Mar 12, 2020 - Technology

Coronavirus hits Airbnb, already facing widening losses

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic is already posing a drag on Airbnb bookings and revenue, according to new data from research firm AirDNA.

Why it matters: This can't be good news for Airbnb, which has been planning to go public in 2020, in part because some employee stock grants will expire by year's end.

The big picture: Despite touting its healthy business and billions in cash, Airbnb last quarter ramped up its spending—and thus, losses—on growth and marketing in preparation for its IPO, according to Bloomberg.

  • It had a loss of $276.4 million excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, compared with $143.7 million a year earlier.
  • Revenue grew 32% over the same period to $1.1 billion.
  • The company expected bookings to grow 25% during the first quarter of 2020 — likely underestimating COVID-19's impact, Bloomberg reported.

By the numbers, per AirDNA:

  • Overall short-term rental supply: Largely unchanged between January and March, except for a small decline in China.
  • Weekly Airbnb revenue: There's been a downward trend since roughly mid-February across various major cities globally, and so far for the beginning of May, most destinations are averaging about half of the bookings made back in February.
  • Reservations by date booked (change between early January and early March): 96% drop for Beijing, 71% in Shanghai, 46% in Seoul, 41% in Rome, 29% in both Tokyo and Milan.
  • Beijing Airbnb revenue: While it grew nearly 130% year-over-year in January, February saw a 22.2% drop from 2019, and March saw a decline of nearly 43%.
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