Airbnb’s revenue, profit soar as “work from anywhere” deepens

Q3 saw net income increase almost 4-fold year over year amid work flexibility

Airbnb's Brian Chesky (Getty)
Airbnb's Brian Chesky (Getty)

Airbnb’s revenue and profit soared to all-time highs in the third quarter as travelers capitalized on summer weather and flexible remote work policies.

Net income increased 280 percent year over year to $834 million, which the company attributed to “significant” top-line recovery, “expense discipline” and seasonal trends.

“Our results show that the growing strength of the travel rebound is here despite the continued pandemic,” co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said Thursday on an earnings call.

The executive had warned analysts and investors in the company’s second quarter earnings call in August of potential volatility stemming from new Covid variants.

Third quarter revenue surged 67 percent to $2.2 billion on the back of nearly $12 billion in gross bookings with “significantly higher” average daily rates. Revenue was 36 percent higher than in the same period of 2019, before the pandemic shut down travel.

Airbnb’s stock was up more than 6 percent in pre-market trading on Friday.

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Higher vaccination rates and relaxed travel restrictions have boosted business, but a more profound change in travel behavior is underway, Chesky said on the call.

The world is undergoing a “revolution” in how people live and work, he said, and Airbnb facilitates work from anywhere.

“The pandemic has suddenly untethered tens of millions of people from the need to go into an office,” Chesky said.

Chesky’s remarks and Airbnb’s results sharply contrast with third quarter earnings calls among office landlords, during which executives spoke of the gradual but inevitable return to offices and the increasing number of prospective tenants scouting for space.

“There’s no doubt that work in-office will win over work alone at the kitchen table,” Vornado’s Steven Roth said on the company’s Tuesday earnings call.

The work-from-anywhere trend will probably accelerate, Chesky said on the call, citing recent commitments to flexible work policies from the likes of Procter & Gamble, Amazon, Ford and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“We expect many more companies to follow their lead,” he said.