Airbnb has announced a 25% reduction in its workforce,
impacting nearly 1,900 of its 7,500 employees.
In a letter to employees, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian
Chesky called the coronavirus outbreak “the most harrowing crisis of our
lifetime” and explained how it has taken a toll on Airbnb’s business. Revenue
for 2020 is forecast to be less than half of 2019’s revenue.
Although Airbnb managed to secure $2 billion in capital amid
the outbreak, Chesky says “two hard truths” -- that no one knows when travel
will return and what travel will look like -- indicate that further measures
needed to be taken.
In addition to the layoffs, Chesky says changes to the
business will include pausing efforts in its transportation department and in
Airbnb Studios. The company will also scale back investments in its Hotels and
He added that teams across all of Airbnb will be impacted. “Many
teams will be reduced in size based on how well they map where Airbnb is headed,”
“To those leaving Airbnb, 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 ended his letter.
His apology is not the first in recent weeks. In March,
Chesky apologized to hosts for botching communication about Airbnb’s
coronavirus-related cancellation policy, resulting in the company donating $250
million to assist.
The coronavirus has had a particularly harsh impact on the
home-share giant as its hosts scramble to pay mortgages, guests can’t or are
hesitant to travel, and industry experts reevaluate the value of private
accommodation. The company had been slated to go public in 2020.
As newer elements of its business are set to the side -- namely,
Hotels, led by Airbnb’s acquisition of HotelTonight in March 2019 and its
ongoing push around flights and transportation -- it appears the company is not
only scaling back its workforce, but also its purpose.