Airbnb to pause all marketing amid COVID-19

The company cites mounting losses and will likely halt new hires and employee bonuses.

Airbnb announced a global initiative to house COVID-19 frontliners including healthcare professionals
Airbnb announced a global initiative to house COVID-19 frontliners including healthcare professionals

Airbnb plans to halt all global marketing spend, CEO Brian Chesky told employees in a video conference call late last week.

According to The Information, Airbnb’s losses have already stretched into the hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s not clear if the company will lay off staff, of which it has 7,000 worldwide. The report added that Chesky was asked by employees about layoffs, and he responded by saying “nothing is off the table”.

A separate Reuters report said that Airbnb's suspension of marketing spend will save up to US$800 million this year, and its founders will take no salary for the next six months while top executives will take a 50% cut, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Reuters also said that Airbnb had a phone meeting with bankers on Wednesday to discuss extending an existing US$1 billion debt facility as it grapples with a slowdown.

On March 27, the travel company announced a global initiative to house COVID-19 frontliners including healthcare professionals and first responders while they carry out their work. Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.

Hosts can opt into the programme and have the option of opening their homes for free but if they’re not able to, Airbnb will still waive all fees on the stay. For more examples on how brands are contributing to recovery and relief efforts, see here

Campaign Asia-Pacific has reached out to Airbnb for comment, and it has responded with a statement: "Airbnb is resilient and built to withstand tough times and we’re doing all we can to strengthen our community and our company."

A version of this story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.


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