Airbnb users book Ukrainian homes to donate to citizens

  • People all over the world are looking for ways to help Ukrainians.
  • Social media users are booking Airbnbs in Ukraine with no intention of visiting to send money to hosts.
  • Airbnb has decided to waive host and guest fees for these bookings in Ukraine.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, people around the world sought ways to help the citizens of the beleaguered country.

Several organizations have set up charities and donation centers to help Ukrainians, but some are worried about where their money is going and how much Ukrainians will actually receive.

But the power of social media has revealed a safe and effective way to get money directly to Ukrainians. Instead of donating to charities or nonprofits, some people have booked stays on Airbnb in Ukrainian cities like Kyiv and Kherson with no intention of visiting — just to send money directly to Ukrainian hosts.

Today, the trend is gaining momentum on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, catching the attention of big social media presences like Quentin Quarantino Instagram meme page and Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb.

“I see the politics being played out and I understand why NATO can’t come in, but I feel very sad and heartbroken for the people…who are being slaughtered,” Yan Asmann told Insider. associate professor at the Mayo Clinic who booked three nights in kyiv. “It’s very difficult to watch day to day.”

Insider spoke with seven people who booked between one night and two weeks in Ukrainian cities. It’s not the traditional route for GoFundMe or nonprofit donations, but nearly everyone we spoke to agreed that these Airbnb reservations are the fastest and safest way to get money. directly in the hands of the Ukrainians.

To support these relief acts, Airbnb has decided to waive guest and host fees for in-country bookings, emphasizing that it will not profit from these charitable bookings, an Airbnb spokesperson told Insider.

“I did it to show my support,” Tiffany Marie, an Airbnb user who booked a two-week stay in Kharkiv, told Insider. “I wanted to donate, but I hadn’t found anything really interesting because I don’t always know where my money is going, so I wanted to choose a specific person.”

For people like Alessandra – an Italian postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego – sending money directly to Ukrainians is a personal matter. (Alessandra asked to keep her last name anonymous.)

“I am European and from the first day of the invasion I felt very sad and upset for Ukraine,” Alessandra, who volunteered in Albania and Kosovo after the war, told Insider. “It could have happened to anyone in Europe, and we don’t know if this invasion will end there. I want to do everything I can to help these people.”

And it’s not just Airbnb customers. On Monday, the company and its charity arm announced that it would provide free short-term housing to 100,000 refugees leaving Ukraine. “We appreciate the generosity of our community at this time of crisis,” the Airbnb spokesperson told Insider on Thursday, noting that has seen an “overwhelming response.”

Jayde Wise, an English user living in France, said she was inspired by a social media post and was surprised by the host’s candid response after booking two nights in Ukraine.

Airbnb screenshot of a user booking a stay in Kyiv.

A screenshot of Airbnb user Jayde Wise’s conversation with her Airbnb host.

Courtesy of Jayde Wise

Renee Koval-Ayadi, an American educator living in Qatar, and Patty Hartmann, a German national living in the United States, also received grateful responses from their hosts.

“Being able to give to someone immediately, I just know they could use the funds with how devastated they are out there with everything that’s going on,” Hartmann said.

This isn’t the first time Airbnb has announced moves amid political calamity. In August 2021, the company announced a similar measure to provide short and long-term stays for 20,000 Afghan refugees.

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