People around the world are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine to send money directly to locals.
Tens of thousands of people all around the world have been booking Airbnbs in Ukraine, though they have no intention of going to the war-torn nation. The reason: It’s a fast way to get cash donations to Ukrainian locals.
The grassroots movement started on the platform last week. Yesterday Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted about the trend: “In 48 hours, 61,402 nights have been booked in Ukraine. That’s $1.9M going to hosts in need,” he wrote. “Such a cool idea from our community. Thank you.”
During the 48-hour period from March 2 to March 3, Airbnb users from different countries booked more than 61,000 nights, at a booking value topping nearly $2 million. More than half — 34,000 nights — were booked by Airbnb users in the United States. Over the same period, more than 8,000 nights were booked by users in the United Kingdom and nearly 3,000 nights were booked by Canadians, according to Airbnb.
A quick perusal on Airbnb reveals that many Ukraine listings are already booked solid into the summer, be it an entire home in the countryside outside of Kyiv ($10 a night), a studio apartment in Odessa’s Troitska Street ($15 a night) or newly renovated apartment in the center of Kyiv ($20).
A company spokesperson said that Airbnb is also focused on raising awareness about how people in countries neighboring Ukraine can sign up to provide temporary housing for Ukrainian refugees, noting that people do not need to be a current Airbnb host to sign up.
In a Twitter thread last Monday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote that “We need help to meet this goal. The greatest need we have is for more people who can offer their homes in nearby countries, including Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania. If you can host a refugee, go here: airbnb.org/get-involved.”
Within one day after the announcement, more than 25,000 people had visited the link for hosts, Airbnb told Forbes.
For more than a week, Airbnb officials been working with leaders in 14 European countries, including the closest Eastern European neighbors as well as France, the UK, Slovakia and Czech Republic, offering to place refugees in Airbnb properties.
The vacation rental company has invited individuals from other parts of the world to contribute to the Ukrainian refugee cause through the donate button on its website. But the act of actually booking Ukrainian rental properties is an idea that came from within the Airbnb community, according to the company.
Yesterday, Airbnb also announced it was suspending operations in Russia and Belarus, following other travel companies such as Expedia and Priceline.
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