Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky yesterday promised hosts that the company would bounce back from the Coronavirus downturn but not first without comparing the situation to that faced by the company in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2018.
In a move sure to win few friends in Puerto Rico where the hurricane wrought havoc, the San Francisco based company sought to reassure its hosts, who provide the marketplaces giant with its listings, that the stimulus package on offer would see them right.
The stimulus package Chesky offered has been quoted at $250 million and came in an email to all Airbnb hosts. A special fund of $10 million has been set aside for ‘super-hosts’, the company’s most esteemed partners, with the aim of tiding over their mortgage payments while travel restrictions are in place.
The announcement comes after stinging criticism from hosts after the company proclaimed that all customers would get full refunds on stays cancelled because of COVID-19, despite property managers having their own cancellation terms.
In a communication to listings suppliers very similar to that attributed to Rightmove CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson last week, Chesky said "The last few weeks have been a bit of a wakeup call for us. We know we need to be closer to you,” adding that "We're going to build things in partnership with you. We really are partners — or at least I want us to be."