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Airbnb promises record third quarter, but warns on Delta impact

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Aug 12 (Reuters) - Airbnb Inc said on Thursday it expects the third quarter to be its strongest on record as more people check into its vacation rentals after the easing of COVID-19 curbs in most major economies. 

  The hugely popular global app, which has fought back strongly since being hit hard early in the pandemic last year, posted a more than fourfold rise in bookings to $13.4 billion in the second quarter. 

  Active listings have been roughly stable throughout the crisis and grew during the quarter, especially in non-urban destinations across Europe and North America, the company said. 

  In a results statement which followed bullish reports from peers Expedia Inc and Booking Holdings Inc, the San Francisco-based company did, however, also warn of the risks to the sector from the more contagious Delta variant. 

  "In the near term, we anticipate that the impact of COVID-19 and the introduction and spread of new variants of the virus, including the Delta variant, will continue to affect overall travel behavior," the company said in a statement. 

  Hotels and other accommodation providers took a hammering last year as COVID-19 travel restrictions shut down large parts of their business. 

  Airbnb drew plaudits, however, for shifting its focus quickly to local and long-term rentals, attracting people looking for accommodations to rent for remote working or which did not require flying. 

  The company expects to report a record third-quarter adjusted income before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and margin. 

  Gross bookings surpassed Refinitiv IBES estimates of $11.34 billion. Revenue tripled to $1.34 billion in the quarter, rose 10% from 2019 and beat estimates. 

  Net loss narrowed to $68.2 million from $575.6 million a year earlier. (Reporting by Shreyasee Raj and Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Devika Syamnath)