Airbnb cuts loss, shares fall as COVID clouds forecast
Airbnb said vaccinations, the containment of COVID-19 variants and restrictions on global travel will affect bookings for the rest of the year
Airbnb shares are trading more than 3% lower in the premarket after the company warned that new variants of COVID-19 will make future bookings and cancellations harder to predict.
The company did however narrow its second-quarter loss to $68 million and gave a bullish forecast for revenue.
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Airbnb said vaccinations, the containment of COVID-19 variants and restrictions on global travel will affect bookings for the rest of the year.
"We do not yet know how willing people will be to travel in the fall as compared to summer," the company told shareholders.
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Airbnb’s business has picked up in the U.S. early this year as Americans began to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and travel picked up.
Many vacationers have looked to avoid crowds and steer clear of hotels, creating an advantage for Airbnb and rival Vrbo.
Like airlines, the home-rental companies face new uncertainty because of the recent surge in COVID-19 infections. Last week, Expedia Inc., which owns Vrbo, reported that travel dipped and cancellation rates rose in July, and that the outlook for travel remained uncertain.
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Airbnb expects to post record revenue in the third quarter, "well above" the 2019 peak of $1.65 billion.
The company is spending heavily to recruit new hosts.
In the second quarter, Airbnb's loss compared with same-quarter losses of $576 million last year and $297 million in 2019. It worked out to a loss of 11 cents per share, less than the loss of 36 cents per share forecast by analysts in a FactSet survey.
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Revenue rose 10% over 2019, to $1.34 billion, beating analysts' forecast of $1.26 billion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.