Several Travel Gossip members have joined other people around the world booking Airbnbs in Ukraine to send money direct to locals.
Agent Graham Bishop, owner of Go Cruise & Travel, booked one night in a local’s house in the Ukraine capital Kyiv, checking in today, so they’ll receive the money from Airbnb immediately.
He said he was given the idea by a tour operator who posted on her Facebook page that she’ d done the same.
People from all around the world have also been posting their Airbnb bookings in Ukraine on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.
“I think it’s a really good idea in terms of getting money sent directly to people in Ukraine,” Graham told Travel Gossip.
“I’ve donated the Red Cross appeal too, but this way people get the money much faster, within 48 hours of the booking.”
When he posted his booking on Travel Gossip’s Facebook page, other agents said they had or would do the same.
Graham paid £28 for his room and messaged the owner to say he obviously wouldn’t be coming but explained that he wanted them to have the money. “Thank you for your help to my country,” they replied, adding that they would pass the money to ‘the volunteers’.
Graham also sent a tweet to Airbnb’s founders asking them to waive fees during the conflict so Ukrainians get 100% of all money paid. Airbnb has since replied to say that it is waiving fees for guests and hosts in Ukraine.
Graham said he was careful to book a room in a private house, rather than a corporate-owned apartment, so that the money he paid would go to an individual rather than a business.
“I could clearly identify that this was a room in someone’s home,” he said. “After two years of a pandemic, and now this war, it’s a terrible state of affairs, watching it unfold is awful, I just wanted to do something to help, even if it’s just to give people money for a train ticket if they want to leave or to pay for something they need.”
Other agents have also been telling us of their efforts to help Ukrainians, including sending medical suppliers via Amazon, dropping off warm clothes for refugees at collection points, and donating cuddly toys for children who’ve fled the war.
One agent even donated all the mini bottles of shampoo and shower gel she’d collected from hotels during her travels!