With the global lockdown profoundly affecting the travel and tourism industry, Airbnb has reportedly laid off 25 per cent of its workforce.
This comes as no surprise given the intense battering the short-term rental sector has taken since the pandemic was declared in mid-March. According to a recent survey conducted by Guesty, a property management software used by organizations with listings across Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, Agoda and TripAdvisor, more than 76 per cent of reservations for the upcoming spring and summer months have been cancelled. The study surveyed nearly 400 rental businesses with 3-to-200+ properties in their portfolios around the world.
The Airbnb announcement that nearly 1,900 of its 7,500 employees would be let go worldwide is a grave indication of just how hard hit the short-term rental industry has become. Revenue for the company is expected to be cut by half of what it was in 2019 ($4.8 billion).
“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime,” wrote CEO and cofounder Brian Chesky, in a letter to employees.
But there is a glimmer of hope, as many European nations begin to ease lockdown restrictions and citizens begin to rethink their holiday plans. According to Guesty, the fall season looks promising. To date, less than 10 per cent of bookings between September and November have been cancelled.