Airbnb to pause all marketing amid Covid-19

Company cites mounting losses and is likely to halt new hires and employee bonuses.

Airbnb: in discussion to extend existing $1bn debt facility
Airbnb: in discussion to extend existing $1bn debt facility

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

According to The Information, Airbnb’s losses have already stretched into hundreds of millions of dollars. It is 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 lay-offs 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 $800m this year and its founders will take no salary for the next six months, while top executives will take a 50% pay cut, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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

On 27 March, the travel company announced a global initiative to house Covid-19 front-liners 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 up their homes for free, but if they are not able to Airbnb will still waive all fees on the stay. 

When contacted by Campaign Asia-Pacific, Airbnb responded with this 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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