Airbnb, hit hard by the global coronavirus epidemic, is laying off about 1,900 workers, or 25% of its staff, company CEO Brian Chesky told employees in an internal letter on Tuesday.
The company is expecting the pandemic to reshape the travel industry and its business, Chesky said in the letter. The cuts are meant to help refocus Airbnb’s business on what it sees as its primary opportunities after the crisis, he said.
“Today, I must confirm that we are reducing the size of the Airbnb workforce,” Chesky said in the letter. “For a company like us whose mission is centered around belonging, this is incredibly difficult to confront, and it will be even harder for those who have to leave Airbnb.”
The cuts come despite the fact that Airbnb has raised $2 billion in the last month through debt financing. The company is forecasting that its revenue will be less than half the $4.8 billion it pulled in last year.
The company plans to notify affected workers in the US and Canada later on Tuesday, Chesky said. Workers in other countries will be notified according to local laws and standards, he said. The effective date of the layoffs in the US and Canada is next Monday.
The company is planning on returning its focus to home sharing — people who offer accommodations in the rooms, apartments, and houses that they own or manage. As a result, Chesky said, it’s planning on pushing the pause button on its efforts in transportation and in Airbnb Studios, its effort to produce streaming travel videos. The company also is planning to cut back on investments in offering hotel rooms and in Lux, it’s luxury accommodations effort, he said.
Airbnb plans to pay laid off US workers 14 weeks of base pay plus an additional week for each year or partial year of service to the company. Non-US employees will get at least 14 weeks of pay.
The company is also planning on providing 12 months worth of health care coverage to US workers. Outside the US, workers will have their health insurance costs paid through the end of this year.
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