Travellers are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine, despite having no intention to check-in. They are doing so to support the beleaguered nation, which is currently under an unprovoked attack from Putin-led Russia.
Airbnb has already announced that it is funding housing for up to 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine, but users of the platform have come up with yet another way to help those who cannot escape due to the conflict (or who have chosen to remain).
People are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine, without actually planning on staying there.
HOW TO HELP – just booked a Kiev AirBnb for 1 week, simply as a means of getting money directly into the hands of Kiev residents. It's really cheap and can make a small difference right now. Please share this idea #Ukraine #Russia #StopWarInUkraine #StopPutinNOW #UkraineRussiaWar pic.twitter.com/7yQDLYRkph— DiMaggio.eth (@DimaggioEth) March 3, 2022
One Airbnb user called Mario wrote: “Hello Maria, my wife and I have booked your apartment for one week – but of course we won’t be visiting. This is just so you can receive some money. We wish we could do more to help you and the people of Kiev.”
Another Airbnb user called Hilary Mak took to Twitter to share her Airbnb booking. She wrote: “Booked [an] Airbnb in Kyiv [sic]. Just a way of helping out a young couple a little bit. They said: ‘we will never forget your kindness.’ I wept.”
CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, said that the idea has raised 1.9 million (going to hosts in need) in 48 hours alone. He also said more than 61,000 nights had been booked in Ukraine over March 2nd and March 3rd.
Airbnb has said it is waiving guest and host fees in Ukraine so that hosts get more of a cut of the dough than usual.
“We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community during this moment of crisis,” Airbnb spokesperson, Haven Thorn, said.
People are also being warned to be careful about which Airbnbs they book, and to make sure they are donating to Ukrainian people (top tip: check how old the Airbnb profile is, and read the reviews), as scammers could now be jumping on the bandwagon.