International home rental company, Airbnb, is facing criticism after asking it’s customers to willingly donate money to previous home hosts who have lost income due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Airbnb sent an email to previous travellers and holidaymakers who used the platform detailing how customers could help out home owners suffering financially from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the mail, the company wrote: ‘Like all of us, hosts on Airbnb are impacted by COVID-19, and many of them are unable to welcome guests. Now more than ever, it’s important to reach out and support one another—even in small ways. Today, we’re introducing a new way to connect with your favorite hosts.
‘Now you can create personalized kindness cards that make it easy to send a message of appreciation or encouragement, with the option to add a contribution. We hope these cards will make hosts smile, and bring a little joy your way.’
Some customers of Airbnb took to twitter to blast the company, asking why the company was asking people who can’t afford houses of their own to help out landlords paying off their mortgages like they are charities.
They also accused Airbnb landlords of ‘jacking up prices for the already struggling locals looking for housing options’.
The email was shared by journalist Rosaleen Fenton.
She blasted the company, tweeting;
“Airbnb has lost its f****** head. Why would I donate to my host? I can’t even afford one house.”
Other twitter users criticized the company. A user, Samuel Pollen tweeted: “I deleted this email without reading it but it’s completely wild that AirBnB are suggesting we *donate to landlords*”
Another user known as Declan Cashin said: Is there a “Send A Burning Bag of S***” option?”
UK Labour councillor Caragh Skipper tweeted: “Daily reminder that there is a housing crisis and @Airbnb are out here acting like landlords are charities.”
An Airbnb spokesperson responding to the criticism said: ‘We’ve heard from many guests that want to support hosts during this difficult time and our new e-cards allow them to share messages of support with hosts that may have welcomed them into their home.
‘There is also the option for a voluntary financial contribution, with no charges from Airbnb, that goes directly to the hosts, more than half of whom say they rely on the additional income from hosting to afford their home.’