Airbnb Profits Surge 280% in Third Quarter

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  • Profits for the quarter rose 280% year over year and the company saw its highest revenue and net income ever.
  • Airbnb said it expects vaccination progress and the recovery of international travel to lead growth in the fourth quarter and new year.

Airbnb reported strong third-quarter profit growth and a beat on revenue estimates Thursday, as the company continues its recovery from Covid-19 and travel returns as vaccinations efforts ramp up worldwide.

Shares briefly rose more than 3% in after-hours trading before paring gains.

Here's how Airbnb did compared with Wall Street estimates:

  • Earnings per share: $1.22, which is not comparable to estimates
  • Revenue: $2.24 billion vs. $2.05 billion estimated by Refinitiv

The company reported 79.7 million nights and experiences booked in the third quarter, a slight decrease from the second quarter. That was still up 29% year over year, when Covid-19 battered the travel industry. Analysts had estimated 80.8 million nights and experiences for the quarter, according to StreetAccount.

The company also saw its highest-ever revenue and net income in the third quarter, even though urban and cross-border travel have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, said CFO Dave Stephenson on a call with analysts. Revenue came in at $2.24 billion, up 67% year over year. Net income surged 280% to $834 million on a year-over-year basis.

Airbnb expects revenue between $1.39 billion and $1.48 billion in the fourth quarter, in line with analyst expectations.

In its third-quarter letter to shareholders, Airbnb said recovery trends continue to vary regionally, and by vaccination rates and travel restrictions. But the company added it is "uniquely positioned for this travel revolution." In North America alone, nights and experiences booked were up 10% from the same quarter in 2019, Airbnb said.

Airbnb previously reported in its second-quarter letter to shareholders that it expected the Covid delta variant to influence travel behavior. The company had also expected the variant to make year-over-year comparisons for nights and experiences booked and gross booking value "more volatile and non-linear."

Gross booking value — which the company uses to track host earnings, service fees, cleaning fees and taxes — totaled $11.89 billion in the third quarter. That was up about 48% year over year but fell slightly below a StreetAccount forecast of $12.31 billion.

Average daily rates for the company dropped to $149 from roughly $161 in the last quarter. That's up about 15% from the same period last year.

The company said it expects a strong fourth quarter and for travel demand to extend into 2022. It also expects nights and experiences booked for the fourth quarter to "significantly outperform" the same period last year.

"Looking to 2022, vaccination progress and the recovery of international travel in Q4 2021 will be key themes for growth heading into the new year," the company wrote.

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