Airbnb posts $117 million profit, but 2Q outlook disappoints
Airbnb said Tuesday that it earned $117 million in the first quarter as revenue rose during the ongoing recovery in travel, but the company’s outlook for late spring and early summer disappointed investors.
The San Francisco-based company’s shares fell nearly 12% in extended trading hours after Airbnb posted the forecast.
The weak outlook overshadowed Airbnb’s first profit in the first three months of the year, a seasonally slow period for travel.
The company’s profit compared with a loss of $19 million a year earlier and worked out to 18 cents per share. Revenue climbed 20% to $1.82 billion, beating Wall Street’s forecast of $1.79 billion, according to a FactSet survey.
Nights and experiences booked, a closely watched measurement for Airbnb, increased 19% to 121 million, and the company valued the bookings made in the quarter at $20.4 billion, a 19% increase.
“We have seen our highest number of active bookers ever despite continued macroeconomic uncerainty,” CEO Brian Chesky said during a call with analysts.
However, Airbnb said second-quarter bookings growth won’t look as robust as they did a year earlier, when consumers were busy booking travel after hunkering down at home during the outbreak of COVID-19’s omicron variant. The company said bookings will grow more slowly than revenue in the April-through-June period, and the average daily rental rate will be “slightly lower” than a year earlier.
The company predicted that revenue in the second quarter, which includes the start of the peak summer travel season, would be around $2.40 billion. That was below analysts’ average prediction of $2.42 billion.
In a letter to shareholders, Airbnb said its revenue and the gross value of bookings are both double what they were before the pandemic.
Airbnb is getting a lift from people who are traveling while they take advantage of the ability to work remotely and stay away from the office. More of those people are booking international stays. The company said cross-border bookings grew 36% over last year’s first quarter, helped by travel to and within the Asia-Pacific region and bookings into North America.
The average nightly rate paid by Airbnb customers was $168, level with a year earlier, the company said. Price hikes in some places were offset by a slight shift toward in-city rentals, which tend to be lower in price than whole-house rentals in beach and mountain destinations.
Airbnb has grown increasingly concerned about rising rates, which could be pricing out some consumers.
Last week the company announced a renewed emphasis on renting rooms in hosts’ houses, which it said would provide rentals averaging $67 per room per night. Chesky said rooms would be particularly appealing to younger travelers who can’t afford to rent an entire house.
Airbnb is gradually making cleaning fees — a major complaint among Airbnb customers — part of the total price that consumers see first when they search for lodging. Chesky said the pricing change should bring down cleaning fees, although there is no indication in the company’s disclosures whether that is happening.
Also, the company said it is continuing to find new listings — the supply of lodgings for rent on the platform rose 18% in the first quarter, with the fastest growth in North America and Latin America. Chesky said that should help hold down prices.
This story has been corrected to indicate that Airbnb expects second-quarter bookings to grow less than revenue but not to decline compared with a year earlier.
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