Coronavirus forces Airbnb to lay off 1,900 workers

Short-term rental site expecting less than half the revenue it made in 2019

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Airbnb is laying off about 25 percent of its workforce as the coronavirus continues to keep would-be travelers at home, co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky announced Tuesday.

The short-term property rental-booking platform was laying off about 1,900 employees out of its 7,500 workers, according to Chesky.

Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

AIRBNB TO REFUND CASH FOR CORONAVIRUS CANCELLATIONS

As the pandemic chilled travel around the world, Chesky said Airbnb raised $2 billion and “dramatically” cut costs across the company. Still, Airbnb’s revenue is expected to be less than half of what the company brought in last year.

“While we know Airbnb’s business will fully recover, the changes it will undergo are not temporary or short-lived,” Chesky told employees. “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 (iStock)

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U.S. workers being laid off will receive 14 weeks of base pay plus another week for each year they’ve spent at the company as severance. Airbnb will also provide equity to all departing employees and cover health insurance through COBRA for a year.

As the pandemic has stopped planned travel, Airbnb has offered full refunds for guests through June 15. The company has also pledged $250 million for hosts who have lost business as a result of the coronavirus.

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