News & Opinion | May 27, 2020 6:30 am

Airbnb Hosts Are Selling off Their Properties Amid Pandemic Losses

As you might imagine, Airbnb is not exactly thriving right now

airbnb app
Not many people are looking to book an Airbnb these days.
Carl Court/Getty Images

It’s safe to say few people who are not Jeff Bezos have benefitted financially in recent pandemic-stricken months. Among the many people who are not Jeff Bezos are Airbnb hosts, whose earnings have taken such a steep hit that many are reportedly planning to sell off their properties.

With coronavirus lockdowns bringing travel to a halt, many Airbnbs have stood empty for months, forcing owners to shut down their businesses, CNN reported.

Amy Offield, who had been a full-time Airbnb host for two years, told CNN she and her husband decided to sell the property they’d been renting out for five years after losing almost all of their income in three months. Other hosts have had to make similar decisions as they face losing thousands in canceled bookings while still paying maintenance costs and making mortgage payments on their empty properties.

The struggles Airbnb hosts are facing reflect a broader crisis at the heart of the once-thriving company’s business model. Instead of making its Wall Street debut this year as reportedly planned, the pandemic-ravaged company has laid off about 25 percent of its workforce in addition to the hosts who are selling off their properties and fleeing the business.

Airbnb maintains that it has attempted to help struggling hosts in the hope that they will still be around to welcome post-pandemic travelers.

“We have been working to support our community through multiple efforts, including committing $250 million to help support hosts who were affected by COVID-19-related guest cancellations and $17 million to our Super Host Relief Fund,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement. “Our internal data points to guests’ desire to travel and we are preparing to help hosts welcome them as soon as possible.”

Subscribe here for our free daily newsletter.