Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky says the US is its strongest market right now, as the pandemic drives many consumers out of cities to set up temporary rural homes
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Airbnb's business was upturned by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in this country and around the world. Given that the epidemic is still raging in the US — while being largely checked in most other developed countries — you might expect that the online travel company's home market would be among its worst-performing ones right now. But the opposite is true, according to CEO Brian Chesky. The US is actually its strongest market right now, Chesky told Business Insider in an interview Thursday. "The US is very surprising in its strength," he said. The company is also seeing strong demand for its services in Northern Europe, particularly in France and the UK, Chesky said. The reason each of those areas is doing well is that they have huge domestic travel markets, he said. Due to the lingering epidemic, international travel remains in a rut around the globe. But in-country travel has been surging in some countries, particularly those in which Airbnb is seeing strength. People in those countries aren't traveling for business and aren't going to conferences, Chesky said. But they have been traveling for leisure. And, especially in the US, but elsewhere too, many people have been trying to get away from the stress and pandemic in big cities and setting up temporary homes in more rural areas, he said. "There's a shift from traveling to living," Chesky said. "While fewer people are traveling, we're picking up a lot of ground [from] longer-term stays." Globally, Airbnb's coronavirus rebound has been uneven The rebound in the US market comes despite the fact that it remains one of the epicenters of the epidemic with far more cumulative cases and deaths than any other country. On a global basis, the rebound Airbnb has seen has been uneven. While Northern Europe and North America are strong, Southern Europe and South America are not, he said. Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, isn't doing as well as Europe or North America. Brazil, which has had the second-largest coronavirus outbreak after the US, is starting to recover. If you divide the world into four quadrants, "the West is doing better than the East. The Northern Hemisphere is doing better than the Southern Hemisphere," Chesky said. Airbnb's business was hammered earlier this year when governments around the world started shutting down their economies and limiting the movement of their citizens to try to limit the spread of COVID-19. Chesky suggested to Business Insider that his company's revenue fell 80% in eight weeks, due to the crisis. The company has since seen a rebound as the US and other countries have reopened their economies and lifted restrictions on movement. Chesky has felt confident enough about Airbnb's business to move forward with a planned public offering, confidentially filing its offering paperwork last month. Got a tip about Airbnb? Contact Troy Wolverton via email at email@example.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.
Read more about Airbnb: Airbnb's Brian Chesky says what it was like to watch his company's revenue plunge 80% in eight weeks and how he decided to go public anyway in exclusive interview Airbnb's growth momentum was destroyed by the coronavirus crisis. These 2 charts show just how bad it was — and how quickly it could bounce back. Airbnb, last valued at $18 billion, has confidentially filed for an IPO Airbnb's revenue reportedly plunged 67% in the second quarter as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on its business Airbnb reportedly plans to confidentially file for an IPO later this month SEE ALSO: Airbnb unfroze its IPO plans thanks to bookings rebound, but the $18 billion startup has built its comeback on very thin ice Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
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