Airbnb co-founder CEO Brian Chesky. Picture: Supplied
Airbnb co-founder CEO Brian Chesky. Picture: Supplied

Is travel as we know it over? Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky thinks so

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Jul 27, 2020

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Speaking to CNBC's Deirdre Bosa, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky spilled the beans on Airbnb’s operation during the pandemic. He said in the interview that "travel as we know it is over."

He explained: "It doesn’t mean travel is over, it just means the travel we knew is over. And it’s never coming back, it’s just not.

“No one quite knows what it may look like, but I have a couple of thoughts. I think you going to see a redistribution of where people travel. They are going to start travelling because they are going nearby to thousands of local communities.”

Chesky said since the pandemic started globally around March, travel has been at a standstill.

He said the company spent 12 years building Airbnb business and lost almost all of it in a matter of 4-6 weeks.

"What’s happened in the last three to four months is something else entirely. People want to get out of the house, but they want to be safe.

“They do not want to get on airplanes, they don’t want to travel for business, they don’t want to go to cities, they don’t want to cross borders. What they are going to do is get into a car, drive a couple hundred miles to a small community where they are willing to stay in a house," he said.

He said while Airbnb has not fully recovered since the pandemic, they have seen the same booking night stays between the end of May and early June as the previous year without any marketing.

“This shows that people are yearning for something. They are yearning for a connection, and they want to be connected to each other, to the communities, they want to get outside and so, I think travel is going to come back. It’s just going to take longer than we thought and it’s going to be different," he said.

He said that Airbnb has it cut almost a billion dollars of marketing, reduced its staff, and showed its resilience with the launch of online experiences that people can do at home.

“We have not lost any hosts on our platform. We have more hosts and homes today than when Covid started. The important thing here is that the market is resilient, the community is resilient,” added Chesky.

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