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An Airbnb host [Credit: Airbnb]

Airbnb to set up $250 million host support fund

US: After fielding criticism that its refund policy leaves hosts to burden too much of the cost, Airbnb is providing $250 million to support hosts.

The company hopes to offset losses caused by coronavirus cancellations to their host community across the globe.

The payment applies to those suffering from cancellations made between 14-31 March, the first half of its coronavirus penalty period. Airbnb is aiming to pay the host 25 per cent of their usual rates during this period.

According to CEO Brian Chesky, this will be available across the world, with the exception of in China.

In a letter to the host community, Chesky said: “While I believe we did the right thing in prioritising health and safety, I’m sorry that we communicated this decision to guests without consulting you—like partners should. We have heard from you and we know we could have been better partners.”

Airbnb announced yesterday a hiring and marketing freeze to save $800 million, helping them to weather the slow business period.

The company is also adding a $10 million fund for superhosts to garner support during this time. The money began $1 million in employee donations, with executives Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nate Blecharczyk providing the remainder personally.

Superhosts will be able to claim up to $5,000 during this period in the form of grants, meaning no need for repayment.

Airbnb also is attempting to secure support for hosts in the American government’s Covid-19 stimulus bill. The legislation has already opened up users of the platform to take advantage of small business grants, loans and particular unemployment benefits.

In addition, it will be adding donation features to its pages, allowing guests to donate to hosts directly, with more details of further solutions to be released in the coming weeks.

Chesky added: “Trust is the foundation of a partnership, and it is built over time. We know that we have some work to do in strengthening yours, but it’s our priority and we are committed to it.”

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