Sep 3, 2020 - Economy

Airbnb's resurgence

Data: Edison Trends; Note: Indexed to 100 = highest weekly spend at Marriott; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Airbnb filed to go public last month, a seemingly strange move for a company that was forced to lay off a quarter of its workforce in May.

Why it matters: Airbnb looks as though it's vastly outperforming expectations from this spring.

The big picture: While the hotel industry is still in terrible shape and asking for a federal bailout, Airbnb looks as though it has become one of the more improbable winners from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Vacationers prefer homes they can have to themselves over buildings that they have to share with other people.
  • People working remotely have realized that if they can work from anywhere, they might as well work from somewhere beautiful.

By the numbers: Estimates from Edison Trends show Marriott and other hotel chains seeing much lower spending than at this time last year. At Airbnb, by contrast, spending is hitting new all-time highs.

  • Airbnb spending is running a whopping 75% higher than this time last year, says the research shop, based on a panel of spending data including more than 65,000 Airbnb transactions.
  • That means Airbnb's revenues have comfortably surpassed Marriott's, for the first time.

The bottom line: Airbnb's pandemic boost won't last forever. But if nervousness about sharing enclosed spaces persists, and if remote work becomes more broadly accepted, both will be good news for the startup.

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