SoftBank-backed travel start-up GetYourGuide lays off 100 staff

Johannes Reck, CEO of travel start-up GetYourGuide.

Jens Kalaene | picture alliance | Getty Images

LONDON— GetYourGuide, the Berlin-headquartered activity booking start-up has laid off close to 100 staff as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on the travel industry.

The company was backed by SoftBank in a $484 million funding round last year.

“We’re at an inflection point in our journey, and have made adjustments to our workforce,” said GetYourGuide spokesperson Will Gluckin in a statement shared with CNBC via email.

“As our view of the market’s path to recovery has come into focus, it’s become clear that it was necessary for us to adapt our company to the present reality. Those leaving our ranks have our deepest gratitude, and those staying on will lean into each other and push forward.”

The news was first reported by German start-up publication Grunderszene, which said around 90 people were laid off last Tuesday.

GetYourGuide declined to comment on its latest headcount but the company’s press page, which hasn’t been updated since the layoffs, says that it has “645+ staff.”

In order to help those who have been laid off to find new jobs, GetYourGuide has created an alumni directory that 67 people have signed up to so far. It includes their areas of expertise, along with where they’re able to work and their contact details.

The job cuts come after Google made online travel companies pay their advertising bills in the summer, despite revenues being hit significantly by lockdowns around the world.  

“The issue of payments collection applies to only a very small number of travel companies, and virtually all of our partners in the industry do not have overdue bills with us,” a Google spokesperson told CNBC at the time. “As a matter of fairness, we’re applying the same rules equally to all of our clients asking for relief, across both travel and the many other sectors that’ve been impacted by the pandemic.” 

The travel industry as a whole has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

TripAdvisor laid off around 900 people in April, and Airbnb laid off 1,900 staff (25% of its workforce) in May. The home-sharing platform also set up a talent directory to help people find new roles.

Digital firms aren’t the only ones in the travel sector struggling through the pandemic. Almost all of the world’s major airlines have slashed the size of their workforces as planes remain grounded, while some hotel groups have done the same.

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