Airbnb’s CEO warns that business travel demand will never be the same after COVID

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Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, says business travel will never be the same after COVID, but predicted unprecedented demand for leisure travel in the coming weeks.

Chesky, 39, spoke to CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Tuesday and said he was hopeful for the future of the travel industry, but admitted that the plane for a business trip is a holdover from a pre-pandemic in life.

When asked about the future of travel for work, Chesky said, ‘I think traditional business travel will never return to the way it used to be. It doesn’t mean business travel is dead. Only business trips as we knew will not return as it used to be.

‘The reason for this is that the bar is higher for getting on a plane for a meeting. We realize how many things can finally be done remotely. I think people now have what they didn’t have a year or two ago.

‘Many people now have flexibility. They have flexibility where they travel and live and work. And they start to combine all those things. I think once people have something, they don’t want to let go of it. ‘

Chesky predicted there would still be some business travel, but most likely to bring staff together for large, occasional company-wide events.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (right) told CNN's Poppy Harlow (left) that he predicts that once Memorial Day Weekend, travel across the country will increase exponentially.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (right) told CNN’s Poppy Harlow (left) that he predicts that once Memorial Day Weekend, travel across the country will increase exponentially.

The CEO also predicted that normal people would use new flexible work rules – such as the ability to work from home – to live in different places for long periods of time throughout the year.

He said ordinary Americans could exploit these rules to live the same “nomadic” lifestyle as wealthy people who spend summers in resorts like the Hamptons and winters in ski destinations like Aspen.

The travel expert explained that many people can rent out their own homes on Airbnb and use the money to find their jet-setting existence.

Chesky also boldly predicted that there would be a travel recovery in his life like he had never seen before.

He explained, “I think this is probably the most important thing that has happened in travel, probably since World War II. And you know, of course I’ve been doing this for 13 years. But we are quite a large company.

‘We have studied history quite a bit. You know, what you have now, just give a few details. Number one, you know, on Airbnb we see activities that are already happening at the 2019 level.

‘This is before Cross Border fully reopens, which is half of our business. And this is before, you know, you have a resurgence of human cities. You combine the two, that was 68% of our cases.

‘So without that full recovery, we are back to the level of 2019. What has been taken from us, and connecting with other people. And I think on this memorial day weekend you’re going to see something different than we’ve ever seen. ‘

Chesky heads Airbnb, an online marketplace that connects people looking to rent out their home with people looking for accommodation in that area

Chesky heads Airbnb, an online marketplace that connects people looking to rent out their home with people looking for accommodation in that area

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky predicts business travel will no longer be the way it used to be as working from home has created more flexibility for employees

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky predicts business travel will no longer be the way it used to be as working from home has created more flexibility for employees

In the first quarter of 2021, Airbnb reported that average nightly rates were up 35% year over year, which Chesky related to the popularity of large suburban homes for U.S. family gatherings, BloombergQuint.com reported.

According to the CEO, after the option to travel is taken away, people are seizing the opportunity to get out of there.

“I think sometimes in life when things are taken from you, you want more,” he told Harlow. ‘What has been taken from people? Travel and connect with other people. ‘

Chesky predicts that once Memorial Day Weekend, travel across the country will increase exponentially.

Chesky also believes the company will shift to longer stays, as it has become the “ cornerstone of the new digital nomad lifestyle, ” where people live in different locations for months, Bloombergquint.com reported.

“ You used to have to be rich to live elsewhere for the summer, but now people can put the cost off by renting (their primary home) on Airbnb while they’re away – it could even become a cash-neutral option now, ” Chesky Bloomberg said, meaning people can use the money they’ve raised by renting their home on Airbnb to pay to live a more nomadic existence.

Chesky said working from home has created more flexibility in how long people can stay in one place, reducing the incentive to travel (stock photo)

Chesky said working from home has created more flexibility in how long people can stay in one place, reducing the incentive to travel (stock photo)

Brian Chesky (pictured) told CNN there will be a travel recovery like never before in his life

Brian Chesky (pictured) told CNN there will be a travel recovery like never before in his life

Chesky also discussed how the lodging company will adapt to the post-COVID world, including whether they consider allowing the host to deny people the opportunity to rent out homes if someone cannot provide proof of vaccination.

Chesky declined to go into details, but told CNN that the company is working closely with health professionals, including surgeon general Dr. Vivek H. Murthy on a host hand cleaning protocol.

“We are going to do this step by step with guidance from healthcare professionals so that we are not announcing anything at the moment,” he said. ‘But we want people to be very safe and responsible.’

After the initial shock of COVID 19, which wiped out 80% of Airbnb’s business, the company recovered in the summer of 2020 and has outperformed most travel companies over the past 16 months, BloombergQuint.com reported.

Airbnb wasn’t the only travel company hammered by the pandemic, the World Travel & Tourism Council estimates the industry lost nearly $ 4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs last year, Forbes reported.

Airlines alone lost $ 126 billion last year and are on track to lose another $ 48 billion this year, the council estimates.

Many travel bans remain in effect. The White House is under increasing pressure to lift travel bans on UK and EU visitors imposed by then President Donald Trump in March 2020.

The EU has indicated that vaccinated US tourists are welcome this summer, increasing pressure on President Biden to respond in kind.

They have insisted that they will wait for the

.