Airbnb CEO confirms around 25pc of the company will be laid off

6 May 2020

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With Airbnb’s business hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Brian Chesky said that almost 1,900 staff will have to be let go.

Airbnb has confirmed that approximately a quarter of its workforce – amounting to nearly 1,900 people – will need to be laid off as the company “cannot afford to do everything that we used to”.

CEO Brian Chesky told the company’s 7,500 employees, before publishing the news in a blog post yesterday (5 May). The post also confirmed that Airbnb is to halt all of its projects related to hotels, transportation and luxury stays.

Chesky admitted that revenues have been “hit hard” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with this year’s revenue set to be half of what the company achieved in 2019. Data revealed in March showed the company’s year-on-year bookings were down 95pc in Asia, 75pc in Europe and 50pc in the US.

“Travel in this new world will look different, and we need to evolve Airbnb accordingly,” Chesky said.

“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.”

Airbnb employs around 500 staff in Dublin, but it is not yet clear if job cuts will affect the company’s Irish operation.

‘This is not your fault’

Airbnb said that those who will be let go will be given a severance package and resources to help them find new jobs. Some of its employees will also be reassigned to new roles. “We have employees in 24 countries, and the time it will take to provide clarity will vary based on local laws and practices,” Chesky wrote.

In a closing statement to those set to lose their job, Chesky said: “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. I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing them with us.”

Last month Airbnb told employees that it would be putting a hiring freeze in place, halting all marketing efforts, cancelling bonuses and reducing executive salaries. At the same time, the company announced two successive $1bn investments that were designed to help the company get through the “storm of the pandemic”.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic