Airbnb has made a strong recovery in 2022, achieving its first annual profit on a 40% revenue growth to US$8.4 billion, and reporting net income of $1.9 billion. Optimistic about further growth this year fuelled by the tourism industry, the company’s co-founder and chief strategy officer, Nate Blecharczyk, highlights the importance of adapting to changing consumer behaviour.
The San Francisco-based firm had to let go of 25% of its workforce in 2020 after losing 80% of its revenue due to the pandemic. The company then adopted measures to maintain cost discipline, which it continued even as travel began to bounce back faster than expected. As a result, headcount only increased marginally despite the company’s record growth in the past year.
Airbnb’s swift recovery is attributed to early adjustments, including strict cost management and service enhancements for both customers and hosts. Understanding that people still desired travel, even if restricted to domestic trips, the company optimised its offerings to include rural areas and longer stays.
Recognising the impact of inflation and potential recession on decision-making, Airbnb has worked to improve its services and make rooms more affordable. The recently introduced ‘Airbnb Rooms’, in which guests share a private room with a host, has an average cost of $67 per night, addressing the increased demand for human connection after the pandemic. With over a million such rooms available, 80% are priced under $100 per night.
To address privacy and safety concerns when sharing spaces, the ‘Host Passport’ has been introduced, providing more information about hosts before bookings are made. Additionally, further details concerning privacy within homes are being added, such as bathroom locations and door lock systems.
In response to the growing trend of long-term stays, Airbnb plans to significantly reduce fees after the third month of bookings. As the platform anticipates 300 million people travelling and hosting in 2023, Blecharczyk highlights that with 14 billion guests over 15 years, a unique and innovative platform, and being the pioneer in the home-sharing category, Airbnb currently has no comparable competition in the market, reports Bangkok Post.
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