As the global travel industry remains decimated with little hope of a fast turnaround, Airbnb is cutting jobs much like other big SF tech companies and startups have been doing in recent weeks.
CEO Brian Chesky announced the elimination of nearly 2,000 jobs at Airbnb in a blog note to employees Tuesday, writing, "This is my seventh time talking to you from my house. Each time we’ve talked, I’ve shared good news and bad news, but today I have to share some very sad news."
He continued, "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... While we know Airbnb’s business will fully recover, the changes it will undergo are not temporary or short-lived."
The Information first caught word of the layoffs Tuesday morning, and Chesky was expected to follow up the note with a live teleconference with employees at noon, Pacific Time.
The company has decided to tighten its business strategy, and with that Chesky says there will stop work on Transportation and Airbnb Studios, and scale back its investment in its Hotels and Lux teams.
Last week, Airbnb announced changes to its host guidelines during the pandemic, instituting new protocols around sanitation, and mandating buffer times between when a guest checks out and when anyone can enter a property to clean it. Last month, as CNBC reported, the company also cut base salaries for executives, instituted a hiring freeze, and halted all marketing.
All laid off employees, Chesky said, would receive 14 weeks severance plus extra weeks based on how many years they had been with the company. Also, the company is lifting its one-year "cliff" for equity shares, allowing everyone hired in the last year to leave with some vested shares.
CNBC reports that Airbnb's valuation, after new debt funding, is $18 billion, down from a high of $31 billion in 2017. And after netting $200 million in profit in 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that 2019 spending led to the company seeing a $322 million loss in the first three quarters of last year.
These 1,900 lost jobs at Airbnb join a brigade of layoff announcement across a swath of local companies. Last week saw nearly 1,000 jobs cut at Lyft, and the latest word today is that Uber will be slashing 4,000 jobs — down from a rumored 5,400, though no one knows yet whose jobs will be cut.
Also, Juul Labs is laying off around 900 employees — though its many problems far predate the pandemic — and the Mercury News reported that total Bay Area layoffs for the month of April topped 74,000.