Some well-intentioned people trying to help individuals in Ukraine are discovering their efforts are not necessarily accomplishing what they had hoped.
People with no intention of staying have made an effort to rent rooms, apartments, and houses in Ukraine through Airbnb. They simply are encouraging renters in the country to benefit from the listing fees.
But because Airbnb doesn’t easily identify who the host is on its booking site, some individuals are actually renting from corporations or agencies that have numerous listings and may not even be headquartered in the war-torn nation.
Airbnb has made a huge effort to help during the Ukraine conflict, offering free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing the country.
The company is working with leaders in Poland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, and other European nations, urging them to accept the refugees and setting up free housing in those countries.
“We know that hosts and guests on Airbnb around the world are eager to stand up and assist this massive effort to help those fleeing Ukraine,” the company said.
The company is pleased with the user-based effort to rent from Ukrainians.
“In 48 hours, 61,406 nights have been booked in Ukraine. That’s $1.9M going to hosts in need,” CEO Brian Chesky wrote on his Twitter account last week. “Such a cool idea from our community.”
But how much of that $1.9 million going to individuals is unknown. There may be clues when using the site to figure this out.
When booking on Airbnb, most listings give a single name or individual as host of the unit. A little deep dive, however, can offer clues if it is indeed an individual or a group.
If you click on the host’s photo, you’ll get more information about them, including how many properties they manage. Those with multiple units are most likely a company, which could be a warning that your well-intentioned efforts are not actually helping.
Airbnb did not respond to inquiries from Skift about the situation and why the site isn’t more transparent about who the actual host is.
Another important note is that Airbnb hosts do not get paid until 24 hours after the guest “checks in”, therefore those wanting to donate should look for the nearest available dates.
“We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community during this moment of crisis,” a spokesperson told Skift. “Airbnb is temporarily waiving guest and host fees on bookings in Ukraine at this time.”
The spokesperson also noted it has a special website set up for anyone interested in its efforts to help Ukraine.
Airbnb is just one of numerous companies and organizations working to help with the situation in Ukraine. Check out this list for others who are making a difference.