- Airbnb and women-first dating app Bumble are working together on a campaign to provide virtual first dates to people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Airbnb introduced a series of online experiences approved by Bumble that couples can share while in quarantine, per an announcement.
- The shareable online experiences include wine tastings, cooking lessons, virtual tours, escape rooms and music appreciation classes, among others, per Airbnb. Couples can book private sessions or participate in the experiences with other people if they're more comfortable in a group setting.
- As part of the joint effort, Bumble is sponsoring a contest that gives 100 users of the app a chance to win an online experience for a virtual first date. Existing Bumble users and people who open a new account are eligible to enter the contest by May 28, per the contest rules.
Airbnb and Bumble's joint effort on a campaign to promote online experiences that people can share in a virtual first date is another sign of how companies are responding to the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic. Amid restrictions on travel and stay-at-home orders in many regions, Airbnb and Bumble are urging people to try virtual dating while using a shared online experience as a conversation starter. With millions of people using video calling services like Zoom to meet while in isolation, Airbnb and Bumble can bring their customers together until the pandemic subsides.
For Bumble, the collaboration with Airbnb follows other efforts to promote virtual first dates. The startup, which gives women the ability to initiate contact with prospective dates, last month introduced a series of "virtual dating tools" that let people communicate without meeting in person. Bumble users can add a "virtual date badge" to their user profiles to indicate they're available for a video chat, and meet with people anywhere in the U.S. instead of its typical 100-mile radius. Every time a person used the badge, Bumble donated $1 to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Fund.
For Airbnb, the campaign aims to broaden the reach of its online experiences that it started last month to engage customers who are unable to travel during the pandemic. The health crisis has negatively affected many companies in the hospitality industry, including disrupters like Airbnb that let people rent properties for short-term stays. The company this month cut 1,900 jobs, or 25% of its workforce, and estimated that its revenue will be less than half of what it booked in 2019, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said in a memo to employees.
The measure followed a halt to its marketing to save $800 million and offset losses from the pandemic. The crisis has marked a stunning turn of events for a company that had announced plans to go public last September, reporting it made more than $1 billion in revenue for Q2 2019. The company's online experiences may partly offset revenue declines from other parts of its business, which will remain challenged until the pandemic subsides.