Shortly after India began its nationwide lockdown on 25 March, a Bengaluru-based Airbnb host received a booking request on the homestay platform. A Kenyan couple needed accommodation for 15 days. The request was rejected. The issue wasn’t their nationality, the host insists. Instead, it was the fear that anybody could be a carrier of the novel coronavirus. The pandemic has already killed nearly 600 people in India and over 170,000 worldwide.
Stay of execution
A Covid compass for Airbnb in India
Covid could be what derails the homestay pioneer in India once and for all. Or it could force the company to finally fix its domestic strategy
While Covid-19 has thrown India’s travel sector out of whack, Airbnb could be hurt more than most
Paranoia about the contagious virus is likely to put both guests and hosts off the homestay concept
With the future uncertain, hosts are leaving the platform and looking at long-term rentals instead
Airbnb is also pushing long-term rentals, but needs to do more to connect with the domestic traveller to survive in India