Airbnb lays off 25 percent of employees as coronavirus chokes travel

Anna Gabrielle Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2020 09:14 PM

MANILA - Airbnb is laying off about 25 percent of its workforce, or about 1,900 employees as the coronavirus pandemic continues to curtail global travel.

“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill,” Chief Executive Officer, Brian Chesky said in an email to his staff

According to Chesky Airbnb’s finances had been “hit hard,” citing the forecasted revenue is expected to plummet to less than half of what they earned in 2019.

“When you’ve asked me about layoffs, I’ve said that nothing is off the table. Today, I must confirm that we are reducing the size of the Airbnb workforce. For a company like us whose mission is centered around belonging, this is incredibly difficult to confront, and it will be even harder for those who have to leave Airbnb,” he wrote. 

Chesky said the rental startup raised $2 billion in capital and “dramatically cut costs that nearly touched every corner of Airbnb” to keep the company afloat. 

“While we know Airbnb’s business will fully recover, the changes it will undergo are not temporary or short-lived. Because of this, we need to make more fundamental changes to Airbnb by reducing the size of our workforce around a more focused business strategy” Chesky explained. 

According to Chesky, the layoffs will be spread throughout the company’s global operations and the business will scale back to its “roots” of being a platform for sharing homes and local experiences. 

“We will be pausing its efforts in transportation and scaling back its investments in hotels and luxury travel,” he said.

Chesky noted “travel in this new world will look different” and Airbnb must evolve accordingly. 

“People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable. But people will also yearn for something that feels like it’s been taken away from them — human connection,” he said. 

“This crisis has sharpened our focus to get back to our roots, back to the basics, back to what is truly special about Airbnb — everyday people who host their homes and offer experiences,” Chesky continued. 

US employees affected by the job cut will receive 14 weeks of base pay, plus one additional week for every year at Airbnb, equity in the company and 12 months of health insurance.

“I am truly sorry. Please know this is not your fault. The world will never stop seeking the qualities and talents that you brought to Airbnb…that helped make Airbnb. I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing them with us,” Chesky said in the letter.