Finance

Airbnb bookings jump 52% as vaccinations spur vacation rental demand By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Airbnb logo is seen on a little mini pyramid under the glass Pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris, France, March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

(Reuters) – Airbnb Inc beat Wall Street expectations for first-quarter gross bookings and revenue on Thursday, as speedy COVID-19 vaccinations and easing restrictions encouraged more people to check into its vacation rentals.

Gross bookings jumped 52% to $10.29 billion in the quarter, easily beating analysts’ estimates of $6.93 billion.

“For guests aged 60 and above in the U.S., who were amongst the first groups to benefit from vaccine rollouts, searches on our platform for summer travel increased by more than 60% between February and March 2021,” Airbnb said.

The San Francisco-based company expects second-quarter revenue to be similar to 2019 levels but added it was too early to predict if the recovery would continue at the same pace in the second half of 2021.

Airbnb has weathered the pandemic better than rivals as people turned to its offering of larger spaces and locations away from major cities in the era of social distancing.

The company recorded a surge in bookings in Britain after the government laid down plans in February to exit lockdown, while the easing of travel restrictions in France earlier this month also lifted demand.

The momentum could accelerate in June as the European Union’s executive commission has recommended easing travel restrictions next month to let foreign travelers from more countries enter the bloc.

Airbnb’s revenue rose 5.4% to $886.9 million in the first quarter ended March 31, exceeding estimates of $714.4 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization narrowed to $59 million, from $334 million a year earlier, largely due to cost cuts.

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