Airbnb has copped backlash from its users after suggesting guests donate money to hosts impacted by COVID-19.
Twitter user @olenskae posted a screenshot of what appears to be an email from the home-share giant asking guests to send personalised “kindness cards” to their past hosts with “the option to add a contribution”.
“Airbnb has lost its f*cking head. Why would I donate to my host? I can’t even afford one house,” @olenskae said in response to the message.
The app has taken a significant financial hit since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with billions of dollars in revenue vanishing, according to Business Insider.
In March, Wall Street Journal reported that Airbnb would spend US$250 million (AU$357.8 million) to reimburse hosts for the cancellations that resulted from the global crisis.
A spokesperson from Airbnb told Travel Weekly the company has heard from many guests who were interested in supporting past hosts.
“In the spirit of rekindling connections, we developed a new feature that allows travellers to send virtual cards with messages of support and encouragement to hosts who provided excellent hospitality,” the spokesperson said.
“If they wish, travellers have the option to add a voluntary financial contribution.”
Analytics from AirDNA show about one-third of Airbnb properties are owned by “megahosts” who manage at least 25 properties.
“I’m not sure I will be contributing to the mortgage for anyone’s second house at this time,” said Twitter user @BriannaWu in response to @olenskae’s tweet.
I’m not sure I will be contributing to the mortgage for anyone’s second house at this time. https://t.co/qfhIN8qR6o
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) July 14, 2020
“let me give a kindness card to the people who destroyed rental rates in our city…” @cellikeseggs responded.
“Big fan of when huge corporations use heart string tugging lingo like “a new way to connect” to just say “give us some money”,” said @PeterHanes.
“Air B&B hosts have the luxury of owning a 2nd property they rent for profit. And you want ME to donate to YOU?! I’m struggling to pay my own mortgage, let alone help you pay the mortgage on your 2nd home lmao,” said @Roxinc14.
“If you donate money to a multi-billion dollar app you’re a rube,” @Evan_Hadfield quipped.
If you donate money to a multi-billion dollar app you're a rube https://t.co/7J2XCAysDz
— Evan Hadfield (@Evan_Hadfield) July 14, 2020