are pictured. I very much appreciate those hosts and I click away from those listings.

I also now have this sign on the outside front of my home. I haven’t added it to my listing yet but I intend to.
no%20home
I also have some rainbow prayer flags hanging in the airbnb room and they are shown in the lead picture. They aren’t actually “gay;” they are in Spanish and English and have lotus flowers and OM symbols on them. They are made by a local shop as a fundraiser to benefit women in Juarez. But if someone glances at the picture and thinks “gay,” that’s perfect for me.

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You must be my next door neighbor…I wasnt aware that you put your home onto the Short Term Rental Market ! Can you share your listing with me? Where are you located? Yes this has been discussed before and you can find the input. I agree it can be an issue, but overcome with strong upfront information.

Sorry to be dense - here in the UK we don’t have that many Mexicans! Your post implies that Mexicans are “non-white” - is that true? I ask purely out of curiosity, not to make any political point.

Here’s a recent thread on your problem. I think there are others if you search:

Totally agree with @Lynick4442 about using the term “historic”. You don’t want to use a negative term that says the home is “old”, so you say it’s historic, but that’s not the impression guests get. If you play a marketing game to make your listing seem more appealing, then expect some guests to call you out on it. It’s not just about older homes, either. Terms like quiet, cozy, spacious, modern are things that paint a different picture in each guest’s mind.

It may depend on who is asking the question. Many organizations that collect race/ethnic data (job applications, loan applications, etc.) have “White, non-Hispanic” as one of the options.

Hmm. I used the term Hispanic which means descended from Spanish speaking populations. Mexican is not a racial or ethnic term, it’s a nationality. In some places (like FL) a large Hispanic population would probably be Cuban and Puerto Rican, not Mexican. Here we really are majority Mexican background but Hispanics are from many countries. Mexicans, like every other nationality, can be any ethnicity/color. In the 1840s Germans settling in Mexico gave birth to blonde haired, blue eyed kids with names like Zenker. Many Mexicans are mixed with the indigenous people of Mexico.

Recent figures for El Paso are here:

  • White: 82.02%
  • Other race: 9.82%
  • Black or African American: 3.80%
  • Two or more races: 2.38%
  • Asian: 1.27%
  • Native American: 0.58%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.13%

Around here I grew up hearing whites referred to as Anglos but many of us aren’t Anglos, we’re Irish, Dutch, French, Polish, German…

You could use the word “Mature” to describe an Older home. It has worked well for me.

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As others have said, this has been discussed several times before and there’s little that can be done, especially as far as the listing is concerned. Yes, a host can make some changes to accurately reflect the neighbourhood but hopefully the potential of poor accuracy ratings means that hosts have been honest from the start.

There’s no magic way to get guests to read thoroughly, there’s no secret way to let guests know about ‘diverse’ neighbourhoods and there’s no way to filter out guests who make choices that they then regret.

It’s a shame, true, but what works with one guest won’t work with another. There will always be people (especially in the USA) who don’t feel safe somewhere or other.

The time to do the most serious ‘selling’ of your property, is during the house tour. At this time, you are ‘selling’ your accommodation to the guests with the aim of getting great reviews, referrals or repeat business. The house tour is a valuable way of conveying what’s special about your accommodation and ensuring that the guests have a great stay with you.

Other than that, I can’t imagine any listing tweaks that could possibly work well.

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Hispanics come in all colors, we’re like the rainbow. Some Hispanics are white, black, or indigenous and some are meztisos.

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Mexican people are culturally different from the many cultures that are present in the lighter “whiter” skinned people. Good Grief, everyone. We are all humans!! I totally do not get why people get all bent out of shape at the perhaps 3% that we differ, which is all cultural, rather than getting happy about the 97+% that we are the same.

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Thank you. We all come in all colors. Hue mans

Way more likely to come from the U.S. side, sadly.

RR

How about this in your welcome message:

If you are racist, sexist, homophobic or an asshole please cancel your reservation.

I saw a sign like this in a window of a cafe in spain, I went in because of it, two bottles of wine later we almost missed the last train back to Madrid!

RR

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