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Airbnb CEO: We are in a work and travel 'revolution'

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
In this article:
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A work and travel "revolution" is upon us that has fundamentally changed how people work and live amid the pandemic, Airbnb (ABNB) co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky told Yahoo Finance Live.

"Now that you can work on Zoom from home, CEOs are realizing they can get a lot of work done, there's lower costs, they can hire more diverse talent pool, and employees like working from home," Chesky said (video above). "In fact, many of them are saying if they have to go back to an office five days a week, they're gonna quit and go to a different job. So I think remote work is here to stay."

Airbnb's third-quarter results out last week shed light on Chesky's hypothesis.

Nights and experiences booked surged 29% year-over-year to 79.7 million. Gross booking value rose 48% from a year ago to $11.9 billion. Adjusted operating profits of $1.1 billion improved 120% from last year's third quarter.

“For tens of millions of people, maybe hundreds of millions of people, they’re not as tethered to one location. Now they can travel nearly anywhere, nearly any time. When they do travel, they can stay longer,” Chesky said, later adding: “People aren’t just traveling with Airbnb. They’re now living in Airbnb because of the flexibility with the pandemic. If you believe Zoom is here to stay, if you believe remote work is here to stay, I think you believe flexibility is here to stay. I think that will change travel since the invention of the airplane. That, to me, is the revolution.”

Airbnb said its data shows people are renting locations for longer periods of time as they embrace the hybrid working lifestyle.

"There's no way I think people are mostly going back to an office," Chesky added.

Chesky himself isn't, stating that he plans to travel a good bit during the fourth quarter and work from anywhere. He is considering putting his own place up for rent on Airbnb now that the company has released a new insurance product for renters called AirCover.

"I would like to put my place up," he said. "And now that we have AirCover top to bottom protection free for every host, I have a good reason to do it. So come on over."

The optimism on the pandemic creating lasting lifestyle changes (and the lift from the recent lifting of the international COVID-19 travel ban) was captured in Airbnb's outlook as well.

Airbnb sees fourth-quarter sales of $1.39 billion to $1.48 billion, up 66% from a year ago at the mid-point of the range. Adjusted operating margins are expected to improve year-over-year at a faster pace than in the third quarter.

"We believe Airbnb is a key reopening play in travel and expect the company to benefit disproportionately from pent-up demand," Jefferies Analyst Brent Thill noted recently.

Airbnb shares are up 31% year-to-date, compared to a 24% gain for the S&P 500.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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