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Travel Industry Hiring Has Come to a Halt

Nobody is going anywhere, and these businesses have reached a brick wall.

Last week, Indeed released data showing which industries have had the greatest decrease in hiring since COVID-19 started. We took a look at how FAANG hiring had changed alongside this greater trend, and today we’ll be looking at the most-affected industry: Travel. There has been a 50.4% decrease in “Hospitality & Tourism” jobs since January, according to Indeed. But “Hospitality & Tourism” might not give the full scope of the stakeholders involved. It’s not just hotels and tour guides that are struggling, but entire industries that depend on travel for business. We’re taking a look at some of the biggest startups in the Travel, Hospitality and Tourism spaces to see how they’ve been faring compared to the overall trend.


OYO - Job Listings

OYO’s job listings crashed by a staggering 99% as early as January. As an international business, they felt COVID earlier than competitors. OYO grew rapidly throughout 2019 without being profitable thanks to investment from Softbank, and was beginning to secure a foothold in the US after mainly focusing on Chinese and Indian markets. But that growth left them ill-equipped for a force majeure. Overnight between July 3 and July 4, OYO shut down over 53% of its hotels worldwide.

It’s one thing to be a hotel business during a pandemic. It’s another to be the largest hotel chain in the world during a pandemic. It’s ANOTHER to be the largest hotel chain in the world and be unprofitable during a pandemic. OYO is the latest chapter in the ever-dramatic saga of the Softbank portfolio, and its model for massive, venture-backed but non-profitable growth couldn’t survive the whims of a sudden, global pandemic. That is, if it could survive anything long enough. OYO has announced several rounds of layoffs, and more may be on the way.


Away - Job Listings

Away’s job listings have crashed 75%, and layoffs have plagued the company. Not too long ago, Away was seen as a strong investment – but even that can’t stand up to a pandemic. PR troubles at Away have certainly not helped on the hiring front, and as a result Away is fighting both to undo a reputation as a toxic workplace as well as to stay afloat during a time when their product is irrelevant to most customers.

Away is a good example of a business that probably doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of “Hospitality & Tourism” that is actually affected greatly by reduced travel. And travel hasn’t just been reduced – it’s virtually been halted entirely. A Medium post earlier this year from the company revealed that sales have decreased by over 90%.

Airbnb ($AIRBNB)

Airbnb - Job Listings

Airbnb’s job listings are down 74% since January and as low as 98% in June, again even worse than Indeed’s trend. On May 5, Airbnb’s CEO announced they were laying off 25% of the company. Airbnb most resembles OYO in its business model, except that Airbnb’s “locations” are just normal people’s homes. Going to a hotel is one thing, but going to a stranger’s home during a pandemic is another entirely. COVID-19 has plagued America long enough that travel’s decline may end up being more than a brief dip. The industry might see an incredibly slow rebound over the next year or more, and companies like Airbnb, OYO and Away may have to decrease their size significantly – or forever.

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.

Originally Posted on July 28, 2020 – Travel Industry Hiring Has Come to a Halt

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