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Airbnb Looks for Acceleration in Summer Travel but Guidance Disappoints  

Airbnb’s first quarter results showed growth in listings and in nights booked.

And per management commentary on the conference call, demand for international travel remains robust — enough so that the firm is looking ahead to a “record” summer season, tied to sporting events such as the Olympics.

But stable growth, forecast by management for the current quarter, left investors unimpressed, at least after the bell Wednesday (May 8), and they sent the shares lower by 8% in after-market trading.

CEO Brian Chesky said during the call that the 133 million nights booked marked the company’s highest first quarter in its history.

Revenues of $2.1 billion were up 18% year over year (YoY).

Active listings for accommodations grew 17% YoY overall. The average daily rate was $173 in the first quarter, up 3% and nights booked were up 9.5% YoY to 132.6 million, and a gross booking value was $22.9 billion. Nights booked in the Asia Pacific region were up 21% and there was 19% growth in bookings in Latin America. 

Mobile Momentum

Chesky said that gross nights booked in the company’s expansion markets grew twice as fast as had been seen in the company’s core markets.

He spotlighted that mobile app downloads are accelerating, and said that in the U.S., app downloads increased 60% in the first quarter compared to a year ago. Nights booked via mobile were 54% of the total, up from 49% last year.

“Urban and non-urban supply increased at about the same rate, and we saw relatively similar supply growth among individual and professional homes, with the majority of new listings exclusive to Airbnb,” Chesky said.

Stable Growth

Management’s guidance for the current quarter implies 8% to 10% growth, with a corresponding revenue range between $2.68 billion and $2.74 billion. Analysts had been expecting revenues of $2.74 billion. 

Management noted in the earnings release that “year-over-year revenue growth in Q2 2024 will face a significant sequential headwind primarily due to the timing of the Easter holiday, the inclusion of Leap Day in Q1 2024, and the impact of FX rate changes.” The growth rate of nights booked, per the release, will see growth rates that are “stable” compared to the quarter that just ended.

Later in the call, CFO Ellie Mertz said of the current quarter, Obviously, we’d like to deliver higher growth and stable growth, but … our outlook obviously reflects the trends that we have seen for today.”