Lonely Planet Writer

Misterbnb: How an Airbnb dedicated to gay travellers is taking off around the globe

An uncomfortable experience when booking an apartment convinced Matthieu Jost that accommodation sharing services – while spurring a revolution in travel – might not always meet every individual requirement.

Misterbnb a short term rental site for LGBT community, modelled on Airbnb
Misterbnb a short term rental site for LGBT community, modelled on Airbnb.

Four years ago, Matthieu booked accommodation in Barcelona but when he arrived with his partner, it became obvious that the host was not comfortable with two gay men staying in her home. “Are you going to sleep in the same bed?” she asked. A day later, they were back home in Paris, holiday ruined … but with an idea.

From that experience, misterbnb was born – a short-term rental service by and for gay men to provide a guaranteed welcome on arrival in a new city. Their service misterbnb has already grown to more than 33,000 hosts scattered across 130 different countries, including all of the world’s major cities.

 Two elderly gays follow column of demonstrators at the Gay Pride on June 30, 2012 in Paris.
The service provides a guaranteed welcome on arrival in a new city. Image by: Shutterstock

The company explained: “Misterbnb helps connect the global gay community by enabling gay men to earn money from their spare space and affordably travel the world feeling welcome anywhere they go.

“We also organise meet-ups in cities around the world, which are a great opportunity to meet hosts and travellers.”  While most of their customers are gay, it is not obligatory and many hosts have signed up simply as “gay friendly”.

The company also organises meet-ups in cities for travellers
The company also organises meet-ups in cities for travellers

The advantages don’t necessarily cover just the accommodation, but also the fact that the hosts can generally provide first hand advice on the best neighbourhoods to visit for gay travellers or have homes located in those areas. There are hundreds of listings in well known destinations including Soho in London, the Marais in Paris, Sitges in Spain, and Le Village in Montreal.

But the company also has a strong presence in Bangkok in Thailand and a growing list of properties across all continents.  Like most sharing services, apartments can be rented on a daily or weekly basis, or even for much longer stays by negotiation with hosts.