As the northern hemisphere heats up, bags with wheels are out of storage and people are shaking off their covid shackles, gearing up to #travelflex. 🌄 And Airbnb’s (ABNB) not mad about it. This April Airbnb CEO and cofounder Brian Chesky merged WFH with #travelgoals and jumped on the ‘decentralization of living’ zeitgeist by amping up the digital nomadic lifestyle to staffers. He dangled team meets ‘every quarter’ for his 6,000 employees, reminding Time, ‘We can’t try to hold on to 2019 any more than 1950’.
It’s been a minute since the short term rental accommodation company watched 80% of their business evaporate in eight weeks in 2020, leading them to cull a quarter of their staff. Yet this didn’t hinder the company’s ‘maverick’ move to list on the Nasdaq, heavily relying on covid vaccines materialising and global economic recovery. In one of the ‘biggest first day rallies on record’ Airbnb saw ‘monster gains’, giving the sharing economy platform a market cap of US$86.5 billion. Not bad for a Silicon Valley startup born after two broke roommates rented air mattresses on their lounge floor. 🛌
But shift happens. And dealing with ‘real people in real people’s homes’ is not without the kind of scams and safety concerns your mum warned you about. They’ve dished out millions to make ‘nightmares disappear’, and after their heady debut at US$144.71, today’s Airbnb shares are down 17.5%, to US$119.37.
Yet despite dodging challenges, last week the tech-based company beat Wall Street estimates boasting 70% revenue growth, announcing bookings of ‘102.1 million nights and experiences’, adding that summer’ bookings are up 30% from pre-pandemic days. 🏡 Perhaps Airbnb’s tech-based business model, loyal customer base, public support of Ukraine and Chesky’s one-man marketing show may yet be the stuff of vacay dreams…even if New York lawmakers ain’t staycationing any time soon.