An Airbnb user and a tweet

Needpix @RossMcCaff/Twitter (Fair Use) Mikael Thalen

Airbnb asks users to donate money to hosts, gets roasted

'Why would I donate to my host? I can't even afford one house.'

Jul 14, 2020, 6:58 pm

Tech

Mikael Thalen 

Mikael Thalen

Airbnb is receiving criticism online after encouraging customers to donate money to the their hosts.

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An Airbnb user shared an email to Twitter Tuesday, in which the company unveiled a new feature designed to provide “encouragement” to struggling hosts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Like all of us, hosts on Airbnb are impacted by COVID-19, and many of them are unable to welcome guests,” the email begins. “Now more than ever, it’s important to reach out and support one another—even in small ways.”

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The company goes on to introduce what it calls “kindness cards,” intended to “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,” the email reads.

The Twitter user who shared the email disagreed.

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“Airbnb has lost its fucking head,” @olenskae said. “Why would I donate to my host? I can’t even afford one house.”

Other Twitter users piled on, mocking the company’s effort.

“I’m not sure I will be contributing to the mortgage for anyone’s second house at this time,” @BriannaWu wrote.

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Many sarcastically asked who would think of the landlords during these trying times.

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In a statement to Business Insider, Airbnb confirmed the new feature and stressed that providing monetary support to hosts is entirely voluntary.

“In the spirit of rekindling connections, we developed a new feature that allows guests to send virtual cards with messages of support and encouragement to hosts who provided excellent hospitality,” a spokesperson said. “If they wish, guests have the option to add a voluntary financial contribution.”

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The company promised back in March to put $250 million towards reimbursing hosts for cancelations as a result of the coronavirus.

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*First Published: Jul 14, 2020, 6:58 pm