» Brian Chesky’s incredibly transparent interviewLandon Howell | A blog about startup marketing

Brian Chesky’s incredibly transparent interview
Apr 23, 2020

Brian Chesky, Airbnb Co-Founder & CEO, gave an interview with Masters of Scale who has launched the new podcast Rapid Response in the wake of COVID-19. The conversation was an incredibly transparent breakdown of what took place over the span of 3 weeks from mid-March to early-April, 2020. You can read the transcript here.

“One of the most important things for me was to be optimistic. I had to carry this balance of being honest about how bad it was — and it was really bad — with this spirit of optimism, because as a leader what most people look to me to understand, if things were going to be okay. And if I was completely freaked out, they would be completely freaked out.”

  • The first week of March, Airbnb was preparing to go public.
  • They were also planning a major launch, scheduled for June 4. (Unclear if those two are related.)
  • Airbnb had more than $1B in reservations that guests wanted to cancel. Until the job is completed, that money is still considered the guests’.
  • 50% of Airbnb hosts depend on the service to pay their rent or mortgage.
  • Airbnb allocated $250M of its own money to hosts to cover a portion of the cancellation fees.
  • Airbnb voluntarily employees donated over $1M worth of travel coupons/credit to hosts. (Travel credits are a perk given to employees for use on the service.) Airbnb leadership added another $9M to that number, then formed a Relief Fund for “super hosts.”
  • Airbnb was able to mobilize hosts who implored Congresspeople to include hosts in the CARES Act.
  • They created Frontline Stays for essential personnel, which now has more than 100K locations. Chesky put in $2M of his own money.
  • Raised $1B from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners.
  • “The emotions you have are contagious, and if I was optimistic and said ‘We’re going to get through this,’ and said, ‘You know what, we’re going to be better because of this. In every crisis is an opportunity to make you stronger. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Everything bad that ever happened to me, I learned from.’ Well, that’s what this is going to be.”
  • Airbnb was cash flow-positive in 2016 through 2019.
  • Airbnb hosts have now earned $100 billion dollars.
  • Airbnb hosts have hosted 750 million guest arrivals.
  • Airbnb now has 4 million hosts.
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    filed under: travel


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