This Niche Travel Platform is Providing Safe Experiences for the LGBTQ+ Community

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Vacation rental apps like Airbnb have completely reshaped the travel industry. But members of the LGBTQ+ community don’t always enjoy the same experiences as others when traveling. Now, one entrepreneur is serving this community with a platform specifically built for them.

Matthieu Jost is the founder of Misterb&b, a travel platform for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Jost got the idea for this service about a decade ago during a trip to Spain with his partner. They booked a room in a shared home on another travel platform, but it was clear that the host wasn’t comfortable sharing their space with a gay couple. So they left and set out to create a solution to help other members of their community travel safely.

Jost had already launched two successful businesses in France. So he was able to raise $15 million to launch Misterb&b, which originally served gay men. Since then, the platform has expanded to cater to all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Misterb&b now has over a million users and is the largest travel community in this space.

Jost said in a recent interview with Fast Company, “We want people to be able to connect within the community and have safe experiences. We verify all of our users. We also deliver and implement tools to help people connect who are not present on mainstream platforms. For example, you can find places to stay in the gay district of a city. We have a filter for moods. If you’re talkative, you can find a talkative host. If you prefer not to chat, you can find a more introverted host. There’s also a filter for sharing interests with the hosts. About 65% of our users are solo travelers—we’re really in the business of fighting loneliness. We’re building community. It can be isolating to be LGBTQ+.”

Jost’s experience in Spain unfortunately isn’t the only negative experience that members of the LGBTQ+ community have experienced while using mainstream travel apps. As a member of this community, Jost was able to use his personal experience to create something safe and positive for others.

Creating a business that serves a niche community often comes with challenges. For example, Jost acknowledged challenges like verifying users and targeting community members with advertising. But the ability to truly connect with community members and understand their wants and needs can help founders create successful companies and happy customers.

Image: Envato




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