We are at the point in the dissolution of society where PR companies can only do harm to their big clients unless their advice is “give away all your money, you bloodsucking leeches.”
Any other strategy will end like this campaign launched by Airbnb, which dared to ask for MORE money from guests. Please…read the room. The email was screenshot a highlighted by Twitter user @olenskae, who captioned it, “Airbnb has lost its f—king head. Why would I donate to my host? I can’t even afford one house.”
In the email, Airbnb introduces a new feature on their site by discussing how Airbnb hosts have been impacted by COVID-19.
Much like the people they’re contacting, but they clearly didn’t think about that. “Today we’re introducing a new way to connect with your favorite hosts,” it continued. “Now you can create personalized kindness cards that make it easy to send a message of appreciation or encouragement, with the option to add a contribution.”
That’s right, they’re asking you to donate money to someone who has extra space to rent, while you’re struggling to pay for the space you already live in. On their website, they explain further:
“Eligible guests can send personalized kindness cards to hosts they’ve given four or five-star ratings, with the option to add a financial contribution. Airbnb will charge no fee, and 100% of your contribution goes directly to the host”
Gee, how generous. People are pretty pissed off at the idea of paying more money to yet another landlord, especially since in many cities, Airbnb hosts have hoarded livable spaces and driven up rent prices, creating housing shortages. If they’re suffering now, they can join the club:
Indy 100 reached out to Airbnb for a statement about the backlash and got this:
“We’ve heard from many guests that want to support hosts during this difficult time and our new e-cards allow them to share messages of support with hosts that may have welcomed them into their home. There is also the option for a voluntary financial contribution, with no charges from Airbnb, that goes directly to the hosts, more than half of whom say they rely on the additional income from hosting to afford their home.”
Companies: using the word “kindness” doesn’t actually make your horrible idea good.