Airbnb Mexico Limits Platform to Healthcare Professionals OnlyBy Cas Biekmann | Wed, 04/15/2020 - 16:35
Airbnb, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces offering lodging and tourist-focused homestays is feeling the COVID-19 impact. With the Mexican government banning non-essential travel, the company decided to limit availability of renting living quarters to medical professionals.
On Monday, April 13, Airbnb notified its users in Mexico that they could no longer book residences until April 30. This restriction only counts for regular users. For medical professionals, Airbnb made an exception. Not only are they welcome to book residences, the company guaranteed them that properties would follow strict sanitation requirements. These include facemasks and hand gel, for instance. In addition, none of the usual added costs would be charged for the first 100,000 bookings made worldwide by medical staff. “We are going through an unprecedented health crisis. At the moment it is preponderant that we all join efforts so that Mexico can get out of this emergency as soon as possible,” said Ángel Terral, Director of Airbnb for Mexico and the Latin American region.
Airbnb has not been the most fortunate startup recently, as the Financial Times reported its struggles with a delayed IPO. The spread of COVID-19 only adds further complications to the startup’s mix. As a response, it secured commitments of US$1 billion for a syndicated term loan from unspecified institutional investors. The commitments are considered an emergency cash bonus for the startup. The impact of closing all but a few lodgings in Mexico is uncertain, as Airbnb does not publish figures on how many listings per country it has online at any given moment.