Travelling may never be the same again in the post-pandemic world, according to the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb. Talking about the travel-based company, Brian Chesky said that Airbnb has been adversely affected by COVID-19.
“We spent 12 years building our business and within six weeks lost about 80 per cent of it,” he said. He also added that the onset of the pandemic came at a time when the company was planning for an initial public offering.
“It felt like you on a ship and it was getting sideswiped. It was incredibly intense, everything was breaking at once,” Chesky said, adding that business has rebounded in the months since.
Chesky seemed confident that Americans will not rebound to their normal style of travelling.
Speaking about the new trend of work-from-home and consequently, video-conferences, Chesky also added that businesses may permanently adopt this strategy, which will largely cut down on business-based travelling.
Chesky also added that the trends pertaining to vacations may also alter, with Americans preferring to holiday at a location closer to home and travel by their own vehicles.
“A whole bunch of people who thought they had to get on an aeroplane and go to a city and stay in a central district realise, well, there are 400 national parks in the United States, and I live near one and maybe I should go see a natural park,’ he added. “Suddenly, you can’t like undo all this knowledge.”
According to data procured from the Transportation Security Administration, in comparison to last year, air travel in the US decreased by about 80 per cent.
Though there was some recovery in this number at one point, it plummeted again around late June when the number of cases in the US began to surge.
On Tuesday, about 530,000 people went through U.S. airport security checkpoints, which is the lowest number this month, barring the Independence Day holiday.
But the silver lining for Chesky is that with people still travelling to locations close to home for vacations, Airbnb’s business is comparable to last year.
“They’re looking to stay in homes. So that has been a surprise to us,” said.
The pandemic has affected the airline industry and the hospitality industry the most, with only federal bailout money preventing the airlines from shutting down.
According to the executives of United Airlines, the revenue of the company will remain at about 50 per cent of its value last year, until a cure is found to treat the virus.