I Don’t See a Travel Recession Coming and We Won’t Freeze Hiring

Skift grip

Famous last words? Well, for the sake of the travel industry in these brutal times, we hope not!

Rafat Ali

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky in New York on Tuesday to launch the company’s new curated search and homepage/app, their biggest product update in a while. Besides the very optimistic message with this drastic change in its product and Chesky’s optimistic message throughout the past year on travel going through a post-pandemic revolution, he also doesn’t see a recession coming to travel.

I asked him about the tech layoffs happening all around him, the general fears of an upcoming recession and its effect on the travel industry which has just come out of the biggest blow it’s ever had to the aftermath of the pandemic. He thinks travel won’t weather the biggest recession, the summer will be a hit and he thinks travel has become such an ambitious thing, there’s so much pent-up demand that people really want to travel no matter what, even if their budgets are realigned. He said their new curated search makes it even more possible to cater to all price points and budgets.

I asked him Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber memo earlier this week to his team about the hiring freeze and whether he’s considering a hiring freeze for Airbnb anytime soon. He was vehement: no way. He said people don’t really realize how profitable Airbnb is with only about 5,000 employees for a company with billions in revenue — and $2.5 billion in free cash flow over the past 12 months. On the contrary, he has seen a huge surge in interest in working for the company since it announced its new permanent telecommuting policy earlier this month.

Famous last words? Well, for the sake of the travel industry in these brutal times, we hope not!