(Columbia, SC) — Would you sell almost everything you own to travel, work remotely, and live full-time on Airbnb? That’s the story of digital nomads and entrepreneurs Jessica E. Boyd and Steven M. Hughes of Columbia, South Carolina.
In July 2021, the couple sold 90% of their belongings to travel around America in search of where they will ultimately plant roots. Along the way, they decided to share their travels online with friends and family under the name Journey Black Home™. In addition to their personal stories, their blog and social media content highlights the Black-owned eats, stays, and travel experiences they encounter around the country.
As Black entrepreneurs themselves—Boyd is a brand strategist, and Hughes is a financial therapist—booking and supporting Black hosts on the Airbnb platform was a no-brainer. Scouring hundreds of listings to find Black-owned stays in any given city, however, quickly proved to be a tedious and time-consuming task.
“It didn’t take us long to realize that there should be an easier way for Black travelers to book Black-owned or hosted Airbnbs,” says Boyd. “So, we decided to put together an extensive list of Black-owned stays all over the country, not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of the Black travel community.”
The couple began compiling Black-owned Airbnb listings in early January 2022, searching city-by-city, listing-by-listing on the Airbnb platform. On January 31st, they released their initial findings in a blog post sharing over 200 Black-owned or hosted Airbnb stays around the United States.
The couple believes their list not only supports Black hosts and guests, but it also serves as a potential remedy to Airbnb’s well-documented discrimination and racial bias problem. In the summer of 2020, Airbnb launched Project Lighthouse with civil rights organizations like the NAACP and Color of Change to help fight these issues on the platform. While the work of Project Lighthouse is ongoing, the feedback the couple has received on social media supports their belief that their growing list is low-hanging fruit that helps remedy the problem.
Hughes adds, “We’ve kept in touch with many of the Black hosts we’ve stayed with over the last seven months. We launched a separate Instagram account, @blackairbnbs, to amplify the Black-owned Airbnb listings from our blog and also share tips from the guest perspective to help [Black] hosts attract more bookings on the app.”
The couple plans to continue growing the list domestically, and eventually internationally, with monthly updates sent to email subscribers. They are also accepting new submissions to the list on a rolling basis at blackairbnbs.co.
Though the Black-owned Airbnb listings initiative is not endorsed by Airbnb, Boyd and Hughes hope the list can inspire the company to consider new ways to support Black and other underrepresented hosts and guests on the platform.
About Journey Black Home
Journey Black Home is a couples travel blog amplifying Black-owned eats, stays, and travel experiences across the United States. Visit www.journeyblackhome.co and follow @journeyblackhome on Instagram and TikTok to learn more. Follow @blackairbnbs on Instagram for Black-owned or hosted Airbnb stays, curated by Journey Black Home.