Airbnb CEO Warns Travel ‘Will Never Go Back To Normal’
Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky told Reuters Thursday that domestic travel trends will never be going back to the way it was before the virus pandemic.
Chesky spoke with Jonathan Weber, Reuters global technology editor, via Zoom, who said business travel is shifting to leisure travel because technologies like Zoom can make teleconferencing possible.
He uncovers the next big trend in travel, which by the way could start this summer – indicating that people aren’t going to be travel to the top largest 50 cities in the world and stay in crowded hotels – what they’re going to do is “many people will travel by car – some will travel by plane – and they’re going to travel to thousands of smaller communities. And many of these communities are going to be smaller cities and or even rural areas.”
Chesky said, “farm stays are huge right now.” He said most Americans have never visited the national parks, with another suggestion that these parks will be huge among travelers in the coming months.
An in-house survey completed by Airbnb said 54% of Americans are either planning to travel in 2021, or they’re currently planning their travel plans for the summer months. Chesky, citing the survey, said travelers are “yearning for what was taken away from them.” He said, “they’re not yearning to see Times Square. What they are yearning to do is to see their friends and their families they have not seen in a long time.”
Here’s the full interview (for Chesky’s comments on travel go to 28-minute mark):
AIRBNB CEO SPEAKS: Despite the hospitality industry being devastated by COVID-19, Airbnb has found a way to increase its revenue. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky is speaking now as part of the 2021 Reuters Next summit. https://t.co/agCvArvOUN
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 14, 2021
After the startup put its IPO plans on ice in March due to the pandemic and collapse in travel and tourism. By April, room bookings had plunged 72%. Airbnb rolled out a blanket refund policy and doled out more than $1 billion in cancellation fees.
Airbnb eventually debuted its IPO in December.
Americans ditching hotels for Airbnb stays in rural communities this summer could be extremely beneficial for the startup that was crushed by the pandemic in early 2020. But here’s the kicker…
If Chesky is right about the significant travel shift, the hotel industry could be slated for a massive wave of bankruptcies and or consolidation to a degree never before seen.