The travel industry has been, by most accounts, decimated by the global Coronavirus shutdown. Hotels and vacation rentals have become recent memories, and hopes for a distant future.
Not too long ago, Airbnb ($AIRBNB) completely disrupted the concept of hotels and hospitality with a model that wasn't just infinitely scalable, but also infinitely social-media friendly. Instead of booking hotels, people were staying in Instagram-worthy downtown flats and Facebook-boasting lakehouses.
That's all changed. Airbnb has laid off 25% of its workforce, and the company is saying that 2020 revenues will be less than half of that in 2019. It's also unclear when the company will see recovery. People are sure to be less apt to book trips — Airbnb rentals included — in the coming months, even years.
In just two short months, the company has lost 105,102 followers across the two platforms after years of rapid growth.
With this drop in consumer interest has come massive erosion to Airbnb's social media equity and activity. For a product that is so visual — selfies from living rooms around the world — Airbnb's recent losses on Facebook and Instagram will be tough to reverse. In just two short months, the company has lost 105,102 followers across the two platforms after years of rapid growth.
For the first time in its Facebook life, Airbnb is losing followers on the social network. By mid-March, the company had amassed 16,234,447 followers on the world's largest social network. As of this week, that number has dropped to 16,198,422, a loss of 36,025 followers. That's more than 36,000 people manually clicking the "Unlike" button on Facebook in two months, or 590 people a day.
Airbnb isn't just losing followers on Facebook. Users are mentioning the brand less than ever. In February, Airbnb was mentioned as much as 50,000 times every 24 hours. These days, though, it's seeing just over 3,000 mentions per day, or a roughly 95% decrease in brand chatter.
On Instagram, the selfie platform of choice, Airbnb followers on March 17 hit an all-time high of 4,826,377. That number is now 4,757,300. In two short months, Airbnb has lost 69,077 Instagram followers, or 1,132 followers per day.
This massive drop on Instagram also signals users manually un-following the Airbnb account, signaling active disinterest from users. While the raw follower account for Airbnb has decreased a seemingly small 1.4% in the past two months, those 69,077 users will not be around to see when Airbnb selfies begin to appear again.
Selfie and social media ops have been massive engagement and revenue drivers for Airbnb. On Instagram, the #airbnb hashtag has nearly 5 million posts including gorgeous shots of properties once available on the marketplace. Some Airbnb properties flout their selfie potential as much as location or amenities.
Airbnb isn't taking the pandemic sitting down, however. It recently launched an "Online Experiences" section that allows hosts and other entrepreneurs to offer up everything from family baking courses to tango concerts. Although not as selfie-worthy, they do appear to be getting some engagement. A "Sangria and Secrets with Drag Queens" experience out of Portugal has an average rating of 4.96 out of 5 across 1,075 reviews while a "Follow a Plague Doctor Through Prague" experience out of Prague has a 4.95 across 438 reviews.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.