Brian Chesky, its CEO and co-founder, described the coronavirus as “the most terrible crisis of our lives.” He told staff, “We don’t know exactly when the trip will return. When the trip comes back, it will be different. “
Airbnb has employees in 24 countries. Its headquarters are in San Francisco and its European headquarters are in Dublin, where it employs approximately 500 people. Some of the deepest job cuts are likely to occur in new areas of the business, such as Airbnb “Luxe,” which offers what it describes as high-end homes and dedicated travel designers.
“People will want options closer to home, safer and more affordable,” said Chesky.
Airbnb said there were signs of a slight recovery in some locations, adding that more and more European travelers are booking properties in their own country this summer rather than abroad.
The hosting platform told the Financial Times that domestic bookings in Denmark are around 90% of April 2019 levels, while in the Netherlands they are nearing 80%.
Airbnb joins airlines and tour operators downsizing during the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, British Airways announced that 12,000 workers would be laid off and, on Tuesday, Virgin Atlantic announced that it would cut 3,000 jobs and terminate operations in Gatwick.
The collapse in Airbnb revenues has thwarted plans to float on the stock market this year. The planned investment of $ 40 billion or more would also have enabled many of its employees to pay large sums, as the first entrants to the company were partially paid in stock options.
Airbnb consolidated its finances this year with $ 2 billion in new loans and financing, which reports suggest was estimated at around $ 18 billion, well below previous expectations.
Airbnb started life as AirBed & Breakfast in 2008 after Chesky and another co-founder, Joe Gebbia, rented their apartment in San Francisco. The platform has approximately 150 million users and 7 million property listings worldwide.
In a blog post detailing the layoffs, Chesky told staff, “I have a deep feeling of love for all of you. Within hours, those who were laid off received an email invitation for a departure meeting, with US and Canadian employees telling them they would be leaving by next Monday.
But for some activists battling rising housing prices in cities with a large number of Airbnb hosts, the corporate crisis is making money. For example, the number of longer-term rental properties in central Dublin entering the market increased by 71% as owners abandoned short-term rentals via Airbnb.