Hosts in war-torn parts of Ukraine are seeing an increase in online bookings from guests who don’t intend to attend — but want to show their support.
A social media campaign that kicked off on March 2 has sparked thousands of bookings across the country, even in that period Invasion of Russian forces Indiscriminately bombing civilian neighborhoods in cities such as Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mariupol and Sumy.
The goal is to get money to Ukrainians on the ground as quickly as possible, said Rob Meehan, an Airbnb host with properties in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, who has been involved in the grassroots effort.
Mr. Meehan logged onto Airbnb on Friday morning and typed in the word “Ukraine”. When an apartment appeared in the capital, Kyiv, he booked it for the first two available nights, for a total of $229.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve been feeling the pressure of this. All the sadness that’s going on there,” he said Friday.
As host, Mr. Meehan said he knows that owners will be paid within one day of the arrival date. Airbnb said payment is released 24 hours after the check-in time specified by the property, regardless of whether or not the guest shows up.
Send a message to the host to say that his reservation was an act of solidarity and that he did not intend to attend. She replied moments later, thanking him for his support.
“Ukraine’s fighting spirit cannot be stopped,” the host said in a message shared by Mr. Meehan with the Wall Street Journal. “You will only die with the last Ukrainian.”
Mihan is one of thousands of people around the world who have booked an Airbnb stay as a way to support Ukrainian citizens after social media messages began spreading the idea online earlier this week.
The campaign got a boost when Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky retweeted it One of the original messages. Airbnb is set up separately her own initiative to provide Temporary housing for up to 100,000 refugees who have fled Ukraine Through Airbnb.org, the not-for-profit arm of the home-sharing company. Airbnb has it too Suspended all operations in Russia and Belarus.
By the end of Thursday, more than 60,000 nights had been booked in Ukraine, generating $1.9 million, according to figures released by Airbnb on Friday. US guests booked 34,000 nights. UK guests received 8,000 nights, and Canadians booked nearly 3,000 nights.
The company said it has waived all of its service fees for bookings made in Ukraine in response to the campaign’s “inspiring generosity”.
For UK travel agent Graham Bishop Macrides, the fee waiver was a big factor in his decision to book a reservation in Ukraine.
He said he reached out to Airbnb on
To ensure that all money from the reservation will go to the host. When the company confirmed it would do so, Mr. McCrides began spreading the word, activating his travel industry network.
“I don’t feel like we’re doing enough,” Macarides said of the West’s response to the crisis.
NATO members have repeatedly said that they You will not be directly involved in the conflict themselves. But the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have Severe penalties were imposed Against Russia and send it armsAnd the Money And other forms of support for Ukraine.
“At least that is something we can do to show the Ukrainians that they are not alone, we are there with them,” Mr. Macarides said.
The first reservation he made was with a family that hosted him during a visit to Kyiv in 2019.
“They wrote to me and asked me to pray for them, that they really needed it, and they said thank you very much,” said Mr. Macarides. “They asked me to ask people to book in the city of Kharkiv, because it is really horrific what is happening there.”
Russia I have imposed a blockade To Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. Air raids destroyed buildings and forced thousands of residents to take shelter at the train station, awaiting evacuation.
Other major cities are under constant attack. Kyiv residents Endure daily attempts by Russian forces to gain the upper hand. Every day since February 24 – beginning Russian President Russian President Vladimir PutinA war to overthrow the democratically elected government of Ukraine and Ending its alliance with the West– They were stopped by the Ukrainian special forces.
Picturesque residents of Lviv, The city of the blue towers and Austro-Hungarian architecture, ready to become the reserve capital if the government, led by President Volodymyr Zelensky, was forced out of Kyiv.
Lviv also appeared as a supply center for Weapons and materials transported by the West Ukraine. This raised some fears that it would become the next major target of the Russian military.
“I just feel so helpless,” said Rob Bogan, who runs an insurance agency in Hudson, New York, about 100 miles north of New York City.
On Friday, he booked a two-day stay on Airbnb in Lviv for $85 a night. Mr Bujan said he scanned the listings to check past reviews to ensure he was serving to a trusted host and not a scammer.
He told the hosts that he would not show up and that if someone else needed the room, to give it to them. They wrote: “Hundreds of thousands of Americans and Europeans are lending a helping hand to Ukraine. We will never forget.”
Mr. Bojan said The courage of Mr. Zelensky It was part of what prompted him to find a way to introduce it to the Ukrainians.
“He turned around and brought the world together in a way no other president could,” Mr. Bogan said. “I think it’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable what the people of Ukraine are doing against Russia.”
Write to Ginger Adams Otis at [email protected]
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