Airbnb promises record third quarter, but warns on Delta impact

(Reuters) – Airbnb Inc said on Thursday it expects the third quarter to be its strongest on record as more people check into its vacation rentals after the easing of COVID-19 curbs in most major economies.

FILE PHOTO: A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco, California, U.S., August 2, 2016. REUTERS/Gabrielle Lurie

The hugely popular global app, which has fought back strongly since being hit hard early in the pandemic last year, posted a more than fourfold rise in bookings to $13.4 billion in the second quarter.

Active listings have been roughly stable throughout the crisis and grew during the quarter, especially in non-urban destinations across Europe and North America, the company said.

In a results statement which followed bullish reports from peers Expedia Inc and Booking Holdings Inc, the San Francisco-based company did, however, also warn of the risks to the sector from the more contagious Delta variant.

“In the near term, we anticipate that the impact of COVID-19 and the introduction and spread of new variants of the virus, including the Delta variant, will continue to affect overall travel behavior,” the company said in a statement.

Hotels and other accommodation providers took a hammering last year as COVID-19 travel restrictions shut down large parts of their business.

Airbnb drew plaudits, however, for shifting its focus quickly to local and long-term rentals, attracting people looking for accommodations to rent for remote working or which did not require flying.

The company expects to report a record third-quarter adjusted income before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and margin.

Gross bookings surpassed Refinitiv IBES estimates of $11.34 billion. Revenue tripled to $1.34 billion in the quarter, rose 10% from 2019 and beat estimates.

Net loss narrowed to $68.2 million from $575.6 million a year earlier.

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