Airbnb optimistic about travel rebound, announces lower than expected losses

San Francisco Airbnb

Airbnb issued its fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial results, which showed a 22% year-over-year decrease in revenue in Q4 2020. The company had previously forecasted its 2020 revenue could be less than half of 2019, but total revenue decreased by only 30% to $3.4 billion for 2020 compared with $4.8 billion in 2019. In Q4 2020, revenue of $859 million declined only 22% compared with $1.1 billion in Q4 2019, despite the second wave of COVID-19 cases and lockdowns the world experienced in Q4.

These results confirm the trend that short-term rentals have been found to be more resilient than hotels during the pandemic.

Q4 2020 net income was impacted by charges related to the IPO and subsequent stock price increase, but Q4 2020 adjusted EBITDA was improved from 2019, thanks to efforts to reduce spending, improve variable costs and manage fixed expenses across the company.

CEO Brian Chesky said: “Our performance in 2020 showed that Airbnb is resilient and inherently adaptable. Travel is coming back and we are laser-focused on preparing for the travel rebound.”

The company acknowledges that it is “too early to predict overall recovery trends for the travel industry and their impact on our business” but has been “encouraged by our continued resilience and recovery, and are optimistic about the upcoming travel rebound”. It sees the rebound as dependent on the pace of vaccine roll-outs and the related impact on willingness to travel.