The ITB Berlin NOW Keynote interview “from mass to meaningful travel” on Wednesday March 10, looked at new models adapted to a pandemic context. Airbnb’s adaptation to current market conditions proves the resilience of the industry in uncertain times.
For Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Airbnb and Chairman of Airbnb China, the adaptation of the Airbnb model to new health and social distancing conditions has helped the accommodation sharing company to cushion the impact of the pandemic. “We were expecting a drop of 50% in total revenues for the year 2020. We finally experienced a drop of “only” 30% at US$3.4bn. The lockdown was followed by a desire to visit places nearby accessible by car. The millions of hosts’ offers helped to attract travellers to smaller communities,” he explained at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention. Furthermore, Airbnb appeared as an easy solution for travellers who wanted to work remotely from another home, or take extended trips with family and friends.
Bleisure is likely to turn into an important segment of Airbnb development in the near future. “The concept of bleisure will be on the rise as more people work from home or go to the office only three times a week. This leaves an open door to extended week-ends where people can enjoy both a vacation and work remotely,” said Blecharczyk.
Airbnb is also adapting to community requirements or local government rules. “We aim to find solutions to engage Airbnb hosts, guests and local communities. We adapt permanently,” said the CSO. “Airbnb of today is certainly not the company of tomorrow,” he concluded.
Photo: Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Airbnb, and Chairman, Airbnb China, at ITB Berlin NOW convention