While business travel has been one casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, Airbnb plans to capitalize on the newfound work-life balance that emerged during the shift to remote work.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told CNBC’s Jim Cramer Thursday that the home rental company is seeing signs that consumers are leveraging the work-from-anywhere model that companies are adopting to get out of the home and find a change of scenery.
“The lines between traveling and living are starting to blur together,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview.
As opposed to just renting Airbnb sites for vacations, more people are using rentals for living purposes, said Chesky, who took the company he founded public last year. The IPO, initially set for early 2020, was delayed to later in the year due to uncertainty around the global pandemic. The travel industry has been one of the hardest-hit parts of the economy due to lockdowns that went in place around the world to contain Covid-19.
Now remote employees have even more flexibility, opting to take more three-day weekends or move into homes for longer periods than before, as long as internet is available to hook up to Zoom for work purposes, Chesky said.
“We think a lot of travel is going to be to smaller cities because people are going to get into cars and travel nearby,” he said.
“We really are adaptive and resilient to any kind of travel behavior. That’s what we learned last year,” he added.
The comments come after Airbnb posted its first quarterly report as a public company. It missed analyst expectations on the bottom line, though it exceeded estimates on the top line.
Airbnb said it made $859 million in fourth-quarter revenue, compared to FactSet estimates of $747 million, and a net loss of $3.89 billion. Much of the losses were blamed on fees it was charged to go public late last year.
On Thursday, Airbnb shares fell hard, closing 9% lower at $182.06, alongside other technology and high-growth stocks during a brutal day on Wall Street.
Year to date, the stock is up 24%.