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Airbnb says sharing model proved ‘resilient’ amid pandemic

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Nov 17, 2020 - 10:47 AM

WASHINGTON — Airbnb said in its stock market filing Monday that its home-sharing model proved resilient during the global pandemic, as it posted a profit for the just-ended quarter.

The San Francisco-based startup delivered a $219 million profit in the three months ending in September, but nonetheless lost $697 million in the first nine months of the year amid a 32 percent revenue drop as the Covid-19 outbreak crushed the travel sector.

In its first public release of its financial data, Airbnb said its home-sharing model has been “resilient” compared with others in the sector during the crisis.

“People wanted to get out of their homes and yearned to travel, but they did not want to go far or to be in crowded hotel lobbies,” the document said. “Our platform has proven adaptable to serve these new ways of traveling.”

Airbnb revenue slipped to $2.5 billion in the first nine months of 2020 from $3.7 billion a year earlier. Its losses for the nine-month period were roughly in line with last year’s level.

The company has had mostly losing quarters, according to the filing, but has reported profits in the third quarter of each year from 2018.

But Airbnb said its unique business model has proven to be valuable both for hosts and travelers seeking a safe environment during the global health crisis.

‘Changing dynamic’ 

“We believe the stability in our active listings highlights the resilience of our business model, which does not require investment in fixed assets and real estate,” the filing said.

The 13-year-old company said the Covid-19 outbreak “has materially adversely affected our recent operating and financial results” and will continue to have an impact.

“However, we believe that as the world recovers from this pandemic, Airbnb will be a vital source of economic empowerment for millions of people,” the filing said.

It said the pandemic has “reinforced that travel is an enduring human desire, even in the face of challenges: and that people have been seeking travel options closer to their homes.

“Airbnb’s offerings are well suited to adapt to this changing dynamic,” the company said.

“We offer all types of accommodations, allowing guests to find spaces suited to their individual needs under these circumstances.”

Airbnb recently implemented new safety protocols for many of its hosts and claims that listings meeting its upgraded guidelines are safer than hotels during the pandemic.

The platform now has more than four million listings in some 220 countries around the world and has served more than 825 million bookings.

“We are a community based on connection and belonging, and we will continue to design new ways to provide for it,” said a letter from Airbnb’s founders

“As the world continues to change, people’s fundamental need for connection and belonging will not. This is what we will remain focused on.”

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