The travel sector was the hardest hit when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out over two years ago, and it left many in the industry struggling with how to cope with it. While Airbnb didn’t always respond in the right way, the company now seems to be firmly out on top again, based on its latest quarterly results.

Airbnb has announced that for Q4 2021, revenue was up 80% year-over-year to $1.5 billion–and that number exceeds 2019 pre-pandemic levels. So what’s happened? In its most recent shareholder letter, Airbnb gave four main reasons why the platform is thriving once again:

  • Rural travel is popular: Pre-pandemic, vacation getaways were often to crowded cities or coasts, but Airbnb says non-urban travel is up 45% since Q4 2019. In other words, less crowded places reduce people’s sense of travel risk.
  • But city travel is making a comeback, too: While guests aren’t flocking to cities like they used to, they are increasingly venturing back. Airbnb says gross night booking for U.S. cities was up compared to the same period in 2019.
  • Omicron didn’t affect bookings as much as other variants: While some guests did cancel bookings because of omicron, Airbnb says the variant wasn’t as disruptive to booking as past variants were, suggesting people are finally carrying on with their lives.
  • Long stays are increasing: Airbnb says it’s not just about a place to stay on vacation. Some guests are choosing to live via Airbnb. The company says long-stay bookings of 28 days or more accounted for more than a fifth of gross nights booked in the most recent quarter.

And investors have taken well to the news. Today in premarket trading, at the time of this writing, Airbnb stock is up over 3%.


Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at More

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