Airbnb eliminates growth marketing and experience design in coronavirus layoffs
Airbnb’s round of layoffs includes internal marketers from its luxury and hospitality divisions — two areas CEO Brian Chesky earmarked for divestment. But those working in growth marketing, experience design and creative have also been hit by layoffs.
The company was forced to cut around 25% of its workforce last week after coronavirus prevention measures hit rock bottom in the travel industry. Chesky’s approach to downsizing has been praised for the added protections it offered former employers.
Among these protections was Airbnb Talent Directory, a public recruitment list intended to help the 1,900 laid-off employees find a job. Now operational, the directory paints a picture of marketing features that have been removed to cut costs.
A total of 64 in-house marketers have been laid off by the company, alongside 22 in-house creatives. Nearly 80 design team members have been terminated, the majority of whom have contributed to the company’s experience design business through digital and physical projects. Five public relations officers also lost their jobs.
Cuts have been made around the world, from headquarters in San Francisco to offices like Montreal, Beijing and Singapore.
Many of the marketing layoffs included those who worked to create Airbnb Luxe, the company’s luxury offering resulting from its acquisition of Luxury Retreats and comprising exclusive villas, penthouses and private islands, plus perks such as drivers, childcare and a concierge.
Luxury was one of the industries Chesky said was “taking a break,” alongside his work in transportation, hotels and Airbnb studios, which hoped to produce original, luxury-themed films and shows. travel. The hospitality division layoffs affected a number of designers and creatives who joined Airbnb after its acquisition of HotelTonight in 2019.
In addition to executives working in departments designated “on hiatus,” Airbnb made cuts to brand marketing and media activation. Growth marketing has taken a considerable hit with 18 area managers laid off. Many of those executives had worked on Airbnb’s now-defunct sponsorship of the 2020 Olympics.
Chesky said he took a process-driven approach to the staff cuts.
“Our process started with creating a more focused business strategy based on a sustainable cost model,” he said. “We assessed how each team fit our new strategy, and determined the size and shape of each team going forward.
“We then conducted a comprehensive review of each team member and made decisions based on critical skills and how well those skills aligned with our future business needs. The result is that we will have to part with teammates that we love and appreciate. We have great people leaving Airbnb, and other companies will be lucky to have them.
Along with setting up the public talent pool, Airbnb partially transformed its recruiting team into an Alumni Placement Team to help laid-off people find jobs. It also offers four months of career services through RiseSmart, which specializes in career transition and job placement services.
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