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‘Travel is coming back,’ says Airbnb, as it beats revenue estimates in first earnings

In its first earnings report as a publicly traded company, Airbnb delivered a hopeful forecast for the coronavirus-battered travel industry, expressing optimism that people’s appetite for new destinations will grow this year as vaccines begin to finally make a dent in the pandemic.

“Travel is coming back and we are laser-focused on preparing for the travel rebound,” the company said in its opening statement.

Despite travel grinding to a halt last year, Airbnb says its revenue for the fourth quarter was down only 22% compared to the same period in 2019, a sign of both its “resilience” as a company and its “strong financial discipline,” according to the firm. Airbnb significantly scaled back its business in the middle of the year, laying off about 25% of its staff, doubling down on its core platform, and capitalizing on stir-crazy customers in search of local travel and experiences.

Revenue for the quarter was $859 million, far higher than a Bloomberg consensus estimate of $739.7 million. Revenue for the full year was $3.4 billion, down 30% from the previous year.

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