Critics of the service have highlighted the bias allegations, launching a campaign last week in which a woman who identifies herself as black tells about the difficulties which one faces while finding lodging on the home-sharing website.
"I get declined all the time on Airbnb," she says. "Hosts would have one excuse or another, like, 'Oh, it was just booked or I haven't updated the calendar," but their excuses don't matter.
I mean, Airbnb should be doing more to stop racial discrimination because we deserve better."
Share Better, the New York-based coalition behind the ad, said that the story of the woman is a composite of different accounts and news reports. The group includes elected officials and housing groups, and has the support of parts of the hotel industry and unions that represent hotel workers.
The group is airing its ad on CNN, MSNBC and local outlets in six cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. An additional digital push has played an important role in putting the campaign in front of more people on social media and through traditional display advertising.
"Given Airbnb's history of ignoring laws that protect affordable housing, it's not surprising they would sit on the sidelines while people's civil rights are violated," said a Share Better spokesperson in a statement. "Their lack of a proactive approach to address this widespread discrimination is a prime example of Airbnb putting their bottom line ahead of what they can and should be doing to follow both the letter and spirit of the law."