Online home and hotel booking platform Air B & B predicts a “never-before-seen” travel rebound after seeing a big jump in holiday bookings.
In the first three months of the year, US bookings exceeded pre-pandemic levels, while there was a “steady improvement” in business in the UK and France.
Demand for holidays has increased as some countries exit lockdown measures.
Reservation values jumped 52 percent to $ 10.3 billion as customers snapped up long-term residences and rural properties.
Although Air B & B’s revenue rose to $ 886.9 million in the first quarter of the year, it reported a net loss of $ 59 million as it paid off loans related to Covid-19.
The San Francisco-based company did well compared to other hospitality companies, as consumers showed a preference for more space and property far from city centers during the pandemic.
In the three months ending March 31, holiday bookings for families also exceeded bookings for smaller groups or individual travelers.
“Although conditions are not yet normal, they are improving, and we expect a rebound in travel, unlike what we’ve seen before,” said Brian Chesky, Air B & B’s co-founder and CEO.
Air B & B also said that vacationers are searching and booking in advance.
Bookings also rose in Britain and France after the announcements by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron to ease the closure restrictions.
The company said, however, that it was still too early to provide a financial forecast for the rest of the year.
It warned that the business would depend on the “severity and duration” of ongoing travel restrictions, particularly outside the United States.
Susanna Streeter, senior investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the results showed that the “Air B&P” brand was also attracting the older generation who had substantial income to spend.
“It is now a household name globally and could quickly become her model for meeting the change in confinement behavior caused by the pandemic,” she said.
She added that demand for long-term reservations at more rural locations could help the company’s reputation.
“This trend could also help reduce the number of complaints from neighbors about the noisy revelers that have plagued the company in recent years, along with accusations that the platform is limiting the amount of housing available to locals. These concerns have led to restrictions on how.” The company operates in some major cities around the world.
And while the online booking platform may be gaining momentum, others in the entertainment industry have found extreme hardships amid the pandemic.
The Walt Disney Company, for example, said Thursday that its theme parks and attractions are still “in a state of recovery” with visitor numbers placed in restrictions, and many of its cruise lines have been suspended.
Total revenue fell 13 percent to $ 15.6 billion in the three months to April 3, compared to the same period last year.
But analysts expect revenue to roughly return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the current fiscal year, buoyed by services such as the Disney Plus broadcasting platform.