It could be the right time for Airbnb to go public. As the San Francisco-based vacation rental online marketplace has seen bookings rebound after coronavirus disruption, it will revive plans to launch an initial public offering this year, the Financial Times (FT) reported.
“When the market is ready, we will be ready,” CEO Brian Chesky wrote in an email to employees on Wednesday (July 15), obtained by the FT. “We were down, but we’re not out.”
The email arrived in employees’ inboxes after a staff meeting to announce that Greg Greeley will exit as president of Homes, the company’s accommodation rental business, two years after being recruited from Amazon.
Catherine Powell, the company’s head of experiences, will take on the newly created role of head of hosting intended to link her current job and home-sharing.
Powell, who joined Airbnb earlier this year, is a former Walt Disney and BBC Worldwide executive.
“If we’re going to get back to our roots, we must get back to great hosting,” Chesky said.
The personnel and IPO decisions come as Airbnb said this week that it booked more than 1 million nights in a single day for the first time since the start of COVID-19.
Still, half of the bookings were for locations less than 300 miles from guests’ homes, and the nightly rate was on average below $100, FT reported.
“Our business has not recovered, but we are seeing encouraging signs,” the company said in a blog post.
Rural stays surged 25 percent last month compared to June 2019. But in big cities including Boston, New York and Los Angeles, bookings remain well down on last year, according to data from AirDNA, an independent analytics firm.
In May, Airbnb cut 25 percent of its workforce, 1,900 employees, to reduce costs and return to its core business, the company said. In addition, the firm took on more than $2 billion in additional debt to make up for revenue losses.
On the IPO plan, Greeley told workers in the email that the company is not committing to going public this year.
“But we’re not ruling it out,” he wrote.
This is not the first time Chesky has mentioned the possibility that Airbnb might become a publicly-traded company.
Last month, in an interview with Bloomberg Television, he said Airbnb was not ready to file its IPO, despite a sharp rise in bookings as homebound residents leave their homes after months of coronavirus restriction
“We’re still a little early in this crisis for me to feel clear enough about how this is going to play out,” he told Bloomberg.