Airbnb is laying off a fourth of its workforce as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic shakes the travel industry and curbs plans to vacation in homes belonging to strangers.
On Tuesday, the short-term rental company said in a note to employees that it was slashing nearly 1,900 jobs from its workforce of about 7,500 people.
"We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill," said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in a memo to employees. "Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019."
Airbnb reportedly earned $4.8 billion in revenue last year and raised $2 billion in capital in April as it grappled with the COVID-19 fallout.
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The outcome of the workforce reduction will be a "more focused business," the company said. Outgoing employees in the U.S. will receive 14 weeks of base pay plus an additional week for each year they've been with the company.
The move comes one month after the platform faced backlash from travelers expressing confusion over how to obtain refunds if their plans were upended due to the spreading of the respiratory virus.
The home-sharing service recently updated its extenuating circumstances policy to allow guests to receive refunds for stays that were booked on or before March 14 and that have a check-in date between March 14 and June 15.
Its previous policy allowed refunds only for check-in dates between March 14 and May 31.
Airbnb has also rolled out optional cleaning protocols for hosts renting out rooms and homes during the pandemic. The company is offering a cleaning manual and specifying particular chemicals and other products to work with.
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