CEO Letter to the Community: Coronavirus Impacts to Peerspace Operations

To our guests, hosts, shareholders, employees, alumni and friends in the Peerspace community:

The last two weeks have been Peerspace’s most challenging ever. With an increased call for social distancing, Peerspace has seen bookings slow and cancellations increase dramatically. During this time, we have been working non-stop to address a deluge of customer service requests, while trying to find fair solutions that balance host and guest needs under unprecedented circumstances. We also made substantial changes to our organization that would have been unthinkable even a month ago.

FOR OUR HOSTS & GUESTS
Over the last two weeks, we have been slow to communicate – both to your inbound requests and proactively to our community. My apologies. We have been doing the best we can. Thank you for sticking with us.

As the pandemic unfolded, we realized our Cancellation policy didn’t provide thorough enough guidance for such an unusual situation. It was important to us to treat every booking made prior to mid-March with an event start date through the end of April as an excused cancellation. For the first time ever, we can now offer Peerspace Credit to guests who are unable to rebook their event – this helps guests and ensures future bookings for our host community. When those options haven’t been sufficient, we have worked with the guest on a refund.

THE PEERSPACE TEAM
I’m sad to say that I had to lay off a majority of our employees this week. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my career.

Peerspace has always been a special place to work. It has always attracted people who believe in the mission of “bringing people together” and love that they get to work on such a cool, meaningful service. Along the way, the company filled up with smart, positive, high-integrity people who shared a common passion for what we do and adoration for each other.

As I delivered the news on Monday, the reactions of shock and confusion turned quickly to understanding and sadness from both those departing and those staying. This reaction made the layoff all the harder as it reminded us all just how good we’ve had it together.

In addition to layoffs, our remaining staff accepted substantial pay cuts that has enabled us to keep more employees on payroll.

So why did we do it? In short, we don’t know how long this downturn and the related recovery will last. We could not bank on government assistance or new sources of funds. We chose to take extreme measures now to ensure Peerspace’s survival for the long-term – to fulfill its mission of bringing people together and continue its role in connecting guests with great hosts.

SO WHAT’S NEXT?
We get back to work. We get through our support queue. We find new ways to support our host community, who we know are also hurting right now. Most importantly – we work our asses off to rebuild the company so we can hire our team back.

Thank you to our entire Peerspace community – past and present – for your support during this difficult period. We will get through this together.

Eric Shoup
CEO Peerspace

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Thank you Eric for what you plan for the company. Sorry to hear you had to let go some of the team. They are wonderful and I hope you bring them back as they helped keeping the Peerspace Culture intact.

Be safe.

Thank you for updating us. As Peerspace hosts, we are part of your family. It’s sad to hear that you’ve had to make the difficult choice to layoff staff. I’ve been forced to do the same myself, and I know how devastating that decision was. Looking forward to when we’re on the other side of this. Until then, let’s stay connected. The Peerspace community is strong and will endure.

Thank you for sharing this information. I think we all suspected this was coming but need the communication. The Peerspace platform was fantastic! In one year it had grown to on average 5 bookings a week from big to small. It was substantial income. My main business of 30 years, Supported Living pays once a month so the weekly deposits from Peerspace was really helpful. The income helped us with our overhead and new programs and services for adults who have developmental challenges and live in the community in their own apts. I know this can be a an excellent platform again !

Meanwhile I have to say that if there is any way you can find to refund rather than hold renters funds, I think it’s the right thing to do. I have two bookings that have rightfully cancelled because by law we cannot hold their event and none of us has any idea when we can. One had booked a series of classes March-April. The other is May 9 but she cancelled 30 days prior and should be able to get a full refund. She reported seeing she will get credit. People need their money in their pockets… Both were brand new to Peerspace. I don’t agree that holding funds will guarantee bookings in the future. It is causing bad reviews online. If those held funds are just not available due to how they were managed, I think the renters deserved a straight forward communication as well.
When we are able to gather again I will do everything I can to help build the reputation again. I will offer my best price and perks to get customers back.

Stay well my friends! Love
Gina

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Eric, I believe that Peerspace will survive this crazy time and rise up to a stronger presence in the location booking industry.
Please keep the faith and continue to communicate with hosts and their clients.
We are grateful to have you as our location partner.
Cindy & David Bertolino
North Hollywood

Hi Eric, so sorry to hear the news of the layoffs. Thank you for update as well, we are all in this together! I know greater things are in store for the Peerspace community, this is a minor setback for a greater comeback.

Best,

Trinity & William Elias

Hi Eric, I know many hosts, like myself depend on our venues, studios and locations for a significant portion of our incomes. The Coronavirus has forced I suspect the majority to close indefinitely and I’m worried the new stimulus package won’t include us. Let’s get a dialogue going about steps we can take to ensure that we’re not left behind when the relief money gets sent out. As I understand it, small businesses and sole proprietors will only be receiving offers of low interest rate loans. I don’t think the expanded unemployment insurance part of the package will apply to us, but I’m not sure. I think it’s important that we advocate for ourselves and your leadership in that effort would serve us both, because otherwise many of us simply won’t be able to re-open when the ban is lifted. Please let me know your thoughts and thank for you all you’ve done so far. Let’s be proactive, Peerspace community so we can save our investments and livelihoods. Stay safe and thanks! -Peter Michelena, Melrose Lightspace

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Thank you for the update, I was thinking about how hard Peerspace was hit in such an unforeseeable event. Your platform is a game changer and it will rebuild. Hang in there and thank you for doing all you can in this difficult time.

Thank you all for the messages of support! We will get through this together.

@Peter_M1 As is becomes clearer what the government relief package will look like, I am hoping there are good options for our hosts. I am watching this closely as I am sure you are. I am open to creative ideas on how we can support you through this period.

@Gina_W Where Peerspace credits have been unsatisfactory to guests, our Customer Experience team has been working with them on a refund.

thanks

Eric

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Thanks for addressing my and I suspect a lot of my fellow hosts concerns around the stimulus package. Do you think there might be a way to bring us all together so we could speak with one voice to the powers that be? A designated community category, where hosts can share ideas and network could be a good start and maybe Peerspace could organize a virtual town hall type of thing? Perhaps a petition of some sort could be another step toward organizing a group response. Please let me know your thoughts and thanks again for your leadership during these un-certain times.

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I am also sorry to hear about the lay-offs and hoping that Peerspace will build up again quickly after we are through this. Peerspace has had the best customer support for me as a host that I have every experienced! What an incredible team!!

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Thanks for the sincere communication. Wishing you and the rest of the Peerspace family the best in these challenging times.
MG