Airbnb adapts to the post-pandemic traveler and host
Travel picks up, so does Airbnb Inc.’s business After a sharp drop in revenue, job cuts and other cost-saving measures in 2020, the company saw a 5% increase in revenue over the course of of the first trimester.
Airbnb released a set of new features and policies in May to accommodate the post-pandemic traveler – one who travels within the country (as many borders remain closed), stays in each rental longer, and shows new interest in mid-sized cities such as Dallas or San Diego. New features include the ability to show available dates outside of the original search parameters and show different types of accommodation (e.g. treehouses).
The company, which faces competition from other travel portals, is also working to attract new hosts with a number of changes such as more support agents, a more streamlined process for listing a property and artificial intelligence tools that recommend better ways to describe properties. .
The Wall Street Journal spoke to Dave Stephenson, Chief Financial Officer of Airbnb, about the company’s plans and challenges. Edited excerpts follow.
WSJ: People are eager to travel again as vaccination rates rise and restrictions ease. What do your reservations tell you about where people are going?