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Airbnb Bets on Mexico Despite Critical Developments

By MBN Staff | Fri, 06/26/2020 - 13:08

Airbnb faces an uncertain future due to the losses it has experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said CEO Brian Chesky. "It took us 12 years to build Airbnb and we lost almost everything in four to six weeks," he said in an interview for CNBC.

Chesky spoke about the changes the tourism sector will face once the pandemic has ended. “Tourism as we knew it is over. I do not want to say that the journey is over but rather that the model we knew has died and will not return,” he said. As for the company's IPO, Chesky said it is now uncertain. The CEO said that due to COVID-19, people "do not want to get on a plane, travel for business or cross borders. We are going to get in our cars, drive a few kilometers to a small community and stay in a house.” 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb had 6 million accommodation listings worldwide, more than 100,000 of them located in Mexico. The entities with the highest activity on the platform were Mexico City, Jalisco, Quintana Roo and Baja California, although 70 percent of the properties advertised were in places that are not typically touristic. According to the annual reports of the California-based company, during 2018, an economic spill of US$2.7 billion was generated in Mexico.

Given the new measures imposed due to the contingency, the accommodation platform has implemented a cleaning and sanitization protocol among hosts in Mexico, endorsed by the Mexican Foundation for Health and UNAM’s School of Medicine. "We do not expect it to be used for two weeks but hope that it will become the new standard for cleanliness and a habit among property owners," said Airbnb Communication Director for Latin America, Carlos Olivos in an interview with Forbes Mexico.

The protocol, presented in mid-June, will be a commitment from hosts, who will be evaluated to obtain a badge that will be visible to potential clients. In case of not being able to perform sanitation measures, the platform may block the accommodation for 72 hours. Although this is an optional measure, Airbnb expects it to be adopted by hosts, whose commitment will be key to the company’s recovery.

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