People from around the world are rushing to book empty Airbnb rentals in Ukraine, even though they have no intention of staying at the home rentals. It’s become a fast way to send money to Ukrainian hosts, whose cities have been destroyed in the Russian invasion.
People are using Twitter and social media networks to spread the idea, urging others to book Airbnbs to send immediate monetary assistance to those in hard-hit areas of Ukraine. Hosts are responding with grateful messages across social media.
On March 2 and March 3, guests worldwide booked more than 61,000 nights in Ukraine, CNN reports. More than half of those nights were booked by Americans.
The media has issued a warning that scammers reportedly are setting up fake Airbnb accounts in Ukraine to take advantage of the world’s efforts to donate to hosts. Experts urge those booking to examine the listing carefully, read reviews, and ensure the host has been operating for some time.
Airbnb has jumped in to promote the use of its platform to support Ukraine. It also has waived guest and host fees on bookings so rental fees go directly to the Ukrainian hosts. “We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity in our community during this moment of crisis,” Airbnb said in a statement to Fortune.
Also, as the invasion prompts more than a million Ukrainians to flee, Airbnb announced it is offering up to 100,000 homes to house refugees. That could help as many as 4 million people, according to the United Nations, as reported by Fortune. Airbnb called the response effort from hosts so far “overwhelming” in the number of people who have been willing to donate or become a host for refugees.