Airbnb reported Thursday that its first-quarter loss more than tripled, to $1.2 billion, as travel remained depressed by the pandemic and the company was weighed down by costs from past borrowing.
However, revenue topped the same period in 2019, and Airbnb recorded billions in new bookings as the rollout of vaccines against COVID-19 raised hopes for a travel boom.
The home-sharing business said in a letter to shareholders that travel is starting to return, “and we expect a travel rebound unlike anything we have seen before.”
Still, Airbnb expressed concern about travel restrictions and lockdowns in Europe, a key market for summer rentals. The San Francisco-based company said it is too early to predict whether the pace of the travel recovery will continue in the second half of the year.
Pandemic-related restrictions are cutting into Airbnb revenue, particularly in Europe. The company has seen growing demand for travel in the U.S., however, with particular interest in rentals in beach and mountain locations. Bookings in cities, which were a strength before the pandemic, have not recovered.
Cancellations have eased from 2020 but remain higher than before the pandemic, although company officials gave no figures.
CEO Brian Chesky predicted that even after the pandemic more people will work outside central offices, providing a ready supply of future guests. He said 24% of Airbnb customers now book stays of at least 28 days, compared with 14% before the pandemic, which he…