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People Are Booking Airbnbs in Ukraine Right Now for All the Right Reasons

by Olivia Harden Mar 4, 2022

It’s hard to think of a reason to book an Airbnb in a country that’s in the middle of a war. But that’s exactly what some Airbnb users are doing in an effort to put money straight into Ukrainian citizens’ pockets.

To be clear, the people making Airbnb bookings in Ukraine have no intention of traveling to a war zone and staying in the homes. The effort is solely an innovative way to get money directly to the hosts. It’s estimated that hundreds of Ukraine Airbnbs have been booked so far, according to ITV.

“Hello Maria, my wife and I have just booked your apartment for one week, but of course we will not be visiting. This is just so you can receive some money,” one couple wrote to an Airbnb host who booked a stay for March 3-10 in Kyiv.

Following requests, the company has waived all of its fees on Ukrainian Airbnb properties, which can range anywhere from three to 15 percent, to ensure the entire amount of the booking goes to the Airbnb host. This move comes as Airbnb has suspended all of its properties in Russia.

It’s important to note that some Airbnbs are listed by agencies instead of individuals. Travel expert Simon Calder warned people to be careful, as the good deed could be abused by scammers.

“Lots of talk about booking random Airbnbs in Ukraine and paying for them with no intention of staying, to transfer cash to the country,” he posted on Twitter. “Warning: were I a Russian scammer, I would be setting up fake Airbnbs in Kiev and Odessa as fast as I could to cash in on those noble intentions.”

Airbnb has taken more direct steps to help people impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine by offering free temporary housing to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in different European countries. This initiative uses Airbnb hosts as a driving force who are willing to open up their properties.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said there’s been an “overwhelming response” to its free housing initiative, with more than 260,000 people so far visiting the dedicated page to sign up to be a host or donate.

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