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Airbnb Looks Ahead

Airbnb Has Benefited From Remote Work

Airbnb’s (ABNB) business has been booming recently. Due to many consumers’ ability to work remotely, travelers are seeking out longer stays in roomy homes rather than small hotel rooms. But Airbnb’s dominance may not continue as many workers return to the office, which could help Expedia (EXPE) and other traditional online travel companies.

During the third quarter, Airbnb’s gross booking values were up 23% and its revenue soared 36%. This marked the company’s best quarter on record. Meanwhile, Expedia’s revenue was 12% lower than it was during the same period in 2019, but Expedia did say it is seeing higher demand for rentals through Vrbo, the home-rental program which it owns.

Hotels Are Making a Comeback

The pandemic changed the way millions of people traveled, altering where they chose to go and how long they chose to stay. But some pre-pandemic trends are beginning to return.

The lodging industry has been improving since the second quarter of 2020, when revenue for many hotel operators hit their lowest levels. Marriott International’s (MAR) revenue was 72% lower at that time,but sales were only down 25% in Q3 of 2021 compared to the same period in 2019.

Meanwhile, sales at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (WH) were 17% lower in the third quarter when compared to 2019. Occupancy levels for the week ended November 6 were down 13%—a marked improvement from a year ago.

How the Return to the Office Will Impact Travel Trends

Another factor which may help traditional hotels and could hurt Airbnb is the fact that many people are returning to the office after nearly two years of working remotely and traveling for longer periods of time. Additionally, schools are back in session and families are not booking long vacations the way some did when school was online.

The pandemic upended traditional patterns in the hospitality and travel industries. Now, some travelers are reverting to their former habits. Hotel operators and homeshare platforms will need to stay nimble as they respond to changing trends.

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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