More importantly, Airbnb didn’t do as badly as its competitors, seeing a year-on-year revenue drop of just 22%. In contrast, rival Expedia saw a whopping drop of 67% while Booking Holdings similarly posted a 63% fall.
Indeed, Airbnb’s letter to shareholders emphasised the company’s “resilience” despite the pandemic and lockdowns across the globe. The firm also attributed a large chunk (US$2.8 billion / ~11.34 billion) of its reported loss to stock-based compensation costs.
But despite all its (relatively) rosy talk, the company is still tightening its belt and won’t be spending as much on marketing. “What the pandemic showed is that we can take marketing down to zero and still have 95% of the same traffic as the year before,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.