Airbnbs are sold out in the UKRAINE, here's why
Supporters all over the world are turning to digital tools to help Ukrainians amidst Russia's invasion, with Airbnb being the latest platform
As the world stands united with Ukraine, many social media users are getting savvy about ways to help the war-torn nation, and takedown Russia at the same time. The war is playing out online just as much as it is on the ground, leading many to dub it the first 'digital war', where platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and even Google Maps are proving key to battling Vladimir Putin's disinformation machine.
The country itself has proven to be adept in this task, using its Twitter account to mock Russia with memes. Social media has also proven vital to getting information out about the deadly effects of Russia's invasion, and acts of bravery by Ukrainians. In contrast, Russia has blacked out most major networks like Facebook, while press organizations like the BBC, CNN, CBS, and others have voluntarily left following Putin's crackdown.
However, it's not just Twitter and Facebook playing a key role in the conflict, but a plethora of other platforms as well. Take for example Airbnb. Shortly after the invasion, Airbnb announced it would house 100k refugees for free. But here's home some innovative users of the platform have gone further, in order to support Ukrainians.
Why Airbnb's are getting booked out
If you search for Airbnb in Ukraine right now, you'd probably find it hard to find a free location. It's not because people are swarming into the country, but because of a small innovative idea by Instagram user @Quentin.Quarantino. On March 4, he posted on Instagram, "Yesterday I shared an idea to support Ukraine by booking rooms for rent on AirBNB. 24 hours later, 100's of people are booking AirBnBs in Ukraine as a way to send immediate monetary assistance to people in hard-hit areas."
His novel idea immediately went viral on not just Instagram, but also Twitter and Facebook. Hundreds of Airbnb users are now booking rooms and apartments all over the country and paying for them so Ukrainians can still earn from the platform. To help, Airbnb has suspended taking a fee from each booking, so whatever costs people pay go entirely to the host. "We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community during this moment of crisis," the company's Communications Director told The New York Post.
Since the initiative began, around 61,000 nights have been booked in Ukraine, with around 31,000 of those coming from US residents. Grateful hosts have since thanked people for stepping up, with messages like, "You have no idea how valuable it is now" and "I really appreciate your heart" in responses on the platform. Others have sent personal messages of gratitude to supporters.
The initiative has raised around $2 million overall for Ukrainians and is now going viral online. The company has also suspended operations in Russia and Belarus and is now urging hosts in Europe to join its mission to house Ukrainian refugees. Anyone who wants to do so can head over to Airbnb's dedicated page to find out how to do so. Alternatively, you can also make a donation which Airbnb will use to support its housing program.