Airbnb to lay off 25% of its workforce

Some 1,900 Airbnb employees worldwide will be affected, CEO wrote in email to staff

On Tuesday night, an Airbnb spokeswoman said she had ‘nothing further to share’ about how the news of layoffs would impact employees based in Ireland. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday night, an Airbnb spokeswoman said she had ‘nothing further to share’ about how the news of layoffs would impact employees based in Ireland. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

 

Airbnb is cutting 25 per cent of its workforce as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pummel the travel sector.

About 1,900 Airbnb employees across the world will be affected, chief executive Brian Chesky wrote in an email to staff. “We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill,” Mr Chesky wrote.

“Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019.”

The company employs about 500 staff at its Dublin offices in Ringsend, a spokesman confirmed on Wednesday morning. In 2018, it indicated that it was planning to expand its operations here, doubling its headcount to about 1,000. The spokesman declined to comment when asked about job cuts at the company’s Irish operations.

In a message posted on the Airbnb website on Tuesday evening, Mr Chesky said he would host a meeting for the company’s Europe and Middle East teams at 12am US west coast time, 8am Dublin time.

Sources in Dublin said employees do not expect to escape the impact of the cutbacks, although they pointed to the fact that segments of AirBnB’s operations specifically mentioned by Mr Chesky as targets for scaling back are not based in Dublin.

Severance

Employees outside the United States will receive “at least 14 weeks pay” in severance, Mr Chesky wrote, “plus tenure increase consistent with their country-specific practices”.

The San Francisco-based start-up, which was poised to be the blockbuster stock listing of the year, has raised $2 billion (€1.85 billion) in capital and dramatically cut costs in a bid to weather the slump.

“While we know Airbnb’s business will fully recover, the changes it will undergo are not temporary or short-lived,” Mr Chesky wrote. “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.”

As a result, Airbnb will be pausing its efforts in transportation and scaling back its investments in hotels and luxury travel, he said. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg

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