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Airbnb expects a stronger summer quarter, spurred by Olympics, but shares fall

By Bill Peters

Second quarter outlook misses expectations, but heavier European travel expected this summer

Online vacation-rental platform Airbnb Inc. on Wednesday forecast second-quarter sales that were a bit below Wall Street's expectations, largely due to Easter falling in March this year, but the company said big events abroad like the Summer Olympics in Paris and the Euro Cup would help sales over the summer.

Airbnb (ABNB) offered that outlook as travel demand continues to hold up under stubborn inflation. And the forecast came as the company tries to expand abroad, to make it easier for groups to book locations and to move deeper into celebrity-themed stays and events via a new segment called Icons.

Still, shares slid 8.4% after hours on Wednesday. The stock is up 24% over the past 12 months.

The company said it expected second-quarter revenue of $2.68 billion to $2.74 billion. The midpoint of that forecast was below FactSet forecasts for $2.74 billion, after the company's first quarter this year reaped the benefits of the Easter holiday, when more people tend to travel.

Airbnb also said it expected the growth rate in nights booked for the second quarter to be "relatively stable" compared with the first quarter. But it said it expected the third quarter to be better.

"Looking ahead to the peak summer travel season, we are already experiencing robust demand for travel around international events such as the Olympics and Euro Cup," Airbnb said in its letter to shareholders. "Due in part to the strength of our Summer backlog, we expect year-over-year revenue growth to accelerate in [the third quarter of] 2024 compared to [the second quarter of] 2024."

Still, during the first quarter, the company noted a "slight deceleration" in the growth of nights booked, as pandemic-related "revenge travel" drove an increase in demand the prior quarter.

Airbnb reported first-quarter net income of $264 million, or 41 cents a share, compared with $117 million, or 18 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. That was above Wall Street's estimates for 23 cents a share.

Revenue of $2.14 billion was up 18% from a year ago and above expectations for $2.06 billion. The company cited "continued strength in travel demand and the timing of Easter" as a reason for the gains.

Nights and experiences booked came in at 132.6 million during the first quarter, a 9.5% year-over-year gain. Active listings were up 15% during the first quarter, and the company said it had pulled thousands of lower-rated listings from the platform as it tries to focus more on higher-quality stays.

The company also said that nights booked for stays in Paris through the Olympics, which run from late July to early August, are more than five times higher than a year ago. Germany, Airbnb said, is also seeing a spike in demand for the upcoming Euro Cup soccer tournament in June.

In April, during the solar eclipse in North America, more than 500,000 people stayed at an Airbnb, it said, with a jump in nights stayed in locations along the eclipse's direct path.

"These events highlight how Airbnb helps disperse travel and spread economic benefits by allowing people to stay in local neighborhoods where there are no hotels," the company said.

-Bill Peters

This content was created by MarketWatch, which is operated by Dow Jones & Co. MarketWatch is published independently from Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal.


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05-08-24 2036ET

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