Matthieu Jost, CEO and founder of misterb&b, has revolutionized LGBTQ+ travel, creating a platform that connects travelers with safe and inclusive accommodations worldwide. With a fervent desire to create a world where LGBTQ+ individuals can feel at home no matter where they go, Matthieu and his team have harnessed the power of technology to revolutionize the way we think about travel.
By connecting LGBTQ+ travelers with welcoming hosts, misterb&b has reshaped the industry, providing a safe and comfortable space where all travelers can truly be themselves. Let’s delve into the inspiring journey behind misterb&b, exploring the CEO’s vision for a more inclusive travel experience.
Throughout this interview, we will explore the origins of the platform, uncover the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in traditional travel accommodations, discover how hosts can make their rental LGBTQ+-friendly, and gain insights into Matthieu’s aspirations for the future of the LGBTQ+ community. Join us to (re)discover the extraordinary story behind misterb&b and its mission to redefine travel for all.
Interview with Matthieu Jost, CEO of misterb&B
Question: Could you explain the concept of misterb&b and what makes it special compared to other listing platforms?
Matthieu:misterb&b is a vacation rental and accommodation booking platform that caters to the LGBTQ+ travel community. From finding safe and LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations to connecting with like-minded travelers across the globe, misterb&b is the all-in-one platform making travel inclusive and accessible for all.
At its core, misterb&b is about connecting people globally through travel, and it offers a layer of connection that other travel apps don’t. Seventy percent of misterb&b’s user base are solo travelers looking to find like-minded people to connect and travel with.
The majority of misterb&b’s rental properties are exclusive shared houses or rooms, so we offer an opportunity for an authentic and affordable travel experience for our customers.
Matthieu Jost, CEO and Founder of misterb&b
Misterb&b also offers users a unique opportunity to share their experiences and connect with other travelers. They can share itineraries through the app for upcoming trips and upcoming travelers to their cities, helping travelers connect and chat both while traveling and at home.
Q: What inspired the creation of misterb&b?
Matthieu: Before I created misterb&b, I started a company called MyGayTrip, which was like a French TripAdvisor. With MyGayTrip, we realized how large the LGBTQ+ travel market was and the need for LGBTQ+-focused travel sites and platforms.
misterb&b was born after a vacation with my partner. We traveled to Barcelona and experienced a very uncomfortable situation when our home-share rental host rejected us from her home when she found out that we were gay and would be sharing a bed under her roof. We left, and I decided I never wanted to have the same experience again, for myself or for my community. And so misterb&b was born.
Since then, we’ve expanded the platform to be even more inclusive of the full LGBTQ+ community, offering opportunities for connection for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, and even straight cis travelers looking to find like-minded tourists and locals.
Q: Could you tell us why it’s important for the LGBTQ+ community to have a platform like misterb&b that offers inclusive accommodation?
LGBTQ+ travelers have very unique circumstances and considerations while traveling. 82% of LGBTQ+ travelers have experienced unnecessary guardrails while traveling, and over half have experienced discrimination while traveling.
There are many places in the world where LGBTQ+ people are still persecuted, and even in accepting locations, it’s hard to ensure that your accommodation will be LGBTQ+ friendly. At misterb&b, we believe in providing gay travelers the tools they need to enable them to travel safely and with pride.
Q: Should short-term rentals be specially tailored to LGBTQ+ travelers to be listed on misterb&b?
Matthieu:While it’s not a requirement for our host’s rentals to be specially tailored to LGBTQ+ travelers per se, listing safe, secure, and LGBTQ+ friendly rentals is our top priority at misterb&b. Most of our hosts and user base, in general, are part of the LGBTQ+ community, and so naturally, many of the listings on our app are catered to LGBTQ+ preferences or located in gay districts of cities.
You don’t need to be LGBTQ to list your place on misterb&b as many allies also list their place on misterb&b. The only requirement is to give our guests the same level of welcome than for any other guests.
By offering LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, our hosts attract a diverse range of guests and contribute to a more inclusive travel experience.”
Q: What tips and recommendations would you give to hosts who want to make their vacation rental more LGBTQ+ friendly or more inclusive in general?
Matthieu:To make their rentals more LGBTQ+ friendly, hosts can start by ensuring their listing descriptions and photos reflect an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere and using inclusive language in communications with guests. Many of our guests appreciate tips from their hosts on local LGBTQ+ hotspots, from bars to clubs to upcoming events during the guest stay.
Through our in-app reviews and data collected, we’ve found that some of the most important factors that help our LGBTQ+ travelers decide which rental to book are the safety of the surrounding area, the proximity to the local LGBTQ+ scene, a welcoming attitude from the host, and the level of consideration for same-sex couples, such as offering a double bed instead of two single beds.
Q: In terms of the available destinations on offer, does the platform focus on places where the LGBTQ+ community is welcome, or can travelers also use it to find LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations in less-accepting parts of the world?
