misterb&b 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. Here, misterb&b’s CEO and co-founder, Matthieu, explains how you can make the site for you, whether you’re going abroad of welcoming travellers into your home.
Hi Matthieu, for those Boyz readers who don’t know, how would you describe misterb&b?
misterb&b is the largest gay short term rental service in the world. Our hosts are about 200,000 in over 135 countries. misterb&b offers gay or LGBT-friendly travellers a wide range of accommodations and the chance to discover the local gay scene while having a safe experience.
Can you give us a brief history please – how and when did this all come together?
It all started about four years ago when I booked a shared apartment in Barcelona with my partner. No one would ever think a city like that could be unfriendly towards the gay community. Still, upon our arrival, it was clear the host was not comfortable with gay men staying in her home. She even asked “Are you going to sleep in the same bed?” Nobody deserves that kind of treatment and nobody would feel comfortable in staying in such environment. That’s where the idea for a rental service specifically addressed to the LGBT community came to be and how I became misterb&b’s CEO and co-founder. Thanks to that unpleasant experience it was clear that a short term rental service for gay men was needed to help provide not only a safe and comfortable experience, but also one where gay men could connect and expand their sense of community.
Which countries and cities do you have properties in?
Our 200,000 hosts are present in over 135 countries. North America and Europe are our major markets and these are our top 10 gay destinations: Paris; New York; Barcelona; Amsterdam; London; Berlin; Madrid; San Francisco; Lisbon; and Los Angeles.
What kind of accommodation do you feature?
Private rooms, shared rooms and entire flats. Then, of course, the offer varies depending on the city. In some destinations we also have houseboats, beautiful countryside villas, designer apartments and so on. The real value of our offer are our hosts though: they are the ambassadors of the local gay culture, helping travellers from all over the world discover the wonders of a city and experience their pride.
For those people looking for somewhere to stay, how does it work?
It’s super simple. Just go on misterb&b’s website or app. Fill in the dates of your stay and your destination, browse through the available properties and book the one that suits your needs. All you have to do then is start packing for your gaycation!
How do you vet the properties and how do people know they will be safe?
All our new hosts go through an internal process of verification. We use a machine learning algorithm that detects potential fraudulent users. In some cases, we are asking our users for an ID verification. It’s a simple process but it’s compulsory and it’s monitored by our Trust and Safety department, while our multi-language support team is available 24/7 to answer and assist our customers on whatever question they might have.
If someone has a room or a property they want to earn money from, how does that work?
First I would suggest that they check our legal requirements page to understand how hosting is compliant with local fiscal norms. Our website provides full guides about city taxes and requirements in major cities of Europe, North America, France, and other popular destinations.
What are misterb&b’s plans for the future?
In the last few months we launched Mister for Goods, a programme that promotes the actions of several LGBT non-profits allowing our users to make donations aside from the ones we regularly make. We’re particularly proud of this milestone because it allows us go beyond providing safe travel experiences and really have a positive impact. Mister for Goods was created to make a difference for the global LGBT community. On a side note, we’re also working closely with several local governments like we recently did with the Paris City Hall. The goal is to provide a smoother user experience, help our hosts understand their administrative duties and be always on pace with the ever-changing and diverse regulations concerning short term rental. Axel, Open Sea Cruises and Circuit are only a couple of the famous brands we joined forces with in the past months and more are to be announced in the coming months. The worldwide LGBT community has come a long way but there are still miles to go and that’s where misterb&b wants to play a major role.