‘Travel like we knew it in January will NEVER come back’: billionaire Airbnb co-founder offers horrific analysis of coronavirus impact and says bookings have fallen by 80% in six weeks
- Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky gave a grim interview on Tuesday
- He said that the pandemic may have permanently changed American travel habits
- Business travel could never bounce back after companies embraced video conferencing
- Holiday trips have shifted to national parks and rural areas on driving range
- Chesky said that the pandemic wiped out 80% of Airbnb’s business in just six weeks
Airbnb co-founder and CEO has made a terrible prediction that travel will never return to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, saying his company had been devastated by the crisis.
“Travel has changed forever,” said Brian Chesky Yahoo Finance in an interview published Tuesday. “The world of travel as we knew it in January will never return … I have faith in that.”
“We spent 12 years building our business and lost about 80 percent of it within six weeks,” he said of Airbnb, which was reportedly internally valued at $ 26 billion in early March, and was forced to plan for a first public offer to suspend when the pandemic hit.
“It felt like you were on a ship and it was wiped sideways. It was incredibly intense, everything broke at once, “Chesky said, adding that things have recovered since then.
“Travel has changed forever,” Brian Chesky (above) told Yahoo Finance in an interview published Tuesday. ‘The world of travel as we knew it in January will never return.
Chesky was convinced that the experience of the pandemic will change the way Americans travel forever.
Business trips may never return to pre-pandemic levels, he said, after companies felt familiar with video conferencing from afar when shutting down a remote computer.
Vacationing habits can also change in the long run, as more Americans opt for closer destinations that can be reached by car, opting for rural destinations over big cities, Chesky said.
“People say they want to get out of the house no matter what country they are in,” Chesky told Yahoo Finance editor Andy Serwer.
“But they aren’t super comfortable on airplanes at the moment. They want to get in the car and they don’t want to travel more than 300 miles or 200 miles, a tank of gas, ”he said.
“A whole group of people who thought they should get on a plane and go to a city and stay in a central district realized there are 400 national parks in the United States, and I live near one and maybe should I go see a natural park, “he adds. “Suddenly you cannot undo all this knowledge.”
An empty check-in counter can be seen at Los Angeles International in May. More travelers are choosing to vacation close to home during the pandemic, a trend that may continue
Air traffic in the US remains about 80 percent lower than the same period last year, according to the most recent daily screening data from the Transportation Security Administration.
Air travel recovered slowly until the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US increased in late June, particularly in the Sun Belt.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut now require visitors from 31 states to be quarantined for 14 days on arrival, and other states have similar edicts.
About 530,000 people went through U.S. airport security checkpoints on Tuesday, the lowest in July except Independence Day, and a 78 percent decrease from a year ago.
A traveler passes an abandoned walkway at Boston Logan International Airport in April. Air traffic in the US remains about 80 percent lower than in the same period last year
However, Chesky said that Airbnb has seen a resurgence in business as people vacation closer to home, claiming the company’s bookings are on par with last year’s level.
“They want to stay at home. So that came as a surprise to us, ”he said.
Airlines and hotels are among the companies most affected by the pandemic, and only hundreds of billions in federal bailout dollars have kept national airlines alive.
United Airlines executives said on Wednesday that the airline’s earnings will remain at around 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels until there is a vaccine.
United said the average flight was 35 percent full from April through June and estimates the average will be 45 percent in July.