Crisis Management Business Masterclass

It’s not a great time to be in the travel industry. The number of flights went from around 190k daily to 60k (less than a third, and many of those running at 1/3 or 1/2 of capacity). Airlines, Hotels, Taxis, Museums, Bars, and so many other businesses came to a standstill.

AirBnB is no exception: On May 5th 2020, Brian Chesky, the company’s CEO, sent a letter to all employees saying that revenue in 2020 is going to be less than half of what it was in 2019, and that they were firing 25% of their staff. Also, they had their IPO filing ready to go by 31st of March 2020.

Many companies had to fire a great chunk of their staff, and – many of you might disagree here – it is undoubtedly the right thing to do when a crisis of this magnitude hits so hard, so quick. However, the way you do it tells so much about what the company values. If you haven’t, you should definitely read the letter.

In a recent podcast with Kara Swisher, Brian Chesky has explained how they dealt with all of this, raised $2B in debt, cancelled many new business units and focused solely on their core business. He goes into minute detail about how they communicated to their board, customers, hosts, and many other stakeholders.

If you’re into business strategy, crisis management is one of the core parts of it. AirBnB will definitely be a case study on acting decisively, and yet be conscious of the impact of your decisions.

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