How Airbnb Bookings Are Helping the People of Ukraine

Airbnb Bookings

During times of war, apart from the obvious dangers, hardship also comes in the form of a sudden inability to generate any sort of income. 

Because government funds and donations are directed to relief efforts, businesses in war zones can face seemingly impossible obstacles to normal operations.   

Luckily, kind people across the world have managed to find a way to show their support and send immediate financial assistance to help the people of Ukraine who are under siege by the Russian Army: One example of this type of generosity in the news right now is the booking of random listings on Airbnb - a famous business model launched in 2008 that provides affordable lodging to people around the world. (Above all, this model has since been adapted by several successful businesses, including ride-sharing providers such as Uber and coworking spaces such as The Farm Soho.)   

Airbnb hosts in Ukraine have been flooded with bookings from people who have no plans to visit. 

Photo taken from Canva

“The bookings mean a lot,” said Ekaterina Martiusheva, host of several Airbnbs in Ukraine. "It's not just the money, it's the support, personal connection, and encouragement. We get messages from people all over the world sending their prayers and calling us brave.” 

This is a very positive sign in helping the people of Ukraine. As a result, the generous donations have allowed Martiusheva to support people beyond her staff and maintenance crew. She's been able to provide aid to neighbors in the form of food and transportation.

“It’s very scary in Kyiv,” said Olga Zviryanskaya, host of an Airbnb in the city. “Every word of support is valuable, not necessarily money." 

Fortunately, Zviryanskaya and her three children have been able to pack their belongings and drive out to the region in Cherkasy.

The recent initiative has resulted in an outpouring of appreciation from different hosts. Having that support has given them newfound strength and motivation. 

For donors, it helps them feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Elizabeth Mac, a resident in Surrey, England, broke down in tears after receiving a response from her host. 

“We’re just normal people living our lives with freedom, and we sometimes take that for granted,” said Mac. “It would be great if more people could join in and donate. It’s a little gesture that can vastly benefit the citizens in Ukraine.”

In addition, another donor, Sarah Brown, a resident in Salt Lake City and fellow host to several Airbnbs in the United States herself, said that the donations don’t only help Ukrainians buy necessities, but shows solidarity in making sure people don’t feel left by the wayside. 

Airbnb is waiving fees and providing temporary housing for refugees

The providers of online vacation rentals have also started their own campaign to support the Ukrainians; offering 100,000 free, temporary housing resources to refugees fleeing Ukraine. Similarly, they're also waiving any guest and host fees for bookings in Ukraine. 

On March 2 and 3 alone, Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Cheski reported a total of more than 61,000 booked nights and counting in Ukraine, generating a gross value of $2 million.

Airbnb has encouraged hosts in neighboring countries to offer their properties to refugees. There are a lot of stranded individuals looking for shelter after fleeing the war-torn nation. 

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