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Delta Variant Concerns Overshadow Airbnb’s Surge In Trailing Results

Strong results, yes, and a continued strong snapback for Airbnb as people continued to return to traveling amid increased vaccination rates.

But now much depends on the Delta variant.

The online booking platform beat Wall Street estimates, noting in its shareholder letter for the second quarter that nights and experiences booked surged 197 percent year on year to 83.1 million. The company said that was only 1 percent below pre-pandemic activity.

Total gross bookings came in at $13.4 billion, up 320 percent year over year, a tally that is 37 percent above the 2019 levels.

Revenues for the second quarter were up 299 percent to $1.3 billion, better than the $1.27 billion that had been expected by the Street; revenues were also 10 percent higher than the second quarter two years ago.

Average Daily Rates Increase

Average daily rates surged by 41 percent year on year to $161, according to the letter.

As noted in the letter: “We’re beginning to see a rebound in the types of travel that were most impacted by the pandemic. For example, gross nights booked for cross-border travel within Europe were higher in June 2021 than in June 2019. And travel is returning to some major cities, with gross nights booked to cities such as Istanbul, Las Vegas and Sao Paulo recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the end of June.”

Management also said on a conference call with analysts that during the quarter, there was “consistent strength” in North America.

But in the letter, the company said the continued impact of COVID-19 and its Delta variant will continue to keep volatility in the mix.

“In Q3, we are starting to see the global spread of COVID variants, a patchwork of local travel restrictions and slowing vaccinations adversely impact cancellations and growth of nights and experiences booked,” the company said in the letter. “As a result, while we expect nights and experiences booked in Q3 2021 to significantly outperform Q3 2020, we expect nights and experiences booked to come down from Q2 and remain below Q3 2019 levels.”

And, as Airbnb stated: “We do not yet know how willing people will be to travel in the fall as compared to summer.”

During the call with analysts, management also noted that particular strength had been seen with bookings made with destinations within 300 miles of the customer. Management also stated that stays of 28 days or longer were 19 percent of nights in Q2. Stays of seven days or longer were 50 percent of the company’s booked nights.

See also: Airbnb Rolls Out Flexibility Features As Travel Picks Up Post-Pandemic

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