After a long wait, short-term rental market leader Airbnb has finally filed to go public on Monday. In its S1 registration filing, the company provides the public with a rare glimpse behind its business, revealing some interesting facts about what has been one of the most valuable unicorns in the world for years.
Conceived in 2007, the idea of renting out a room or an entire apartment to complete strangers sounded ludicrous at first, but 13 years later, it can safely be said that it revolutionized the travel industry and changed the face of many cities, not always for the better some would argue. According to yesterday’s filing, Airbnb hosts have welcomed guests in more than “220 countries and regions around the world” and earned over $110 billion in the process.
Last year alone, travelers booked 326.9 million nights and experiences on the platform, generating gross bookings of $38 billion. As our chart shows, Airbnb’s growth has almost been linear for the past five years. With both the number of nights booked and gross bookings increasing more than 4-fold between 2015 and 2019.
Unsurprisingly, 2020 has proven a challenging year for the company, as bookings crashed at the onset of the pandemic. Following two months of negative net bookings in March and April, i.e. more cancellations than bookings, travelers gradually returned to Airbnb over the summer with net bookings stabilizing around 30 percent below last year’s levels for the past four months.
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Airbnb – Statistics & Facts / Mar 1, 2018
Airbnb is a privately owned accommodation rental website that enables hosts to rent out their properties or rooms to guests who use the website to find somewhere to stay. The company began in 2007 when roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia started AirBed & Breakfast on the living room floor of their San Francisco apartment. The friends provided three air mattresses and homemade breakfast to guests who were unable to find alternative accommodation in the city. In 2008, Nathan Blecharczyk joined AirBed & Breakfast and Airbedandbreakfast.com was launched (the website name was shortened to Airbnb.com shortly afterward). In 2011, the company started its overseas expansion, opening its first international office in Hamburg, Germany. Airbnb, which generates its revenue through service fees to hosts and guests, was valued at 31 billion U.S. dollars in May 2017.
For many of the guests who use it, Airbnb can offer cheaper alternatives to paying for a hotel room. In the company’s hometown of San Francisco, for example, the average daily rate of a stay in an Airbnb property was 18.8 percent less than the average daily rate of a hotel in 2015.
While Airbnb may have enjoyed growing success since it started back in 2008, the company has also endured a number of scandals involving theft, property damages and an array of sordid activities in hosts’ apartments. As well as this, the company has experienced issues with taxes and regulations, particularly in New York City where the occupancy rate of Airbnb properties was around 65 percent in the summer months of 2015. In New York City, Airbnb generated an estimated revenue of 451.43 million U.S. dollars in that year and this was forecasted to reach 805.32 million U.S. dollars by 2018.