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Airbnb bookings recover faster than expected, courtesy domestic travelers

-Avishek Sengupta

Though the COVID-19 global pandemic had hit businesses across sector, tourism and hospitality sector were among the worst affected.

An optimistic Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of the home sharing platform Airbnb, however, said business has recovered faster than expected as domestic travels had started again.

“Locations that are within driving distance, relatively cheaper, and also offer longer duration stays will always have a market. With most work places providing work from home, the younger travellers look to work from a different home after three months of lock down,” said Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk in an interview.

The home sharing plate form, which is one of the world’s most valued startups at $31 billion, has already seen more domestic bookings in different parts of the globe in the last two and a half weeks.

“In fact, domestic travel globally on Airbnb is now greater than the same time last year,” Blecharczyk said.

Blecharczyk, however, isn’t as optimistic about international travellers as people will still have stigmas related air travelling.

In India, where Airbnb has 80,000 listings, the platform is seeing an increase in searches for stay options near metros like Alibag, Lonavala and Panchgani near Mumbai.

Domestic travellers account for 51% of Airbnb bookings originating from India. “Domestic has always been a big part of our India business. And I would expect during this period to see a big shift in that direction,” said Blecharczyk.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb Raised $2 billion at reportedly a lower valuation of $18 billion to shore up its balance sheet. Besides, it laid off 25% of its workforce and suspended its marketing, which had an annual budget of $800 million as the business took a nosedive.

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