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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%.

Go deeper

52 mins ago - World

Jimmy Lai among Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders sentenced to prison

Students standing under a banner during a flag raising ceremony on the first annual National Security Education Day in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Hong Kong court sentenced a group of the city's most prominent pro-democracy activists to up to 18 months in prison Friday for organizing a massive unauthorized protest in August 2019 that drew an estimated 1.7 million people, AP reports.

Why it matters: Critics say the sentences send the message that even peaceful pro-democracy activism will be severely punished. They mark a continuation of Beijing's overhaul of Hong Kong's political structure, designed to crack down opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.

J&J vaccine pause hurts its reputation

Reproduced from Economist/YouGov poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' confidence in the safety of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine took a big dip this week after the pause in its use, per new YouGov polling, even though the risk of blood clots following the shot is extremely low, if it exists at all.

Why it matters: For the majority of people, particularly high-risk Americans, getting the J&J shot is almost certainly less dangerous than remaining vulnerable to the coronavirus.