Airbnb expects revenues to be slashed by more than half this year, CEO says


airbnb brian chesky

  • Because of the COVID-19 crisis, Airbnb is now on track for revenues of less than half what it earned in 2019, CEO Brian Chesky said in a letter to staff.
  • Chesky’s letter also announced layoffs affecting 1,900 employees, or 25% of Airbnb’s staff.
  • Airbnb reportedly earned more than $4.8 billion last year. 
  • Not only did COVID-19 ground worldwide travel in Q1 of 2020, but it’s unclear if and when travel will resume at normal levels, even once shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted, Chesky warned.
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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky offered employees some insight into just how bad things look for the company when he announced layoffs on Tuesday.

With one quarter of 2020 in the books, and the second quarter in the works, Chesky said Airbnb’s revenue is already forecast to be down by more than half over its 2019 performance.

Airbnb reportedly earned more than $4.8 billion in 2019, according to Reuters.

But, Chesky warns, it isn’t just shelter-in-place mandates that have affected the company — in some areas, those are also starting to be lifted. It’s that the rest of the year remains clouded in uncertainty, as the world reels from the economic impact of a pandemic and people remain cautious over continued spread and travel.

In a letter announcing the layoffs, Chesky wrote:

“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime, and as it began to unfold, global travel came to a standstill. Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019. In response, we raised $2 billion in capital and dramatically cut costs that touched nearly every corner of Airbnb.

“While these actions were necessary, it became clear that we would have to go further when we faced two hard truths:
1. We don’t know exactly when travel will return.
2. When travel does return, it will look different.”

Airbnb announced on Tuesday that it was cutting 25% of its staff, or 1,900 jobs. 

Are you an Airbnb insider with insight to share? Contact Julie Bort via email at or on encrypted chat app Signal at (970) 430-6112 (no PR inquiries, please). Open DMs on Twitter @Julie188.  

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