The company states that the guidance enabled users to "share messages of support with hosts"
The company states that the guidance enabled users to "share messages of support with hosts"

Airbnb slammed for encouraging customers to donate cash to hosts

Customers questioned why the billion pound firm was asking users to treat ‘landlords like charities’

Joanna Whitehead
Wednesday 15 July 2020 11:39
Comments

Airbnb has been heavily criticised for asking customers if they would like to donate money to hosts who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which has more than £2bn in reserves, sent an email to previous users of the site that read: “Like all of us, hosts on Airbnb are impacted by COVID-19, and many of them are unable to welcome guests. Now more than ever, it’s important to reach out and support one another – even in small ways. Today, we’re introducing a new way to connect with your favourite hosts.

“Now you can create personalised kindness cards that make it easy to send a message of appreciation or encouragement, with the option to add a contribution. We hope these cards will make hosts smile, and bring a little joy your way.”

Social media users have questioned why the holiday home hosting platform would ask customers to take responsibility for hosts’ lost income at a time when many people are struggling with job losses themselves as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Labour councillor Caragh Skipper wrote on Twitter: “Daily reminder that there is a housing crisis and @Airbnb are out here acting like landlords are charities.”

Another user wrote: “Airbnb has lost its f**king head. Why would I donate to my host? I can’t even afford one house.”

Hosts have also complained that the company introduced cancellation policies at the outset of the Covid-19 outbreak that cost them even more money.

In March, the company agreed to spend $250m (£200m) to reimburse hosts for cancellation costs resulting from the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Airbnb told The Independent: “We’ve heard from many guests that want to support hosts during this difficult time and our new e-cards allow them to share messages of support with hosts that may have welcomed them into their home.

“There is also the option for a voluntary financial contribution, with no charges from Airbnb, that goes directly to the hosts, more than half of whom say they rely on the additional income from hosting to afford their home.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in