IOC sponsor Airbnb bounces back, proclaiming “travel rebound is upon us”

International Olympic Committee (IOC) sponsor Airbnb is rebounding strongly after COVID-ravaged 2020 as travel resumes in parts of the world.

The short-term rental provider reported revenue of $ 1.34bn (£ 966m / € 1.14bn) for the three months to the end of June, or $ 1bn of more than the corresponding period of the previous year.

While costs also rose sharply to $ 1.39 billion (£ 1 billion / € 1.18 billion), the net loss of $ 68.2 million (£ 49.2 million) / 57.8 million euros) of the San Francisco-based company compares very favorably with the loss of 575.6 million dollars (415 million / 488.1 million euros) experienced a year earlier.

“The rebound of the journey is upon us,” proclaimed the group in a long letter to shareholders.

He added: “Guests from countries with high vaccination rates, including the United States and parts of Europe, are driving the resumption of travel…

“As the COVID-19 pandemic creates continued uncertainty for our future results, we expect to [third quarter 2021] revenue as our highest quarterly revenue ever. “

It seems unlikely that Tokyo 2020 will have benefited Airbnb in the way originally intended.

Tokyo 2020, which took place without spectators in the vast majority of venues, will not have presented Airbnb's services as the company had hoped © Getty Images
Tokyo 2020, which took place without spectators in the vast majority of venues, will not have presented Airbnb’s services as the company had hoped © Getty Images

When the company signed up as an IOC sponsor in 2019 – in the exclusive category of “Unique Accommodation Products and Unique Experience Services” – co-founder Joe Gebbia revealed that Airbnb hosts in Japan had won over $ 70million (£ 50.5million / € 59.4million) in the Rugby World Cup, adding: “And we have even higher expectations for the Olympics”.

Airbnb, however, noted in the new letter to shareholders that its operations in the Asia-Pacific region “remained depressed” compared to the equivalent three months of 2019, before the pandemic struck.

The sensitivities surrounding Beijing 2022, along with the lingering impact of COVID-19, mean this edition of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will also need to be managed with care.

However, the future hosts of the Games, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles, have traditionally been among the group’s largest markets for the rental of private accommodation in the world.

Airbnb’s current agreement with the CIO runs until 2028.

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