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Covid-19: Tripadvisor lays off 900 employees worldwide amid travel slump

SINGAPORE — Online travel company Tripadvisor will be reducing its workforce by more than 900 employees as it attempts to cut costs amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

These cost-cutting measures come as part of Tripadvisor's third phase in a plan to "navigate near-term challenges and position our business for recovery", said its CEO Steve Kaufer.

These cost-cutting measures come as part of Tripadvisor's third phase in a plan to "navigate near-term challenges and position our business for recovery", said its CEO Steve Kaufer.

SINGAPORE — Online travel company Tripadvisor will be reducing its workforce by more than 900 employees as it attempts to cut costs amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

In a message to employees posted on the company's website, Tripadvisor chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder Steve Kaufer said more than 600 employees will be laid off in the United States and Canada.

Another 300 staff outside the US will undergo a “consultation process to determine their future employment status".

The affected staff make up about one quarter of Tripadvisor's total workforce, Mr Kaufer said.

He added that an unspecified number of employees from Tripadvisor and its tour booking company Viator will also be put on furlough.

Most of the company's remaining salaried employees will be asked to move to a four-day work week and take a 20 per cent pay cut for three months starting in June in order to "save close to a hundred jobs". Tripadvisor will also be closing its offices in San Francisco and downtown Boston permanently.

The global travel industry has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday (April 29), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported a massive 52.9 per cent drop in world air traffic in March compared with the same period last year, thanks to travel restrictions.

Mr Kaufer said Tripadvisor’s cost-cutting measures are part of the third phase in its plan to "navigate near-term challenges and position our business for recovery".

The first phase involved cutting all non-essential discretionary spending. This included ending all business travel, non-essential vendor relationships, pausing nearly all hiring and significantly reducing office perks and benefits. As CEO, Mr Kaufer also declined a salary for the remainder of 2020.

As the pandemic worsened, the company enacted the second phase of its plan, furloughing hundreds of employees in Europe with the help of government subsidy programmes. This was to allow the company to “preserve needed operating capital”.

"We had hoped cutting discretionary expenses and furloughs would be enough, but as the pandemic worsened, it became clear that the company needed to take additional cost saving measures," Mr Kaufer said. This led to the current third phase of its plan.

Mr Kaufer said Tripadvisor's cost-cutting measures were "deliberately and painfully deep to make sure we will survive a prolonged and protracted downturn" and added that he did not expect a need for another "broad, global layoff" even if the company’s recovery from the pandemic takes longer than expected.

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Tripadvisor retrenchment workforce travel

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