Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky said on Twitter the popular vacation rental app will be sheltering 20,000 Afghan refugees for no cost following the U.S.’s departure from the country and the Taliban’s takeover.
Starting today, Airbnb will begin housing 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free.
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) August 24, 2021
Chesky tweeted that the company would be working with the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and partners on the ground to house them.
He called the displacement and resettlement of the Afghan refugees in the U.S. and elsewhere “one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time,” and said the company felt “a responsibility to step up.”
The company will be working with hosts on its platform to cover the costs of accommodation of the refugees. Airbnb has reached out to numerous NGOs and partner organizations “to support the most pressing needs,” Chesky said in the tweet.
Also, Chesky said he hoped the company’s actions would inspire others to step up and likewise help the refugees.
The COVID-19 delta variant has negatively impacted Airbnb’s business for some months, which had just started to recover from the pandemic’s 2020 surge and had seen more bookings. In fact, the online booking platform had beaten Wall Street estimates, noting in its shareholder letter for the second quarter that the nights and experiences booked had surged 197 percent year on year to 83.1 million.
Airbnb said that number was just 1 percent below how activity was before the pandemic.
But the delta variant could complicate things, and the company shareholder letter noted that despite the rebound in activity and travel, there are new restrictions because of the variant that made it likely that the nights and experiences booked in Q3 to come down from how the numbers were in the second quarter.
In June, Airbnb teamed with Realpage, a real estate software firm, to launch Migo, an apartment homesharing service. Migo will simplify the homesharing process and offer two tiers of service, self-service and full-service, the companies said.
The idea is to prevent interferences with neighbors and also to allow for the new freedom for residents to live, work and travel on their own schedules. With Migo, residents can do things like add their listing, provide remote entry for guests, schedule room cleanings, communicate with Migo support and access homesharing data and activity insights.