The travel rebound is being very, very good to Airbnb, which just raked in more money than in any other quarter, even though the average booking price is down $12 a day.
A trip to Fisherman’s Wharf will show you that tourism is picking back up in San Francisco, a trend that will hopefully skyrocket when international traveler restrictions are lifted here in the U.S. this Monday, November 8. That’s great for the hotels, bartenders, and gift shops, but it is apparently even better for Airbnb. In their quarterly earnings call Thursday, Airbnb reported record-high revenue, and record quarterly income of $834 million.
"Something bigger than a travel rebound is happening. The world is undergoing a revolution of how we live and work," co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said on the call. "For the first time ever, people can travel any time, anywhere, for any length, and live on Airbnb. This trend towards more flexibility will only accelerate."
OK of course he’s going going to say people can “live on Airbnb,” every founder/CEO-type thinks people want to metaverse their stupid brand into the entirety of our everyday existence. But he may have a point that companies are going to be more friendly to remote work, even when the pandemic hopefully subsides more, so Airbnb could be well-positioned to book more stays from people who are working while traveling, still need reliable wi-fi, and don't like traditional hotels and motels.
Except Airbnb doesn’t call them “stays” anymore, they call them “experiences.” And they did notch 80 million of them over the third quarter of 2021, which is great compared to the dismal 2020, but actually down 7% compared to 2019. Still, the company is probably in a good spot considering the pent-up travel demand, though brace yourself if you live next to a terrible Airbnb house.
CNBC has a very thorough account of Airbnb’s quarterly numbers, and they do find an interesting quirk: the average price per night is down. "Average daily rates for the company dropped to $149 from roughly $161 in the last quarter,” CNBC points out.
Image: @stephen2002 via Unsplash