Pleasure travel is back with a vengeance, and Airbnb is reaping the rewards.
The company on Tuesday reported a record 102 million night and “experiences” bookings for the first quarter, surpassing the 100 million mark for the first time despite the war in Ukraine, rising interest rates and inflation plaguing consumers.
Hosts charged higher prices, pushing Airbnb’s revenue to $1.5 billion, beating Wall Street analysts’ estimate of $1.45 billion. The total represented a 70 percent annual increase and an 80 percent gain from the first quarter of 2019, before the pandemic temporarily dried up business for the short-term rental marketplace.
The San Francisco-headquartered company’s first-quarter net loss narrowed to $19 million from $1.2 billion last year as it logged a record $17.2 billion in gross booking value — the cumulative value of its nights and experiences bookings.
Net loss per share came to 3 cents, beating analysts’ estimate of 29 cents.
The beat, along with a better expected outlook for the year, drove Airbnb’s stock price up more than 7 percent in early trading Wednesday. Shares of the company, which went public in late 2020 during the depth of the pandemic in one of the year’s largest IPOs, are still down nearly 10 percent this year.
It isn’t clear how much of the surge in bookings last quarter came from increased vacation travel or more folks taking advantage of “work from anywhere” policies, but people are staying with hosts longer. Nearly half of first-quarter night bookings were for a week or more, CEO Brian Chesky said on an earnings call Tuesday.
Stays of a month or longer are its fastest growing category by length of time, accounting for 20 percent of first-quarter bookings, he said.
“Millions of people are now more flexible about where they live and where they work,” Chesky said. “And as a result, they’re spreading out to thousands of towns and cities, and they’re staying for weeks, months, or even entire seasons at a time.”