More people are booking longer-term rental stays because of flexible working arrangements as a result of the pandemic, says Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.
“The pandemic has untethered millions of people from the need to be in office five days a week,” Chesky told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.
“As people get more flexible, fewer people are going to be in permanent residences.”
Chesky also noted that Airbnb’s average daily rate has been increasing because people are shifting away from booking cheaper one- or two-bedroom homes. Instead, more are now opting for larger homes in more expensive markets such as North America or Europe because they are travelling with their families.
The average daily rate refers to the average price that a room or property is booked for per day.
Leisure travel in the U.S. will push domestic air travel back to pre-Covid levels by early 2022, according to a report by Oliver Wyman in April.
However, global air travel demand will take a bit longer to recover as travel limitations are still in place.
The World Tourism Organization reported that international tourist arrivals increased by only 4% last year, and Bain & Company predicts that by the end of 2022, global air travel demand may reach only 84% of 2019 levels, before the pandemic hit.
Nonetheless, Airbnb saw its strongest fourth quarter yet, Chesky said, with 2021 being the company’s best year.
“Monthly stays were our fastest growing segment even before the pandemic,” he said. “And in the fourth quarter, we saw that 22% of our nights booked were for monthly stays, which is largely well ahead of what it was before the pandemic.”
He added that nearly half of the nights booked were now for stays of a week or longer, which is “totally outside” the classical use case of travel.
“We do think families are going to go away more and more for the summer as they are more flexible,” Chesky said. “So we’re seeing every length of stay increase.”