The pandemic and its toll on the travel industry is forcing Tripadvisor to lay off about a quarter of the company’s workforce.
On Tuesday, the travel website announced the staffing cuts, which affect more than 900 employees, most of whom are based in the US and Canada.
“In most markets, we will also be asking for the majority of our remaining salaried employees to take both a temporary pay reduction and also to work a reduced schedule for the summer months,” wrote company CEO Steve Kaufer in the announcement.
Tripadvisor is best known as a review site for tourist attractions. It can also help you book hotels, flights and cruises. In return, the company earns revenue on ads and from commissions generated over bookings made over the website.
However, the company’s business has been drying up due to COVID-19, which is forcing millions of would-be tourists to avoid travel and stay at home. “I never fathomed the industry I love — travel — having so many hotels at near 100 percent vacancy, planes grounded, and restaurants empty,” Kaufer wrote.
So to stay financially afloat, the company has had to lay off staff and furlough many remaining employees. In addition, Tripadvisor is permanently shutting down offices in San Francisco and downtown Boston. “All of these actions, while difficult, will give Tripadvisor greater financial flexibility and enable us to better manage the business through this time of incredible uncertainty and instability,” Kaufer added.
Other tech companies hit hard by COVID-19 have also embarked on layoffs. Among them have been restaurant review site Yelp, ticketing website Eventbrite and deals provider Groupon. On Tuesday, the Information also reported that Uber is considering cutting 20 percent of its workforce due to plunging demand for ride-hailing services.
However, Tripadvisor is hopeful the travel and services industry will bounce back once the COVID-19 pandemic passes. The company also owns two other businesses in online restaurant reservation website TheFork and tour booking provider Viator. “There remains a significant global market opportunity for both TheFork and Viator in the days ahead as pent up demand for dining out and enjoying amazing experiences is finally released,” Kaufer added.