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Airbnb sees growth in rural vacations as bookings jump

During Q1 24% of Airbnb stays were 28 days or more

Airbnb said that holiday bookings are surging as a number of countries begin their emergence from lockdowns.

In Q1 its bookings surpassed levels seen before the pandemic, while the online travel platform saw improvements in the UK and France.

Overall, the number of bookings jumped up by 52% to $10.3bn as customers opted for vacations in rural areas and long-term stays.

However, the Nasdaq-listed company posted an overall loss, despite its high revenues, as it paid back Covid-related loans.

Airbnb made a pre-tax net loss of $59m, compared to the same period the year before, despite its revenue rising to $886.9m.

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Many people stayed away from their homes in order to work remotely. During Q1, 24% of stays were 28 days or more, an increase compared to 2019, while over 50% of bookings lasted longer than a week.

Airbnb increased its listings in non-urban areas by nearly 30%, as the platform now has 4m hosts over 100,000 cities across the world.

“While conditions aren’t yet normal, they are improving, and we expect a travel rebound unlike anything we have seen before,” the company said in an update to investors.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, told the BBC that the growth in the use of rural locations could serve to boost Airbnb’s reputation in the long-term.

“That trend could also help reduce the number of complaints from neighbours about rowdy weekend revellers which has plagued the company in recent years, along with accusations that the platform limits the amount of housing available for locals. Those concerns have led to restrictions on how the company operates in some big cities around the world.”

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