Airbnb posts first profitable year as travel rebounds

Airbnb posts first profitable year as travel rebounds
Airbnb slashed a quarter of its workforce in mid-2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the travel industry. (File photo: Reuters/Dado Ruvic)

SAN FRANCISCO: Airbnb on Tuesday (Feb 14) reported its first annual profit, with revenue surging in the final three months of 2022 as travel bookings rebounded.

The home-rental platform said it made a profit of US$319 million in the final quarter of last year on revenue of nearly US$2 billion.

Airbnb finished 2022 with net income of US$1.9 billion compared with a loss of US$352 million the prior year, the San Francisco-based company reported.

“We are excited to see the continued strong demand in (the first quarter of this year),” Airbnb said in a letter to investors.

“We’re particularly encouraged by European guests booking their summer travel earlier this year; the market share gains we are seeing in Latin America, as well as the continued recovery within Asia Pacific.”

Airbnb shares were up more than nine per cent in after-market trade after the earnings figures came out.

People are getting back to crossing international borders and visiting cities in forms of travel that were “Airbnb’s bread and butter before the pandemic”, company chief executive Brian Chesky said on an earnings call.

Airbnb in mid-2020 slashed one fourth of its workforce – some 1,900 people – as the coronavirus pandemic crushed the travel industry.

Chesky said in a blog post at the time that “global travel came to a standstill” as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded.

Airbnb ended last year with 6.6 million active listings of lodgings for rent, an all-time high, as home owners seek to make extra money in tough economic conditions, according to the letter to shareholders.

Late last year, Airbnb made it easier for people to offer their homes for rent on its platform.

Source: AFP/gr