Airbnb freezes hiring and suspends marketing due to coronavirus

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Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

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Airbnb will institute a hiring freeze and suspend its marketing as the company braces adjusts to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. 

The company’s founders will also be taking on no salary and its executives will take a 50% salary reduction for the next six months. Additionally, employees have been told that it is unlikely that they will get their 2020 bonus. The hiring freeze will impact all roles with an exception of a very small number of critical positions, according to the person, who asked to remain anonymous discussing internal matters. 

Airbnb’s hiring freeze and marketing halt were previously reported by The Information on Friday.

It’s a dramatic turn of events for Airbnb, which was poised to be the hottest tech IPO (or direct listing) of the year until the COVID-19 crisis struck the U.S. last month. The company had lined up bankers to lead the offering, which would test whether Airbnb could live up to its $31 billion private market valuation from 2017. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Airbnb lost $322 million over the first nine months of last year, after reporting a $200 million profit in 2018, as it ramped up spending.

Now the company faces a travel and tourism industry that has shut down across the globe and is refunding guests for cancelations. The U.S. Travel Association expects the industry to lose 4.6 million jobs this year.

Around the world, there are more than 585,040 cases of the coronavirus with at least 26,819 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., there are at least 97,028 cases of the coronavirus with at least 1,475 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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