Airbnb’s CEO says the company will need millions more hosts to deal with a post-pandemic travel boom ‘unlike anything we’ve ever seen’

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.JPG
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

  • Airbnb’s CEO on Friday said it needed millions more hosts for the post-pandemic travel boom.
  • Airbnb sees a “rebound coming that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” CEO Brian Chesky told CNBC.
  • It has 4 million hosts with about 5.6 million listings, numbers mostly unchanged by the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Airbnb will need millions of new hosts to meet demand as the world exits the pandemic, CEO Brian Chesky told CNBC on Friday.

“To meet the demand over the coming years, we’re going to need millions more hosts,” Chesky told the network’s Deirdre Bosa on air.

As the world tiptoes out of the pandemic, travelers are taking their first steps towards normal vacation routines. Many are wondering if Airbnb accommodations and hotels are safe.

Chesky said on Friday that Airbnb expected the industry to roar back.

He told CNBC: “I think that we probably will have a high-class problem where there will probably be more guests coming to Airbnb than we’ll have hosts for, because … we think there’s going to be a travel rebound coming that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

Airbnb lists 4 million hosts, at present. As of the end of last year, they had about 5.6 million active listings in more than 220 countries and regions, according to the San Francisco company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chesky’s positive outlook echoed past statements and filings from the company. In a late February filing, the company said its listings had remained steady at 5.6 million for the entirety of 2020, despite a decline in bookings because of the pandemic.

The company said: “While we believe that travel will change as a result of COVID-19, the adaptability of our business suggests that we are well-positioned to serve this dynamic market as it continues to evolve and recover.”

After a blockbuster December IPO, the company in February beat Wall Street’s Q4 expectations. But its $859 million in revenue was down 22% from the $1.1 billion reported in the same year-earlier period.

Airbnb was “primed for recovery,” wrote Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst, in a note sent to clients earlier this year.

Nowak said he expected Airbnb to be the “only player growing” in the first quarter, versus its competitors, including Expedia and Booking Holdings.

“Similar to ’20, when people are returning to travel, they are choosing local (in country/close to home, driving over flying) and more rural locations…which gives an edge to alternative accommodations,” Nowak said.

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Airbnb reports a Q4 revenue of $859 million, surpassing analyst expectations despite its ‘frenzied’ IPO and COVID-19


  • Airbnb on Thursday reported $859 million in Q4 revenue, surpassing analyst expectations.
  • Airbnb saw a “frenzied” IPO in December 2020 and weathered a battered travel industry amid COVID-19.
  • Better days may be ahead for the platform as pent-up demand for travel remains high.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Airbnb beat analyst expectations in its Q4 earnings report on Thursday despite a tumult ous IPO and COVID-19, which has weathered the travel industry.

Airbnb reported $859 million in Q4 revenue, down 22% compared to $1.1 billion in 2019. However, it still surpassed analyst expectations, which projected a Q4 revenue of $747.6 million, according to Yahoo Finance. During this time, Airbnb saw 46.3 million booked nights and “experiences,” amounting to a gross booking value of $5.9 billion.

The platform had originally predicted a revenue decline in 2020 compared to 2019 due to COVID-19. As a result, last year, the platform brought in $3.4 billion, which is 30% less than its 2019 revenue of $4.8 billion.

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

In December, the company saw a highly anticipated but wildly “frenzied” IPO that left its CEO Brian Chesky speechless ahead of its debut and the company with a $2.8 billion expense. As a result, Airbnb registered a GAAP loss of $3.9 billion in Q4 2020, and $4.6 billion in 2020.

The platform is still riding out the COVID-19 storm that ultimately decimated the travel industry, although it still fared better than many of its competitors. But things may be looking up for the home rental platform as vaccine rollout continues across the US and pent up demand for travel continues to stay steady.

Now, Airbnb’s main priority for this coming year is to prepare itself for the impending return of travel.

“As the vaccine is rolled out and restrictions lift, we expect there will be a significant travel rebound. Our single priority in 2021 is to prepare for this travel rebound, perfecting our existing product by improving the entire end-to-end experience of our core service for both Hosts and guests,” the company said in a statement.

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