Matthieu:misterb&b has a policy of not operating in the US Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control or OFAC-sanctioned countries. In other countries, like Iraq or Yemen, where the LGBTQ+ population is not protected or, even worse, targeted by authorities, sometimes with the death penalty, we operate but have restrictions in place to protect LGBTQ+ individuals.
We understand that misterb&b can help make a huge difference in their lives by enabling them to connect with other gay people, so not operating in those countries would make no sense. Disclaimers inform travelers of the risks involved in visiting certain countries.
Q: How does misterb&b play its part in destinations where the LGBTQ+ community may face higher levels of discrimination?
Matthieu:misterb&b plays a crucial role in destinations where the LGBTQ+ community faces discrimination by offering a safe and welcoming platform for LGBTQ+ travelers as well as a means of a safe and secure connection for locals in the area.
By connecting travelers with LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations and hosts who understand their unique needs, misterb&b empowers travelers to feel secure and supported during their travels. misterb&b fosters a global community through our app and on our blog, where LGBTQ+ travelers can share their experiences and provide recommendations, helping others navigate unfamiliar destinations and make informed travel choices.
Q: What does your platform offer in terms of educational resources for hosts to better understand the needs and concerns of LGBTQ+ travelers?
Matthieu:misterb&b offers a wealth of educational resources on our blog and in-app, including gay travel guides, travel safety tips, and roundups of the safest travel destinations to help both hosts and guests understand the cultural implications and norms for the LGBTQ+ community in different destinations.
Q: What measures does the platform take to protect hosts from problem guests?
Matthieu:We offer the option for hosts to initially hide their profile picture in countries with high frequencies of homophobia or LGTBQ+ hate crimes for an added layer of safety. All our hosts’ profile photos are blurred and are only accessible to someone with a misterb&b account.
misterb&b also relies heavily on AI technology that helps identify fraudulent activity by guests or hosts and on the robust review system that allows us to receive real-time feedback on our host’s experiences with guests on the app.
Q: Looking ahead, what exciting developments or future plans does misterb&b have for vacation rental owners and the LGBTQ+ community?
Matthieu:We’re extremely excited about the recent launch of our in-app travel social network extension, Weere. Weere allows users to update their profiles, interests, and mood to find like-minded individuals and create meaningful connections from across the world or across the street. With Weere, travelers can meet LGBTQ+ locals and tourists in their home city and create memories right from home, chatting with upcoming visitors to their city or connecting with travelers in town.
Misterb&b’s Silver Pride operation during the Paris Pride (Marche des Fiertés) – June 24, 2023
In line with misterb&b’s commitment to providing the best experience for their hosts, a recent partnership with the French non-profit organization “Les Audacieuses et Les Audacieux” further highlights their dedication to the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. Their Silver Pride initiative focuses on bringing together LGBTQ+ seniors without family support in France. As Pride Month unfolds, it becomes increasingly apparent that the work of platforms like misterb&b remains crucial, providing a beacon of hope for a bright future for the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.
Q: It feels like nowadays, we’re going backward when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, with certain progressive laws being repealed and even some of the most basic rights being threatened. Despite these setbacks, do you see a future where platforms like misterB&B “aren’t needed” as LGBTQ+ rights improve?
Matthieu:The repeal of progressive laws and the threat to basic LGBTQ+ and human rights is terrifying and saddening for the team at misterb&b and for the entire LGBTQ+ community. Amidst travel advisories and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in places like Florida, misterb&b has actually increased in use in some Florida cities, which illustrates that our users are turning to the platform for increased safety and inclusivity in these very difficult times.
I have faith that the LGBTQ+ community and its allies will come together to create a future of peace and of guaranteed rights for LGBTQ+ individuals. However, even as LGBTQ+ rights improve, platforms like misterb&b will continue to play a vital role in the travel industry. Our focus extends beyond legal rights to creating safe spaces and fostering a sense of community for LGBTQ+ travelers.
We strive to provide a platform that celebrates diversity and inclusivity, ensuring that LGBTQ+ travelers always have a dedicated space to connect with like-minded individuals, find LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, and access valuable resources.
As long as there is a need for safe and welcoming travel experiences, misterb&b will be here to support and empower the LGBTQ+ community.
A guarantee of inclusion, diversity and acceptance
Misterb&b has not only transformed the travel experience for LGBTQ+ travelers but has also provided an incredible opportunity for hosts around the world. By publishing their rentals on misterb&b, hosts can tap into a vibrant community of LGBTQ+ travelers seeking safe and inclusive accommodations.
With Matthieu Jost at the helm, misterb&b continues to shape the future of travel, inviting hosts to be part of an extraordinary journey that celebrates diversity, acceptance, and the power of shared experiences.
Want to know more? Discover all the latest LGBTQ+ travel industry news on misterb&b’s travel blog!
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