Sell for More Trivia is a weekly blog series that playfully presents a trivia question about commercial real estate.
One person that knows the vacation market well is Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. Airbnb expects its revenue will be cut in half this year. Chesky recently laid off 25% of Airbnb’s staff (1,900 workers) and suspended projects not directly related home-sharing, like movie production and transportation.
Still, Chesky is optimistic. He says Airbnb has more listings now (over 7 million) than it did at the beginning of the year as hosts open their homes to make some extra cash. The company has hired experts to develop new cleaning protocols, so guests will feel comfortable booking again.
Above all, he says people will yearn to travel after this lonely pandemic. “I think travel is going to feel special again,” Chesky said. “We won’t take it as for granted as we did before.”
Here are excerpts from a conversation with Chesky on the future of travel.
Q: What will travel look like when it returns?
A: I do think it’s going to take time. I think people are not going to get on an airplane for a while. Travel is going to resume by car, and the really big trend is going to be people traveling near them.
For example, 13% of our business pre-COVID was people traveling and staying at Airbnbs 50 miles from them. Now that’s 30%. A third of our business is basically people traveling to the next town over. So travel will become more last minute, more affordable, more nearby. And more leisure than business.
One other thing is, we’re going to be in less urban areas. People aren’t going to be interested — as much — in staying in super mega metropolises.
Q: What do Airbnb’s bookings look like right now? Is there any point in the future where things start to look like they did before?
A: Yes. So trips less than a week away and more than six months from now are really popular. There’s a lot of growth around near-term and very long term. It’s the medium term that is way down. People kind of feel like, “We know what the world will be like in a week, so I’m comfortable traveling, and I kind of feel like six months from now or a year from now, I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to travel. So I’m going to book this thing. But June, July? I’m going to wait on that one.”
Q: Airbnb has paused projects not directly related to sharing homes and experiences. Is that a permanent change?
A: I really want Airbnb to use this crisis to sharpen our focus, to get back to basics, back to the core of everyday hosts that offer homes and experiences. And I think the people who really yearn for that are going to want to stay in places that are really authentic and personal. We’re going to put in as many or more resources than before. It’s just going to come at the expense of not doing as many things.
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About Beau Beach, MBA CCIM
Beau is a tenacious Commercial Real Estate Broker, author and adoring father of four. His clients appreciate his no-nonsense demeanor and his legendary work ethic.
Beau leads Beachwood which is a commercial real estate broker for sellers in the Nashville, Milwaukee and South Florida markets.
He’s the author of the books The 3 Reasons: Why Most Commercial Properties Don’t Sell and True Wealth: What Every Seller Should Know About 1031 Exchanges.
Beau can be reached at 800-721-3287, click to schedule a call or Beau@BeachwoodSells.com