How Hard Will COVID-19 Hit Airbnb?

“I’m not sure if there’s a more difficult thing that a CEO of a travel company could ever do than go through this. You feel like you were T-boned, or like a torpedo has just hit the ship.” That’s what Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky had to say about the impact of COVID-19  on the home-sharing platform

The company is creating new opportunities for revenue with the launch of Airbnb Online Experiences. But it’s still getting hit, hard.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb quickly rose to be one of the world’s most valuable lodging companies. But the pandemic has hit the travel industry hard. And among the industry’s new obstacles is the closing of countless lodging spaces.

Airbnb was birthed during the last global crisis – the housing crisis. But while Airbnb gained value by situating itself as a solution in that crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic is inhibiting success.

We’re all going to great lengths to avoid germs and stay healthy in the midst of this pandemic. We’re even wearing masks and rubber gloves to maintain some control of our health and environment.

When you think about the lengths we’re going to in order to stay healthy and clean, it makes the idea of sleeping in someone else’s bed less desirable. 

Below are statistics on the change in New Airbnb Bookings from 12/29/2019 to 3/29/2020, shared by AirDNA:

Airbnb listings are already starting to have descriptions like “thoroughly disinfected” and have started featuring photos of cleaning products alongside their amenities. 

Luis Vargas, CEO of Modern Adventure, a tour operator that caters to the millennial travelers that Airbnb built its business on, says “to the degree that travel is based on human-to-human contact, this pandemic has made travel irresponsible or even life-threatening…we’re all in this together while at the same time experiencing extreme xenophobia because our fellow man could be asymptomatic and have the disease.”

It’s a time of uncertainty. What does the future of travel look like to you? How likely are you to stay in an Airbnb in the foreseeable future? Tweet your opinion at @StarterNoise on Twitter and let’s chat. Stay in the loop with us during this crazy time on StarterNoise

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