Airbnb implements new policies to combat discrimination

DENVER -- Claims of racism and discrimination by users of online vacation home marketplace Airbnb prompted the company to apologize and outline new policies to combat the problem on Thursday.

Many African-American guests said they were told listings were unavailable only to see those same listings readvertised later for the same dates.

A newly written nondiscrimination policy posted on the company's website says effective Thursday says Airbnb hosts cannot decline a guest based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

Changes to be implemented in the coming months also include reducing the prominence of guest photos in the booking process, automatically blocking out a host's reservation calendar for dates they have told a would-be guest are not available.

There will also be online anti-bias training for hosts.

The company is also looking to expand its Instant Book program. This allows some listings to be booked immediately, without prior host approval of a specific guest.

Airbnb hopes to increase the number of Instant Book listings to 1 million by January.