Airbnb to lay off 25% of workforce

Airbnb is to cut 25 per cent of its workforce and scale back its effort to lure high-end travellers as it seeks to stem its coronavirus-related losses.

Brian Chesky, chief executive, told staff on Tuesday that 1,900 of the accommodation booking company’s 7,500 employees would be laid off as soon as next week.

The company is forecasting its revenue for 2020 to be less than half of what it took in last year, according to a letter sent to staff.

Airbnb said it would pause its efforts to integrate transportation options into its app, as well as the development of Airbnb Studios, an in-house unit to produce travel-related content. It also said it would scale back its investments in Hotels and Lux, its service aimed at high-end rentals.

“Travel in this new world will look different, and we need to evolve Airbnb accordingly,” Mr Chesky told employees. “People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable. But people will also yearn for something that feels like it’s been taken away from them — human connection.”

The company did not say how much it expected to save as a result of the cuts, which will affect Airbnb employees globally. The moves announced on Tuesday are in addition to an estimated $800m in savings from ceasing all of its marketing, a move the company confirmed last month.

Airbnb raised $2bn in funding last month, valuing the company at $18bn, a steep drop from its $31bn price at the time of its previous funding round in 2017.

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