Meet Lawrence Phillips, founder of Green Book Global, the first dark traveler review site

Part of being successful in business is knowing how to identify a pain point in your industry. That’s exactly what Lawrence Phillips, CEO and Founder of Green Book Global, did when he created the first black travel review site. Some want to know before booking that flight or cruise if country or city X is reasonably safe for black people. This is common sense, not paranoia. Thanks to the internet, culture can share its good, bad and ugly travel experiences like never before.

“If someone said, ‘why can’t a black traveler just use Trip Advisor?’ I would say reviews don’t reflect customer demographics,” Lawrence told Travel Noire. that of a black person. Many employees change their level of service based on their own preconceived ideas. Therefore, having a black person say that a destination was amazing, or that this tour with this tour guide was excellent goes a long way because I know that person looks like me.

Lawrence was born in Massachusetts, but you might hear a Bajan accent occasionally. He knows from experience how toxic burnout can be, but the birth of his business was the silver lining. After nearly a decade as an IT consultant and having to travel between Atlanta and San Diego every week, Lawrence was running out of breath. In 2015, he quit his job to travel the world. When he travels the world, there are two things he can’t live without: his cell phone and his hair clipper, just in case the foreign barbers aren’t up to it.

Photo by Lawrence Phillips

“While traveling, I noticed two things,” Lawrence said. “First, it takes a long time to plan a trip and second, I was nervous about going to certain destinations not knowing how I would be received. In Paris, I met a black woman in a hostel and I mentioned that I love chocolate. She said ‘you should go to Belgium.’ My question was the one that a lot of black people ask: “Is Belgium safe for black people? She assured me that everything was fine and the next day I went to Brussels. I really needed this co -signature of another black person and if I had not met her, I assure you, I would not have gone there.

The name Green Book Global honors the Negro Motorist Green Book, published in 1936 by Victor Hugo Green. This book was essential in informing black Americans of hotels, restaurants and other businesses they could safely frequent. Times have changed for the better, but only up to a point. The infamous sunset towns referenced in Green’s book all those years ago are still a problem for black travelers in the United States today. Green Book Global takes Green’s vision and expands it; enabling people to make informed travel decisions.

Browse over 5,000 travel tips written by black travelers in 400 destinations. You can adjust filters based on your desired destination, travel style, preferred accommodation and more. Green Book Global is a one-stop-shop; allowing you to book hotels, flights, activities and travel insurance. Need extra incentives? You can get paid to book and leave reviews if you become a Gold or Platinum member. Basic membership is free but does not have the cash back benefit.

Photo by Randi Baird

Any founder wants to see their business thrive, but it’s important to balance that with family. Whether it’s taking his daughter for long walks or buying ice cream, Lawrence enjoys the simple pleasures in life. His wife and daughter sometimes accompany him on trips.

“Most of the trips I’ve taken with my family have been to Barbados, Atlanta, Boston, or Martha’s Vineyard,” Lawrence said. “I took a 3 week trip to West Africa just before the pandemic and visited Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria. COVID has definitely put a damper on things and it’s a bit harder now with a two year old. But we make it work. Our last trip was to St. Maarten in February with two other black families. We had a blast. We were able to alternate babysitting duties so that we each have the opportunity to introduce ourselves a little!

Follow Green Book Global on Instagram @greenbookglobal and be sure to visit the website.

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