As Airbnb is slated to report its first-quarter as a public company on Thursday, investors are eagerly waiting to find out how hard the short-term rental platform has been hit by the pandemic in the last three months of 2020. While monthly booking value had recovered slightly as travel restrictions were eased over the summer, the fall/winter wave of new infections is more than likely to have affected bookings on the platform significantly.
As the following chart shows, the short-term rental market as a whole has yet to recover from the pandemic’s fallout, with booked listings on Airbnb and Vrbo constantly 25 to 30 percent below the previous year’s level, according to industry analytics firm AirDNA. Booked listings are properties that have been booked for at least one day in the given month, meaning that they are not to be mistaken for total booking volume. It seems safe to assume, however, that there is a strong correlation between the two indicators, and that booked listings serve as a decent proxy for overall bookings.
Overall, short-term rentals have not been hit as hard by the COVID-19 crisis as hotels have, presumably because they are less dependent on business travelers. Interestingly some listings even performed better than usual during the crisis, as travelers sought out rural, drive-to destinations in the absence of many other travel options.
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