Airbnb boasts second-quarter revenue beat but sounds Delta variant warning

Q2 revenues nearly quadrupled, but the company still reported a net loss.

Airbnb boasts second-quarter revenue beat but sounds Delta variant warning
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (LinkedIn)

Airbnb’s business has rebounded decisively from the depths of the pandemic, but the near-term outlook for the business is still unclear as the virus mutates and resurges.

Airbnb shares tumbled about 5 percent in after-market trading after the company issued a warning about “volatile and non-linear” year-over-year performance to come.

“In the near term, we anticipate that the impact of Covid-19 and the introduction and spread of new variants of the virus, including the Delta variant, will continue to affect overall travel behavior, including how often and when guests book and cancel,” the company said in a letter to shareholders.

The company added that it can’t foresee how ongoing vaccination efforts, containment of new virus variants, and travel restrictions outside the U.S. in the coming months will affect third-quarter and fourth-quarter results.

The online lodging platform’s revenue surged to $1.3 billion in the second quarter from $335 million in the prior-year period — the company’s highest quarterly revenue on record and a 299 percent increase year-over-year.

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Second-quarter revenue was 10 percent higher even than the 2019 second quarter, which the company attributed to greater global supply and demand.

“Now that Q2 is behind us, we can definitively say that the travel rebound is upon us, and Airbnb is leading the way,” co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said on an earnings call.

Airbnb still reported a net loss of $68 million, however, in part because of higher sales and marketing expenses. In the 2020 second quarter, the company recorded a net loss of $575 million.

Gross booking value, representing Airbnb hosts’ earnings, service fees, cleaning fees and taxes, totaled $13.4 billion during the quarter — a 320 percent increase year-over-year.

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