No-show support: People ghost booking Ukraine Airbnbs to help civilians
As the Ukrainian people bear the brunt of Russia’s attack on their country, supporters from all over the world are finding new ways to help them out — and now they’re using Airbnb to do so, and the company has joined the movement, too.
Instagram influencer Tommy Marcus aka @quentquarantino tweeted the following after sharing the idea about using Airbnb to help local Ukrainians. Within 24 hours, hundreds of people flocked to Airbnb to ghost-book accommodations accommodations, but donate real money.
The tweet shows responses from Ukrainians who received monetary help via ghost bookings on the short-term rental website. Many were overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude.
Yesterday I shared an idea to support Ukraine by booking rooms for rent on AirBNB. 24 hours later, 100’s of people are booking AirBnBs in Ukraine as a way to send immediate monetary assistance to people in hard-hit areas. The messages in response from the hosts are so moving pic.twitter.com/ai2Je8VKCt
— IG: @quentin.quarantino (@quentquarantino) March 3, 2022
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“I’m just crying right now! I’m shocked! I am incredibly grateful for your support!” wrote one Ukrainian host on Airbnb. “I have no words to say. Only THANK YOU.”
“I invite you to our free country after the war,” said another, thanking a charitable “guest” who won’t physically be staying with them.
An Airbnb spokesperson told Daily Hive that the company has waived all service fees for Ukraine bookings as part of the movement.
“First and foremost, this is incredible to see,” said Matt McNama from Airbnb’s communications department. “So many people, Canadians included, are looking for ways to help, and we’re so grateful to have a platform that can support people in need.”
1. Airbnb and https://t.co/enqjlQB0rH are working with our Hosts to house up to 100,000 refugees fleeing from Ukraine, for free
— Brian Chesky 🇺🇦 (@bchesky) February 28, 2022
This isn’t Airbnb’s first stint with refugee-focused philanthropy.
Last year, the company announced plans to help 20,000 Afghan refugees with temporary housing, free of cost. They met the goal on February 22 this year.
On Thursday, Chesky also announced that Airbnb was suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus as a response to the assault on Ukraine.
“This means that we will block calendars from accepting new bookings in both countries until further notice,” McNama told Daily Hive over email. “We will also restrict users in Belarus and Russia from making new reservations as guests.”
Within the first week of the Russian invasion, 1 million refugees fled Ukraine, the United Nations reports.