Influencer calls for direct donations to Ukraine via Airbnb bookings

An Instagram influencer has called on people to donate to Ukrainians by booking Airbnb rentals in the country, saying it will directly benefit Ukrainians.

Tommy Marcus, 26, from New York, runs the Quentin Quarantino social media page, which was established in 2020.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Marcus said the idea originally came from one of his social media followers.

He added that subscribers have now received messages of gratitude from Ukrainians who have received bookings through Airbnb.

He told PA: ‘I definitely didn’t plan for this to go so viral…so many of my followers have been telling me ‘I got this message (of gratitude from a Ukrainian) and immediately started to to cry “.

“And that might not be something that happens when you donate $20 (£15) to charity. That doesn’t mean that money doesn’t go as far when you donate it to charity. charity, but there’s definitely this emotional element that’s unique about it, which I think is probably a really big determining factor and why it was so viral.

He warned, however, that people should check the Airbnb listing before booking to make sure they know who will be getting the money.

“The main thing that was shared when this started going viral was to make sure it was an individual person, rather than a company that might own a bunch of apartments across the city … also seeing that they have a story, they have critics.

Mr. Marcus also said that donations through Airbnb should not replace the support efforts of existing charities.

“It’s just another really cool thing you can do. It’s going to make someone really happy and hopefully have an impact there. But at the end of the day, you should also give money to charities, wherever you see fit.

He is no stranger to fundraising. In 2021, his campaign raised $7m (£5.3m) to help at-risk Afghans escape Taliban takeover by paying for flights.

In September 2021, The Washington Post published a report saying more than $3m (£2.5m) had been spent on canceled flights.

Mr Marcus said the “controversies” around the Afghanistan campaign were “difficult for me, emotionally”, but said he wanted to continue using his platform to help people.

An Airbnb spokesperson told PA: “We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community at this time of crisis. Airbnb is temporarily waiving guest and host fees on bookings in Ukraine at this time.

“We also encourage anyone interested in getting involved with Airbnb to visit and support Airbnb’s initiative to provide housing for refugees fleeing Ukraine, by becoming a host or making a donation. To date, we’ve seen an overwhelming response to this effort, with over 357,000 visitors to this page.

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