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On March 28, Airbnb’s Head of Experiences Catherine Powell sent the following message to the Airbnb community outlining her response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting the community, and how the team is offering support.
I hope you are well and prioritizing the safety of you and your family as we all navigate what it means to be isolated but connected.
I spent much of the past two weeks attending our listening sessions. I want to thank those of you who took part. I found them all moving, challenging, and inspiring. I heard your frustrations and your difficulties, and I was also struck by your resilience and optimism for the future. What impressed me the most was your deep understanding and respect for our brand.
One of the things I heard was how important communication is for you, especially during a time of such uncertainty. That’s why I’d like to share some updates about Experiences with you today. I recorded a video so that you can hear from me directly, but I wanted to share a written note as well. Please note that things continue to change day by day, but as decisions are made we want to be as transparent as we can be and share the information as soon as possible.
1. Experiences will now be paused until May 28, 2020.
Unfortunately, the global situation remains extremely challenging and we do not think the time is right to reopen. All guests who booked during this time period will receive a cancellation notice next week. We’re also sending a 25 USD coupon to all those guests, as well as to the guests who had their bookings cancelled from the first announcement. We hope this encourages them to book experiences in the future.
2. We will waive our fees for 2 months when we reopen.
We’re taking a market by market approach to reopening, consulting with health experts and local governments for guidance. When it’s time to reactivate your market, we’ll waive our fees for hosts who are currently active so you can hit the ground running. Fees will be waived for the first 2 months up to 1000 USD per host. You’ll receive the details when we get closer to opening back up in your area.
3. We’re launching online experiences in early April.
This idea came up in so many of the listening sessions, and our team is hard at work to make this a reality. We’re focused on how to translate the magic of an in-person experience to digital and want to make sure we get the details just right. We’re working with Zoom, so you can have access to a platform free of charge, plus creating guidelines so you can create, host and price the best online experience. Right now we’re in the testing phase with a handful of hosts, and we’ll share details on how you can participate very soon.
4. We’re working in regions around the world to get hosts emergency relief.
As US-based hosts may have heard, we successfully advocated for the host community, as well as small businesses and workers, to be included in the federal emergency financial relief package. Thanks to the 100K+ Airbnb hosts from all 50 states who contacted members of Congress to make this a reality. You can learn more about the final bill and our advocacy efforts here. More global information and resources to come soon.
The past few weeks have been unbelievably difficult, but our heartfelt commitment to your well-being guides all of our efforts. A huge thank you again to the hundreds of hosts who’ve reached out with big ideas and constant support. Your ingenuity and enthusiasm have been a guiding light.
Expect to hear from us again soon. And in the meantime, be well and stay safe.
With warmth and appreciation,
Head of Experiences