TripAdvisor Inc. is cutting a quarter of its workforce and closing offices in San Francisco and Boston in a bid to shrink costs as the coronavirus pandemic decimates travel.
The Needham, Massachusetts-based company is eliminating 600 positions in the U.S. and 300 people in other offices around the world, Chief Executive Officer Steve Kaufer said in a statement Tuesday. Most remaining employees will be forced to take a 20 per cent salary cut and be reduced to four-day work weeks for three months starting June 1.
“These are the most difficult cost-saving decisions I have ever had to make,” Kaufer wrote in an email to staff. “This is a tough day on many levels, and this pandemic has been nothing short of surreal.”
Kaufer previously said he would forgo his salary for 2020, joining a list of CEOs who have taken similar measures. He said the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was yet to be laid bare. However, he said, “I am confident that our business and the industry will recover.” Axios earlier reported that TripAdvisor planned to cut jobs, without elaborating.
The outbreak has gutted the travel sector as many countries have imposed lockdowns, bringing an end to business trips and vacation plans. Expedia Group Inc.’s credit rating has been downgraded, Airbnb Inc.’s highly anticipated public stock listing is in jeopardy, and Booking Holdings Inc.’s CEO, Glenn Fogel, has asked for government aid.
Globally, the travel and tourism sector could see as many as 100 million jobs lost to the virus, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. This figure has increased by more than 30 per cent in the past four weeks alone. “This is a staggering and deeply worrying change in such a short time,” Gloria Guevara, the council’s chief, said in a statement. “The whole cycle of tourism is being wiped out by the pandemic.”