Airbnb made several headlines this week during their first quarter earnings call. First, they announced a mixed bag of financial news, reporting a first-quarter loss of $1.17 billion, citing costs of past borrowing and a travel industry still weighed down by the lingering effects of the pandemic. On the bright side, however, they announced quarterly revenue of $887 million, a 5 percent increase year-over-year.
It was the other pronouncements they made, however, that caught our attention. Here are the four takeaways that short-term rental property managers and owners need to know about Airbnb’s earnings call.
Large Increase in Non-Urban Listings
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky noted that their platform has 5.6 million listings, of which 1 million came on board just in the last year. The most notable growth came in non-urban listings, where that sector of the market saw a 30 percent increase.
At Beyond, we’ve seen a similar trajectory in non-urban listings growing at much faster rates than their urban counterparts for 2020 and into 2021. On average we saw 2.4% month over month growth of urban listings, compared to the traditional U.S. East Coast vacation rental market growing at 3.5%.
Business Travel Has Fundamentally Changed
The pandemic has changed many things about how the world works, and the travel industry is no exception. Specifically, the nature of business travel. Chesky mentioned that they’ve seen an increase in the length of stays—24 percent of nights booked on the platform were for stays of 28 days or longer.
While here at Beyond we tend to primarily focus on short-term rentals, we’ve seen an overall shift towards longer bookings. In March and April of 2021, we saw a 400% increase in the percent of reservations over 28 days compared to the same time in 2019, and overall for 2020 that same metric ended at being 125%.
While we are slowly going back to normal in 2021, we still see a 31% increase in the percent of reservations over 28 days compared to the same time in 2019.
With the increased acceptance of employers allowing their employees to work remotely, either part or full-time, this will work to boost a nomadic lifestyle. More and more people now have the flexibility to spend longer periods of time in different locations around the world—they will still need a place to “call home,” and that’s what Airbnb is counting on.
Supply Is In Demand
Chesky also announced that Airbnb is making a strong push to get more hosts on their platform. He said they’ve completely re-designed the end-to-end experience of hosting on Airbnb, making it easier than ever to get started.
As we’ve been saying for the last couple of months, this year will be a banner year for the short-term rental market. Since the start of the year we’ve seen a large increase in overall demand for short-term rentals, with global occupancy rising 6% points in March - May as compared to 2019. Certain markets are even further ahead, like the Florida Keys which so far in 2021 have averaged 15% higher occupancy when compared to 2019.
Airbnb Announcement May 24
Chesky closed the call with an announcement about an announcement—on Monday, May 24th, the company will reveal the most comprehensive update to the Airbnb service in 12 years. It‘s expected to revolve around their attempt to make the overall experience on Airbnb simpler and more pleasant for both guests and hosts.