UPDATED 20:36 EDT / AUGUST 12 2021


Airbnb shares fall on warning that COVID Delta variant will hurt bookings

Shares in Airbnb Inc. dropped in after-hours trading today despite a solid earnings report after the company warned of the impact of the Delta COVID-19 variant on bookings.

For its second quarter of 2021, Airbnb reported revenue of $1.3 billion, up 299% over the same quarter in 2020 and up 10% over the second quarter of 2019. Net loss in the quarter came in a $68 million, or 11 cents per share.

Analysts had been predicting revenue of $1.26 billion and a loss of 36 cents per share.

Airbnb noted that it was profitable on an adjusted earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization basis with a figure of $217 million, up from an adjusted loss of $397 million year-over-year and a loss of $43 million in its second quarter of 2019. The regular mention by Airbnb of 2019 figures is that it was a time before the pandemic and hence, arguably a better comparison to its current standing versus the heavily COVID-affected second quarter of 2020.

Increasing levels of vaccinations and the easing of COVID restrictions were credit by Airbnb as driving a “travel rebound.” The company achieved its highest gross booked nights of any quarter in its history thanks to guests in the U.S. and parts of Europe with high vaccination rates driving demand.

Cross-border travel also increased in the quarter with the easing of COVID restrictions. In Europe, Airbnb saw gross nights booked for cross-border travel at higher levels in June 2021 than in June 2019.

“We’re proud of our strong results this quarter, which again surpassed 2019 revenue levels,” Airbnb co-founder and Chief Executive Brian Chesky said in a statement. “Travel is different than before and because of our adaptable business model and continued product innovation to meet the changing needs of our guests, Airbnb is leading the travel rebound.”

Still, the pandemic still looms as a threat to the business and Airbnb said as much.

“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, including how often and when guests book and cancel,” Airbnb said in its outlook. “As a result, year-over-year comparisons for nights and experiences Booked and GBV will continue to be more volatile and non-linear.”

Airbnb added that even with the potential impact of cancelations due to outbreaks, it expects booking in the third quarter to outperform the same quarter in 2020 but fall from the second quarter and come in below third-quarter 2019.

Investors paid attention to the outlook and reacted accordingly. Airbnb shares were down almost 5% after the bell.

Photo: Pixabay

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