Saying “people are ready to travel,” Airbnb Inc. on Thursday reported continued resilience in its business, posting higher-than-expected first-quarter revenue and increased gross bookings, but with a larger-than-expected $1.2 billion loss.
Gross bookings climbed to $10.3 billion, compared with $6.8 billion in the year-ago period, and $4.4 billion higher than the previous quarter. Analysts on average had expected $7.87 billion for the quarter.
On Airbnb’s earnings call, Chief Executive Brian Chesky mentioned the CDC announcement Thursday that fully vaccinated people can resume normal activities for the most part, and said he expected the travel rebound “to be unlike anything we’ve seen before.” He added that the company’s first-quarter results “demonstrate this.”
In its letter to shareholders, the company said “areas of strength” included North America and domestic travel, as well as nearby and long-term stays and stays in less densely populated areas. The company also saw growth in family and group travel, especially outside cities, it said. Chesky said on the call that he expects “significant tailwinds” when urban and cross-border travel, which are not yet back to normal, return.
The lodging-booking platform’s first-quarter revenue rose to $887 million from $842 million in the year-ago quarter, and increased $28 million from the previous quarter. That 5% increase in revenue contrasts with year-over-year sales drops for its competitors, such as Expedia Group Inc.
and Booking Holdings Inc.
which reported their first-quarter results last week.
Airbnb shares initially fell about 2% after hours, but were alternating between positive and negative territory after the company’s earnings call. They sank 3.2% in the regular session to close at $135.75.
Airbnb reported a loss of $1.2 billion, or $1.95 a share, compared with a loss of $340.6 million, or $1.30 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted Ebitda loss was $58.6 million compared to $334 million in the same period last year. The company said its loss comprised one-time costs including a $377 million repayment of debt, loan costs and impairment related to office space it no longer needs.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast a loss of $1.05 a share on revenue of $717.8 million.
Citing persistent uncertainty because of the pandemic, Airbnb did not provide numbers for a second-quarter forecast, but said it expected the travel recovery to continue. The company said it expects nights and experiences booked to be higher year over year, but to be below the levels from the second quarter of 2019, while revenue should be “significantly higher” than that of the year-ago period and about even with the same period in 2019. Adjusted Ebitda will be break-even to slightly positive in the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Dave Stephenson said on the call.
Stephenson add that although the company is “highly confident in the rebound… it’s hard to kind of precisely pin down what Q3 and Q4 are going to do.”
Analysts are forecasting a second-quarter loss of 65 cents a share on revenue of $989.9 million, and gross bookings of $9.29 billion.
Shares of Airbnb have fallen more than 9% year to date, and about 37% in the past three months, compared with the S&P 500 Index
which is up nearly 10% so far this year and 3.6% in the past three months.
As Airbnb prepares for the ongoing expected recovery in travel, it will be unveiling what Chesky calls “the most comprehensive update to the Airbnb service in 12 years” on May 24.