Airbnb claims ‘resilience’ as bookings start to rebound

A collapse in tourism in cities was partly offset at the end of last year by more people traveling to rural destinations, said Airbnb, which boasted of its “resilience” in its early profits as a public company.

In the last three months of 2020, “more guests have stayed in Sicily than in Florence and Venice combined, and more in Devon than in Oxford and Cambridge combined,” said Brian Chesky, Managing Director of the rental of houses, in a letter to shareholders.

As a result, he said fourth-quarter revenue was $ 859 million, well above analysts’ expectations of $ 747 million, but down 22% from the same quarter in 2019, before the pandemic of coronavirus does not strike.

Airbnb, listed on the public markets last December, also saw its revenues decline less sharply than its competitors Expedia and Booking.com, which experienced respective declines of 67% and 63% over the same period.

The company’s stock price, which had fallen 9% ahead of earnings, rallied more than 2.5% in trading before market on Friday.

Analysts pointed to a tendency for people to stay longer, in more remote locations, as a boon to Airbnb, with users booking stays in their home countries and taking up space for work from home.

Nonetheless, Airbnb posted a hefty loss for the quarter, of $ 3.9 billion, mostly due to long-awaited market debut costs.

Stock-based compensation was responsible for $ 2.9 billion of the loss, and Airbnb recorded more than $ 800 million in adjustments to the warrants it issued to its creditors, while it was seeking emergency fundraising at the onset of the pandemic, and which have since risen in value along with its stock price.

Adjusting those expenses – and removing income tax, depreciation and amortization – Airbnb said its adjusted EBITDA loss for the quarter was $ 25 million. Analysts expected a loss of $ 122 million. Airbnb’s net losses for the full year were $ 4.6 billion.

Airbnb said its revenue for all of 2020 was only down 30%, year over year, despite the impact of the pandemic. He said that at the depths of the pandemic he expected a drop of at least 50%.

But he declined to predict how 2021 would unfold, citing the uncertainty surrounding the rollout of the vaccination.

“It is too early to predict the overall trends in the travel industry recovery and their impact on our business,” he wrote in the file. “We have been encouraged by our continued resilience and recovery, and are optimistic about the next travel rebound.”

In its letter to shareholders, Airbnb said it will invest in recruiting more hosts to the platform when demand picks up. During the pandemic, the company apologized to angry hosts after forcing them to fully reimburse Covid-19-related cancellations.

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