Airbnb laying off 1,900 employees due to travel decline

Airbnb is laying off 25% of its workforce as it confronts a steep decline in global travel due to the new coronavirus.

In a letter to employees, chief executive Brian Chesky said the company is letting 1,900 of its 7,500 workers go and cutting businesses that do not directly support home-sharing, such as its investments in hotels and movie production.

“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime,” Mr Chesky wrote. He said Airbnb expects its revenue to drop by more than half this year.

Mr Chesky said departing employees will receive at least 14 weeks of their base pay.

US employees will continue to receive health care coverage for a year; in other countries, employees will keep their health coverage through the end of this year.

Mr Chesky said travel will eventually return, but will look different.

Airbnb expects travellers will want options that are closer to home and more affordable, for example. The company is scaling back its investments in luxury properties as a result.

Airbnb also recently announced a new cleaning protocol that it is asks hosts to adhere to in order to make travellers feel more secure.